How to Determine the Commercial Intent of Keywords

Search volume is an important metric when determining the value of a keyword. But it shouldn’t be the only thing you use in your keyword decision making process. You also want to factor in commercial intent. However, unlike search volume, commercial intent doesn’t have a hard number that you can use to figure it out. This video will walk you through the process of objectively and subjectively determining the commercial intent of a keyword.

Video Transcript

Hey what’s up everybody? It’s Bryan Dean from Quick Sprout. And in this video, I’m going to show you how to determine the commercial intent of keywords, which is actually really important. Because I can tell you from experience that there is nothing worse than ranking for a keyword only to find that the traffic doesn’t convert.

So basically online you have two types of keywords. You have informational keywords. So if you’re in the hosting niche, something like “What is web hosting?’. That’s an informational keyword, right? That’s someone who’s kind of, like, ‘I think I want web hosting but I need to know what it is. And maybe looking up some factors to consider as well.’

On the other hand, something like ‘Best web hosting’. Now that person has already decided that they’re ready to buy hosting and they just want to know who to buy it from. So if you’re the person that can get in front of them before they make their purchase you can get your affiliate commission, if you’re an affiliate. Or if you own a hosting company, you can get a new customer.

Some other common commercial intent keywords are ‘Reviews’. So when someone types in ‘reviews’, they’re already ready to buy. They’re just looking at the different providers. ‘Discount’, okay, so that’s someone who also is determined that they’re ready to buy and they’re just looking at a discount and couple. Okay, so these are some common buyer intent keywords.

Now if you have a brand that has a presence online, you definitely want to search for your brand in Google and look at Google suggest to see if there are any keywords with commercial intent that people are searching for around your brand. So let’s put in ‘Crazy Egg’ as an example. So as you can see, Crazy Egg blog is more of a general.

They’re just looking for the blog on Crazy Egg versus something like ‘Review’. Now that person is interested. They’re like, ‘Okay, I’ve of Crazy Egg. I might be interested. I just want to, you know, read one more review before I make the purchase.’ And ‘pricing’ so that’s someone else who is already later in the buying cycle, okay?

The only problem with this is that Google suggest only typically gives you three to five keywords, but if you want to find more copy your keyword, right, your brand name and head over to the Pro media Corp suggestor. So just Google promedia suggestor and this is the first result. And put your brand name into this tool, and fill out the captcha, and click on the suggest button.

What this tool does is it takes these three and turns them into several, sometimes up to 50 or 100 keywords. And this is important because a lot of times when you scroll down here you can see keywords with commercial intent that you might not have found, okay. So it’s just a matter of testing it. So put your brand in here and see if people are searching for things like ‘discount’ and ‘coupon’. And then those are landing pages you can put on your site and rank above affiliates who are obviously taking a cut of the revenue.

Now, once you have your keywords, you know, in place. You have a couple of keyword ideas. It’s time to head to the Google keyword planner. So sign into your Adwords account and look for the Google keyword planner under ‘Tools and Analysis’, which is right here. Once you’re here, click on search for keyword and ad group ideas.

And we’ll put in something related to hosting. So ‘WordPress hosting’ and then you can filter all you want depending on where your target market is. So if you’re not in States, you’re in the UK or Canada you definitely want to change this, okay, because commercial intent can be very different between countries. They include ‘get ideas’.

Now by default, Google shows you ad group ideas and this is not what you want. You want to click on the keyword ideas tab. And when you do that you’ll see a number of keywords related to the keyword that you put in, okay. And generally when you put in a keyword, it’ll have, you know, varying commercial intent. So how do you determine that commercial intent?

Well, the first area you want to look at is competition, and you want this actually to be high. So a common misconception is that this actually represents the organic competition in Google. It actually doesn’t. It only represents ad words competition so you do want this to be high because the more people that are bidding on that keyword, the more commercial intent there generally is. So this represents how many people are actually going after those keywords in Google ad words.

Now average cost per click is a complementary metric and that can tell you how much people are bidding. So sometimes you’ll find that the competition will be very high but the cost per click will be very low. So this is more representative of how valuable that particular searcher is. And an average cost per click of 26 dollars is extremely, extremely valuable, okay. So that’s literally people are paying 26 dollars for one click. So if you could somehow rank through this keyword, you could do very well. Okay. Even though the search volume isn’t that great, the cost per click shows that that traffic is very valuable.

Now on the other hand you can see the difference between commercial intent and the different keywords. We have ‘WordPress hosting’ which the competition is high and we have ‘free WordPress hosting’, the competition is very, is also high. Okay, so if you only looked at that metric you’d think they’re basically the same. But if you look at the cost per click you can see that they’re very different, right? This one is almost double ‘free WordPress hosting’ and that’s because obviously someone searching for free, you know, they’re not going to be spending as much as someone who’s just searching for ‘WordPress hosting’. Okay.

So once you get this information, have a few keywords, you do want to actually enter them into Google and see the ads. All right. So head back to Google and put in ‘WordPress hosting’ or whatever keyword you found and what you want to look for is how many ads. Now this is basically the competition score but you do want to look at it actually in Google too. And if you see a lot of ads above the fold that’s a good sign because this is very expensive real estate. And then you also want to see ads down the sidebar here. So if you see that, that has some commercial intent especially if you complement the information with the information here.

Now I just want to mention that if you SEO for Bing, you want to look specifically within Bing ads, because sometimes, because the different demographics that use Google versus Bing, commercial intent can be very different between the search engines. So you know if you do SEO for Bing, just create a free Bing ads account, log in, and click on the tools button. Then click on research keywords and then put in your target keywords.

So in this case we’ll put in ‘WordPress hosting’ and then click search. And as you can see they don’t have competition as a score, okay, but what they do have is the average cost per click. And it’s always less than Google just because Bing as a less competitive search engine, there’s less people betting on keywords. But it’s all relatively the same. So this will give you a relative idea of the value of that particular search. So ‘WordPress hosting’ , you know, is $6.27 versus, you know, ‘WordPress’ which is very general, some information, some commercial intent, which is significantly less.

Now just like in Google you do want to look at the ads, okay. Just to double check that this keyword does have commercial intent. So we’ll go to Bing, put in ‘WordPress hosting’, click search. And as you can see there are no ads here. Okay. Now I’m in Germany when I’m filming this so that could be part of it but you do want to double check this. And if you’re trying to target the region that you’re in and there aren’t any ads that’s a red flag, okay, within Bing.

So like I said, sometimes the search engines can be very different and because you don’t get that competition information from Bing, you kind of have to go by the cost per click. So one way to verify the information is to actually search for the keyword.

So that’s all there is for determining commercial intent. As you can see you should basically try to get as many, you know, known commercial intent keywords like for views and hosting and then put them into the Google adwords keyword tool and check out their competition and average cost per click. And if you do SEO in Bing, you should the same thing over at Bing. So thanks for watching this video and I’ll see you in the next one.