Search Intent for Bloggers (To Make Money)

Last Updated on June 18, 2021 by Vasco Lourenço

If you’re a blogger and you’re trying to make money with your blog, bear in mind that there are 2 types of blog posts you need to focus on. That is, if you want to make money blogging.

We’re going to cover:

  • Search intent.
  • Keyword research.
  • Transactional and informational searches.
  • How to frame content.
  • How to make money with your blog.

Search intent is understanding the meaning behind searches, why people search the way they do, and how to capture this traffic to your blog from Google.

But before we go over that, we have to think about what is a blog. And why are we capturing this traffic from Google specifically?

The first days of blogging

When I think back to what blogging was when it first started, or even 15 years ago, compared to what it is today, it’s a lot different.

Back in the day, blogging was more or less making updates to your friends and family.

You could go to a website like Live Journal, write different things out and update your audience. Basically, you would just write updates about what’s going on with your life. There wasn’t any consideration of keywords or things that you had to write about.

LiveJournal website

Writing a blog was, more or less, just providing updates to an audience over time and writing things that people would read.

Blogging was a reading and writing process.

Today, it is a business process that is a Google-driven engine.

You’re not able to find people online really anymore just stumbling upon your blog randomly. You have to promote it. And the number one way to get traffic for any blog is through Google.

It’s not Facebook, Instagram, nor Pinterest, although they’re pretty good channels.

The one to focus on and the one I solely focus on is Google.

Why?

Well, unlike social media, there’s a search and intent behind the person who’s typing on Google.

So for example, if you’re on Facebook, you’re just browsing and you might find somebody you like and follow them.

If you’re on Google, something goes into your head, and you type it. You’re looking for a solution based answer. Blogs are solution providers.

So in that sense, this blogging business is a Google-driven engine. Google is almost an extension of the human mind: you think something in your head, you type it into Google, and you look for specific results.

How do blogs make money?

How do you capture traffic from Google first, get them to your blog and then make money?

Well, the good news is that there are really only 2 types of keywords to target, 2 types of blog posts you have to write about, and 2 types of search intent.

A lot of bloggers start by adding ads to their websites, although I think ads are the last resort when it comes to blog monetization.

Search intent: informational and transactional keywords

Before you know how to do keyword research, you have to understand:

Because traffic does not always equal money.

Here’s an example.

I wrote an article on leadership qualities. The keyword “leadership qualities” gets a pretty decent amount of search volume per month as you can see in the keyword overview provided by Moz.

leadership qualities Moz keyword overview

So, if someone wants to look up leadership qualities, that’s cool. But how am I going to monetize this post? How would I capture somebody just searching for leadership qualities and have them? In other words, how would I capture money from them when they hit my site?

You can’t.

That’s why this type of post is perfect for displaying ads. Ads are the last resort when it comes to monetization.

Ads are for informational posts that people will read, but not really want to purchase anything, nor join your email list, buy a course, a digital product, nor make a purchase through an affiliate link. They’re going to probably read the information and then leave.

That’s why ads work here.

This is the reason you see a ton of ads on recipe and food blogs because you’re just looking for the recipe. You don’t want to stick around and buy a bunch of stuff from them, but they still want to get paid.

This is informational search intent. Informational posts are ones that do just that: they provide information.

That’s what a majority of the internet is. People are looking for an answer to a problem. They’re not necessarily ready to purchase something yet.

The two types of search intent are, therefore, informational and transactional. You have informational keywords and transactional keywords.

How-to posts

Other informational type keywords are typically how-to posts.

Somebody wants to know how to do something or want some type of information. And you provide it with a how-to post.

It’s things like how to make money online, how to start a blog, how to start an eCommerce business, how to do affiliate marketing, etc. Basically, you’re providing expertise.

In this example, I write about the best ways to make money on YouTube.

how to make money on YouTube - blog post

Informational posts typically get higher search volume levels, so you’re capturing more traffic from them. They can be competitive, but they’re not monetization driven.

The one that I like to focus more of my attention on is the second type of keyword or the second type of search intent:

Transactional search intent

Transactional search intent means just that there is going to be a purchase involved somewhere.

Think of a blog as a mediator – your blog is a mediator between a Google search and a purchase, so you need your blog to be in the middle of that.

Here’s an example of how some of the biggest blogs make money.

A transactional search could be something like “best credit cards”. Somebody is looking to sign up with a credit card, but they want to know what the best one is. They want to read the information.

best credit cards - Google search

The first organic search result is from Forbes, one of the biggest websites on business and finance. Then you have NerdWallet, a major finance blog. These are all previous blogs or media sites, like Credit Karma, Bankrate, and others.

So if you go to one of these sites, you go to a list post providing all of the opportunities and answers to that transactional search with affiliate links.

Here’s how affiliate marketing works: you click on one of these sites, and click on one of the affiliate links that are recommending a product. You then apply, for example, for American Express. That click can be tracked via the affiliate link and then you can make money on that.

Here’s the sequence:

  1. Transactional search on Google.
  2. Getting to the blog.
  3. Getting to a product recommendation.
  4. Becoming a purchase.
  5. Commission generated.

This is true anywhere online. There is hidden money all over the internet when you start looking for it.

Not just best credit cards, but best laptops, best studio monitors, best headphones, you name it.

If you look closely, in these types of search you don’t see eCommerce brands. You see blog posts reviewing and ranking the products. That’s because these “best” terms are good for transactional search intent.

So on one hand, you have how-to guides or how-to informational posts to get people to read your information and see you as an authority in your niche.

On the other hand, you have transactional keywords from Google that include purchase intent. You can think of them including the word “best”, just like this post from my blog, where people want to know the best video editing software.

best video editing software blog post

That’s a purchase driven decision. They’re looking for the tool, right? So when you get to my article on the best video editing software, I have my featured image, my introduction, and then I get to the list of companies.

And the majority of these is an affiliate link, and I get credit for the sale if they click on it and make a purchase. I usually add an affiliate link in the title, one or two times throughout the copy, and then as a simple button.

It’s a numbers game. It’s a way to attract an audience and getting traffic for transactional searches.

The best way to make money with a blog is affiliate marketing. This is how huge blogs make money.

Conclusion

In this post, we covered the two posts every blogger needs to know to make money blogging. And these are:

  • Informational posts.
  • Transactional posts.

The two go hand in hand. While the former establishes you as an authority in your niche, the latter provides information about the tools your audience needs.

Informational posts get quite a high search volume but there’s no transactional search intent: the best way to monetize them is through ads.

Transactional posts get a more specific and intended search. This means the searcher is already in “buyer’s mode”. The best way to monetize them is through affiliate links.

Start thinking about what types of how-to guides and information you want to share with your audience to show you’re an expert. And what type of purchase driven transactional keywords do you want to start writing about that can make your blog the mediator between a Google search and a purchase.

If you want to start a blog, you need beforehand web hosting and a domain name. I recommend getting started with Dreamhost as they’re the best hosting company officially recommended by WordPress and have more than enough features to get you going with your blog.

Get started with Dreamhost for $2.49/mo (64% off) with my link.

I hope you found this article useful on your blog journey.

Disclaimer: this post may contain some affiliate links. What this means is, if you end up purchasing any of the products through my link, I may get a small commission that will help keep this blog running. Don’t worry, there’s no extra cost for you.

Vasco Lourenço is a digital entrepreneur and created his blog vaslou.com to inspire those who are willing to put in the effort to start their online side hustle and create a life of financial freedom. Besides writing on his blog, Vasco delights playing the piano and composing music.

2 thoughts on “Search Intent for Bloggers (To Make Money)”

  1. Hi Vasco,

    Excellent post buddy. I appreciate how user search intent molds how we write posts and how we monetize those posts, too. Definitely takes a lot of thought – and clarity – to blog effectively. I genuinely doubled down over the prior few weeks to get clearer and clearer on finding user intent and serving up posts to offer them solutions. Ditto for monetizing posts; I need to find what they will gravitate toward versus what I wish to sell.

    Ryan

    Reply
    • Hi Ryan,
      Sometimes it’s a trial and error process, though there are no errors, ultimately. It all depends on how much you want to monetize your blog vs. having fun writing without the money in mind. Another thing I didn’t mention in this post is that to make money, you need traffic. And what better way than to be featured in other blogs to gain backlinks for your domain authority to increase in the eyes of Google? Or guest posting? I believe that’s the culprit of having a successful blog. Thanks a lot for your comment. Looking forward to blogging from paradise also!

      Reply

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