How to Analyze Keywords: Guide to Search Intent, Keyword Type and More

If you’re on a one-way mission to grow your brand in the digital age, you better use the right slang.


Because without it, how will search engines, the digital gatekeepers of information, deliver your website to searchers who are looking for products and services at that critical time of need?

For the right slang, the right verbiage, the RIGHT keywords, sure you can learn the ins and outs of performing a keyword research.

…or for the best results, you can also go pro by hiring SEO specialists to perform a stellar keyword analysis.

Wait a second…what the heck is a keyword analysis?

[Related Article: Your Beginner’s Guide on How to do Keyword Research in 2019]


Keyword Analysis?

Analyzing search queries, in the form of keywords and phrases, for their ability to rank, to create leads and to identify consumer behaviour trends. A keyword analysis is usually the starting point for carrying out an SEO strategy or campaign.

Think of it this way: when you’re performing a keyword analysis, you’re performing relevant market research into your industry. It’s about assessing what markets are worth breaking into. It’s about what topics, pain points and issues you’re audience most cares about. Otherwise, you’re going into the vast, vast, search engine universe with windshield wipers on.

And performing an effective keyword analysis requires the right SEO tools to assess these following keyword attributes:

  • Keyword type
  • Search intent
  • Search volume
  • Keyword difficulty or competition
  • Associated Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) features


Read further as we break down each in more detail!


Keyword Types

If you want to grow your brand digitally, you need to SEO optimize your site with a variety of different keyword types such as ‘head’, ‘body’ and ‘long-tail keywords’.


Head keywords: This type is typically 1-3 words, and typically drives the highest amount of traffic, that is, if you rank for it. But these terms are extremely broad and the user’s intention is often unclear, meaning, traffic can be often low quality (i.e. higher bounce rates, less time spent on page)

Here’s an example: Users might search for “cute cat”, but what the heck is the intent behind it? For pictures? To purchase a cute cat? For tips on how to make a cute cat? You can imagine the dilemma. For a rough start, head keywords should comprise of about 5-10% of all your keywords.

Also worth noting about Head keywords are:

  • Single word
  • Top of the sales funnel
  • Low conversion rate
  • High volume
  • High competition


Long-tail keywords: Long-tail keywords typically have at least 4 keywords, comprising of phrases and questions. These search queries are a mixture of both low and high search volume. As you’ve probably guessed, the search is more refined and you can usually determine the user’s intent, meaning, you can get much higher quality traffic with users who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.

Here’s an example: “What is the cutest breed of cat in the world” or “How can I make my cat cute?

Long-tail keywords are like:

  • 4+ words
  • Bottom of the sales funnel
  • High conversion rate
  • Low, mid, sometimes high volume
  • Low to medium difficulty


Body keywords: These refer to everything in-between. From a marketing perspective, such keywords are meant to guide users further along the buyer’s journey onto the decision/buying stage.

Here’s an example: “What is a cute cat?” or “What is a cat”

These keywords are usually:

  • 2-4 words
  • Middle of the sales funnel
  • Mid-level conversion rate
  • Medium volume
  • Moderate difficulty


What’s the bottom line in using keyword types?

Any SEO strategy should include targeting each keyword type, while addressing your audience’s intention behind each keyword used.

To start: tackle a topic, select a handful of head, body and long-tail keywords for each stage of the buyer’s journey, then craft content and have them internally linked!

Or again, work with SEO strategists.


Keyword Attributes SEO
(Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay)


What the Freak is Search Intent?

Now, you can consider your user’s search intent. Here’s a very, very thorough guide in how to leverage search intent for SEO success.

But for starters, a user’s search intent behind a query is divided into 3 categories:


The 3 Categories of Search Intent:

1. Informational Intent: Informational intent takes place when you’re trying to being informed or more aware about a particular topic and problem – it’s top of the funnel content in marketing speak.

IE: “What is cat dandruff”


2. Navigational Intent: This intent takes place when you’d like traverse a particular website. Think of inputting “petsmart” or “petsmart products” in search engines, instead of typing “” in the url bar.


3. Commercial/Transactional Intent: Someone is searching with the intent to make a purchase or close to it, anyway. Commercial Intent is like trying to find the nearest pet store, while transactional is more product based, like trying to buy the best cat shampoo.

IE: “Best Pet Store Near Me”, “Buy Cat Shampoo Online”.


What’s the bottom line?

If you’re determined in providing the best user experience, while nurturing audiences along the buyer’s journey, ensure that your content is aligned with the keyword’s search intent that your content is being ranked for.

In other words, make sure pages with informational intent keywords have content that’s informational, and so forth.


What in the World is Search Volume?

Quite self-explanatory, but search volume is the number of times a query gets inputted into search volumes. For instance, a keyword might have a monthly volume of 5000 in Canada during the past month, while in the United States it might have 20,000.


What’s the bottom line?

Search volumes are always in motion, given the rise and fall of certain trends, news events and so forth. In getting down to the nitty gritty of search volume, try using a keyword’s google trends chart alongside its search volume for a better picture of whether it’s worth using as part of your SEO strategy.


What’s Keyword Difficulty?

Keyword difficulty, or KD, is a metric from 0-100 signalling how competitive a particular keyword is to rank for.

Higher the number means the keyword is prized by both higher and lower authority domains alike.

If you don’t have a high authority domain or in partnerships with them, good luck in trying to rank for high KD keywords. You’re going to need it!


What’s the bottom line?

Search volume and keyword difficulty should work in tandem in trying to assess whether a keyword is worth ranking for. Try and aim for high search volume to low KD ratio keywords like 1000/5.


Keyword Attributes SERP
(Photo by LinkedIn Sales Navigator on Unsplash)


Associated SERP Features, Huh?

SERP features are anything that appear in the search results pages that are not traditional organic links. These are meant to give quick and relevant information to users, and visually appear as definition snippets, ratings and ad-placements on the top of search results pages.

These features are known to be ranked as “position 0”, given they appear before the first organic result, and as you can imagine, they are usually the most visited links.

SERP features come in many visual forms, here’s a few:

  • A summarized answer from an organic result
  • Shopping results, like paid listing ads with images and reviews
  • New or recent listings related to the search
  • An instant ‘answer’ from an organic result
  • A Local Pack, such as results from a search query that suggest nearby locations
  • A Local Teaser Pack, that shows information like prices and availability for accommodation
  • A Local Carousel, a slider showing results of images at the top of the SERP


What’s the bottom line?

For gaining position 0, make sure your content is clear, concise and structured with headers for Google crawlers to snip. Try placing a linked table of contents or an overview of steps at the beginning of the page. Videos can also be a step in the right direction!

Also, be prepared to do a lot of experimentation, as Google’s algorithms are constantly changing and the competition never ceases to stop!


Important Takeaways

If you’re going to take anything from this article, let it be these 4 things:

1. Don’t overlook doing a keyword analysis: If you want to be consistent in ranking for keywords, then an analysis must be done. As outlined above, this means understanding and using the right SEO tools to decipher search intent, search volume, keyword difficulty or competition and optimizing for SERP features.


2. Determine if the keyword is actually worth ranking for: How exactly? In finding the right keywords worth ranking for, look for high search volume to low keyword difficulty ratios, along with scanning the top 20 results for that given keyword – this gives you a framework for what content is needed, who you’re competitors are and what kind’ve search intent is behind the keyword. 


3. User experience counts: Google’s algorithms measure user experience metrics as well, so ensure your content is aligned with the search intent of what the keywords it’s trying to rank for, otherwise, low traffic quality will send your SEO scores way — way down. Also, make sure your website’s UI and UX game is on point!


4. Craft content according to the buyer’s journey:

The Buyer’s Journey can be mapped in terms of 3 stages:

First, the ‘Top of the Funnel’, is the “awareness” stage, where people are looking to define there need. Second, the ‘Middle of the Funnel’ is the “evaluation” stage, where consumers are researching as to whether a solution can solve that need. Third, is the ‘Bottom of the Funnel’, the “purchase” stage, where consumers have decided on a solutions and are looking to make a purchase. 

 Ask yourself, are you crafting content in line with these principles that ultimately lead to the goal of conversions?


5. The principles of SEO still reign: Link building, quality content, meta descriptions, headers and all the general technical, on-page and off-page SEO principles still apply. When you understand various keyword attributes, don’t sacrifice your efforts on these other areas!


Best of luck!

Written By Terry Say

Terry's an editor and SEO strategist for Advesa. There’s nothing content and SEO he won’t get involved in. We tried, he just always finds a way to put his hands on things! Aside from work, Terry calls himself a ‘stand-up comedy connoisseur’, and enjoys watching intense tournaments in the world of E-sports.