How Do You Determine the Right Keywords for your Search Marketing Strategy?

Running an effective Search Marketing Campaign that delivers traffic to your website – and ultimately leads and sales – is more involved than just coming up with a list of words. Searchers and consumers use different keywords in different search engines and even on different devices over time before making a decision. An effective campaign will appeal to users however they are searching and at whatever stage of the purchasing process they are in.

When we start working with a new client on their Search Marketing Strategy one of the first things to consider is the terms or phrases around which the campaign should be focussed. Often times the client will have a list in mind that they’d like to start working on, other times they will not, either way the goal is the same, they want their site to be found.

It’s important when coming up with our list of phrases/subjects to take into account both the intent and the context of the searchers, so we can be marketing to our ideal customer. Essentially, everyone who types a query into Google’s search bar is looking for something. Regardless of the keywords they use, they have a specific intent. But that intent exists within the context of what they’re doing and what they want or need.

For example, consider 2 people who want to renovate their basement. Their ‘intent’ is to renovate their basement.

Their context may be completely different though. Person A might have an expanding family and is looking to gain extra space. Person B may want to add an entertainment room with home theatre.

Depending on your business, you may specialize in one or other of those types of renovations. In this case, running a search campaign on the term “basement renovations” may get you a lot of traffic, but it may not be relevant to many of the people arriving at your website. A more specific term, closer to your offering will likely bring more real leads and less general traffic.

Both the intent and the context are critically important. If you’re targeting a keyword, you must understand the user intent and the context that’s behind the search.

“1 of 5 queries on Google have never been typed into the search engine before.” – Digital Marketer

So, how do you determine intent and context of your ideal customer?

5 ways to research intent and context for an effective Search Marketing Campaign:

  1. Sales/Customer Service
  2. Common Sense
  3. Customer Avatar
  4. Intent Based Avatars
  5. Keyword Research Tools

Sales/Customer Service

The first step is to talk to your sales and customer service teams or base it on your own experience as the owner of the business. What does your client want, and why? How will your product or service help solve the issue?


  1. Client wants to renovate their basement (intent) because their family is expanding (context).
  2. Client wants to renovate their basement (intent) because they want an entertainment room (context).

Intent can be the same, but context can be different. Are you targeting both searchers in you Search Marketing Strategy or the ones who can become your customers?

Need a hand with your search marketing?  Contact us – we can help with or implement a program for your business.

Common Sense

Of course, it’s ok to use common sense in how searchers behave in today’s society, and the kind of path they take to find what they are looking for.

Clients who want to find restaurants near them that have allergen-free options. They may also be looking for a specific allergen such as peanuts, shellfish, gluten, etc. Is this clear in your content?

Customer Avatar

A customer avatar is one of the most important things you can create when developing your marketing strategy. The avatar is a fictional character that represents your ideal customer. Think about their goals and values. How do they access information, and what are their sources? Are there any challenges that may be present in their purchase process? All this information will help you understand what influences a buyers’ decision and create the necessary assets to convert them into your clients.

Intent Based Avatar

The intent based research will help you find the right keywords from the intent and context of a consumer. After you have a clear understanding of who your ideal customer is, write down what they want and why they want that. There are important keywords in this intent and context exercise.

Keyword Research Tool

After going through the previous steps and you have a list of keywords ready, then you want to use some keyword tools to refine your keywords. Great tools for this are Google Trends, Google Adwords and SEMRush, which can suggest searches that are more popular in the search engines. It is important to note that higher search volumes may not always equal conversions. Choose the keywords that will better match your prospective client’s intent and context.


Having the right keywords for your search marketing is very important as they can drive targeted traffic to your website and other digital assets. It’s important to go through every step to make sure you have the right set of keywords.

Need a hand with your Search Marketing?  Contact us – we can help with or implement a program for your business.

Need a hand with your search engine marketing?  Contact us – we can help with or implement a program for your business.