The Basics of Building an Intent-based Keyword List

The Basics of Building an Intent-based Keyword List

The STAT whitepaper looked at how SERP features respond to intent, and the bonus blog posts broke things down even further and examined how individual intent modifiers impact SERP features, the kind of content that Google serves at each stage of intent, and how you can set up your very own search intent projects. Gather your core keywords First, before you can even think about intent, you need to have a solid foundation of core keywords in place. For example, apparently we should add [free phones] to our list of [rank tracking] keywords. This is all to say that if you’re in the business of global tracking, it’s important to keep different countries’ word choices in mind. Even if you’re not creating content with them, it’s good to see if you’re appearing for the terms your global searchers are using. Now it’s time to tackle the intent bit of your keyword list. We’ve put together a loose guideline below, but the bottom line is that intent should be structured and classified in a way that makes sense to your business. These keywords are the core keywords from your earlier hard work, plus every question you think your searchers might have if they’re unfamiliar with your product or services. How much SERP space are they taking up? Search volume can give you a rough idea — the higher the search volume, the stiffer the competition is likely to be — but for a different approach, Moz’s Keyword Explorer has a Difficulty score that takes Page Authority, Domain Authority, and projected click-through-rate into account.

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This week, we’re taking a deep into search intent.

The STAT whitepaper looked at how SERP features respond to intent, and the bonus blog posts broke things down even further and examined how individual intent modifiers impact SERP features, the kind of content that Google serves at each stage of intent, and how you can set up your very own search intent projects. And look out for Seer’s very own Scott Taft’s upcoming post on how to use STAT and Power BI to create your very own search intent dashboard.

Search intent is the new demographics, so it only made sense to get up close and personal with it. Of course, in order to bag all those juicy search intent tidbits, we needed a great intent-based keyword list. Here’s how you can get your hands on one of those.

Gather your core keywords

First, before you can even think about intent, you need to have a solid foundation of core keywords in place. These are the products, features, and/or services that you’ll build your search intent funnel around.

But goodness knows that keyword list-building is more of an art than a science, and even the greatest writers (hi, Homer) needed to invoke the muses (hey, Calliope) for inspiration, so if staring at your website isn’t getting the creative juices flowing, you can look to a few different places for help.

Lots of folks like to use the Google Keyword Planner to help them get started. Ubersuggest and Yoast’s Google Suggest Expander will also help add keywords to your arsenal. And Answer The Public gives you all of that, and beautifully visualized to boot.

Simply plunk in a keyword and watch the suggestions pour in. Just remember to be critical of these auto-generated lists, as odd choices sometimes slip into the mix. For example, apparently we should add [free phones] to our list of [rank tracking] keywords. Huh.

Two straight-from-the-SERP resources that we love for keyword research are the “People also ask” box and related searches. These queries are Google-vetted and plentiful, and also give you some insight into how the search engine giant links topics.

If you’re a STAT client, you can generate reports that will give you every question in a PAA box (before it gets infinite), as well as each of the eight related searches at the bottom of a SERP. Run the reports for a couple of days and you’ll get a quick sense of which questions and queries Google favours for your existing keyword set.

When you’re in the UK, you push a pram, not a stroller; you don’t wear a sweater, you wear a jumper. This is all to say that if you’re in the business of global tracking, it’s important to keep different countries’ word choices in mind. Even if you’re not creating content with them, it’s good to…

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