The Most Important Aspect of Keyword Research as Explained by a Cheeseburger

Keyword research is arguably the most important aspect of SEO.

If you get the keyword research side of things wrong, then chances are every single other SEO related task is going to fail.

Keyword research is the framework, the foundation.

If you were to build a house with a weak foundation, the entire house would be poorly supported and eventually fall apart. Your foundation in keyword research is critical.

When doing keyword research most people only check for 2 items:

  1. search volume
  2. level of competition

If those 2 items are all you check when researching keywords, you now know why you are not getting enough traffic from Google.

If you check for other factors, that is great – a gold star for you!

But are you checking for search intent?

If you get the search intent wrong, your content will never rank #1. It just won’t happen.

So, let’s explain search intent using the “Confusing Cheeseburger Conversation”

Let’s imagine you are walking down the street and someone walked up to you and shouted:


How would you respond? Imagine the situation for a moment.

If someone walked up to you and simply said “cheeseburgers” would you have any idea as to how you should respond? All they said was a single word. In a case like this, it would be really hard to respond because you just do not know what their intent is.

Now what if they simply said:

“I love cheeseburgers”

You would have a much better understanding as to what they were trying to say. Their intent is more obvious and you could respond in a more appropriate way.

Now, suppose they said:

“I love cheeseburgers and want to find a restaurant that serves them”

From here their intent would be perfectly clear and you would be able to respond quite easily.

Now let’s flip things around: when searching using Google, you are the person shouting “cheeseburger” and Google is the person trying to understand what you want.

Let’s take a look at how Google responds to each of these search intents.


Google shows a hodgepodge of results. Information about the history of cheeseburgers, restaurants, recipes, videos, nutritional information etc. Basically, Google is just trying to cover the base and hope they show something that the user is looking for.

“I love cheeseburgers”

Google has a better understanding of what the searcher is looking for. The results now show clothes and merchandise related to cheeseburgers, videos about people who love cheeseburgers and a few images.

“I love cheeseburgers and want to find a restaurant that serves them”

With this search, Google knows exactly what you are looking for. The search results are direct and to the point. Showing a map of local restaurants and websites of restaurants that serve burgers is exactly what the user is looking for.

This is how Google shows different search results based on the user intent, so how can you include this within your keyword research?

Here is the most simple way to determine the search intent for your target keyword:

  1. Do a Google search for your target keyword
  2. Review the search landscape (the types of content in the search results)
  3. Examine the content for the pages that are ranking in the top 3 positions

By doing this simple exercise you will be able to understand exactly what type of content Google wants to show for that specific keyword.

Don’t try to fight it – just let Google win…

Google has a lot of data. This means it is quite good at serving up the correct content based on a user’s search. If you try to create content that does not align with the content that is current ranking in the top positions, then Google will never rank you in the top positions.

Quick Search Intent Tips

Questions as Keywords:

When someone asks a question, the search intent is very obvious. During your keyword research process see if you can find a low competition question as your target keyword

Search Phrases:

The more words someone uses, the easier it is to try and figure out what they are looking for. In most cases, these will fall into the realm of long tail keywords, and may not have much search volume, but in the end are worth it due to the ease of creating content that matches the user search intent.

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4 thoughts on “The Most Important Aspect of Keyword Research as Explained by a Cheeseburger”

  1. I saw the name of your post at the top and thought, “How in the world will cheeseburger explain this?”. I continued to read, the information was very helpful and I quite enjoyed the cheese burger analogy.

  2. This was very helpful! As a new blogger just starting out, SEO has been the hardest part to understand. The cheeseburger analogy really allowed me to grasp concepts such as the long tail keyword.


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