Google SEO & Search Engine Marketing Services

Keyword Commercial Intent – Choosing Keywords That Convert

Keyword research is an often underestimated part of SEO; just pick the high traffic keywords, right? Well not exactly, you see there are two main types of keywords from a marketing perspective, converting keywords and informational keywords.

Converting keywords are those which are more likely to lead to a sale, usually lower in search volume but obviously more profitable.

Informational keywords drive traffic that wants information, advice or an answer to a question; these keywords tend to have high search volumes but a much lower conversion rate.

A good example of the informational and converting keywords are “SEO” (informational) and “SEO Services” (converting), even though the broad keyword SEO will drive treble the amount of traffic, SEO services is more likely to end in a sale relating to SEO.

Many sites implement a good mixture of each type of keyword, however some sites are purely ecommerce sites and only want traffic that converts well, in order to do this they need to know which keywords carry commercial intent, which keywords drive buying traffic.

Commercial intent is not the be all and end all as far as SEO is concerned, SEO can drive ROI up but SEO is also used to create brand awareness, increase in organic traffic and increase in rank for relevant keywords. Anyway let’s stick with commercial intent for now and see what we can do to discover how profitable a keyword may be.

The Google Keyword Tool

Yes it’s my favourite keyword tool but it really can give you a great idea with regards to which keywords drive buying traffic.

Take a quick look at the below results for a search on the keyword “search engine optimisation”, the exact term drives the most traffic but it is not the one I would bet on as far as conversions are concerned.

commercial intent

“search engine optimisation marketing” and “google search engine optimisation” are both more attractive targets if you were looking for higher conversion rates.

Marketers who invest in Adwords are generally not idiots, they know what keywords bring in buying traffic, thats their job, trust them and use the google keyword tool to decide what sells.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out I target search engine optimisation, however because I am looking for a good mixture I also target google search engine optimisation, for some high converting traffic. (These are mega competitive terms and in 7 months I am Page 3 for “search engine optimisation” and 2nd for “google search engine optimisation” , I will be up there with the best, just need a little more time on these ones :) )

Microsoft commercial intent tool

Microsoft have also helped us out here with a smart little tool.

The tool basically assesses the commercial intent of a given keyword based on conversion rates. Each keyword is given a score between 0 and 1.0, any keyword that has a score above 0.5, has some commercial intent, the closer you get to 1.0 the more profitable the keyword will be, for example;

keyword commercial intent

Search engine optimisation scrapes through with a little commercial intent.

commercial intent for keywords

SEO services is much more of a converting or transactional keyword, if you are selling search engine optimisation services this would be the keyword to use.

Microsoft claims this tool has been verified by human evaluators and has around a 90% accuracy rate so it is definitely worth adding to your SEO arsenal.

Commercial intent is worth assessing if your site is selling a specific product or group of products, I also think it is worth taking into consideration even if your site is information based as you may eventually wish to sell advertising space, advertisers pay for converting traffic so it makes sense to target converting keywords.

I hope you found this useful and can implement it effectively

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Author: Tim (254 Articles)

is the owner and editor of SEO wizz and has been involved in the search engine marketing industry for over 9 years. He has worked with multiple businesses across many verticals, creating and implementing search marketing strategies for companies in the UK, US and across Europe. Tim is also the Director of Search at Branded3, a Digital Marketing & SEO Agency based in the UK.



Zena P February 25, 2011 at 1:03 am

Thanks for the excellent post, Tim. Almost two years later, this information is still relevant.

Sunny April 1, 2011 at 10:36 pm

Hi Tim,

thanks for the great article. I found the msn tool very helpful. Many marketers suggest a commercial intention +6, +7 or higher. I used the tool very often but it is unavailable since days now. Do you know any alternative?

Thanks a lot!

Tim April 4, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Hi Sunny,

It’s difficult to assess commercial value however a high CPC on adwords can suggest a high value keyword, balance that with potential traffic and you should have a good idea of what keywords are worth targeting

RTA Cabinets August 9, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Did you know the Microsoft ad center is no longer around?

Tim August 10, 2011 at 6:35 am

Sorry this is an old post, I’ll up date it.

Mariel-Anticeluliticos Eficaces November 26, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Hi Tim, maybe you know of any other tool? Thanks.

Tim December 2, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Sorry this is the only one I know relating to commercial intent

Miami Massage July 17, 2012 at 1:05 am

That is a very smart way of looking at google data. To go a step further, I would look at these keywords over a period of time to measure the overall trends and consistency. Obviously a keyword that has been invested in over 6 months would have more significance then a fresh new keyword out the gate right? Hope this helps.

Anjum April 25, 2013 at 5:03 am

Commercial Intent is the most important factors for e-commerce websites .

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