Keyword Research

Understanding User Intent - Tea Time SEO

April 28, 2020
4 min
Understanding User Intent - Tea Time SEO

Understanding User Intent – Tea Time SEO

We had the pleasure of being joined by Becky Simms, Christopher Hofman Laursen and Laurent Bourrelly this week. We are all aware that user intent is very important when it comes to seo and our speakers shared their experience and their tips on user intent. You can read through their slides, re-watch the talk or read Becky’s notes below where she expands on her key points.

User intent = understanding user motivations

At Reflect Digital we are obsessed with understanding human behaviour. One of the most important parts of understanding behaviour for search is learning the intent of a search phrase. We need to ensure we are matching our content to what the user is anticipating and what is likely to convert them into a purchase or an advocate of our brand.

We are part of the LAB Group and LAB have built an amazing model called Monkey, Lion, Dog. This model aims to profile our motivations, let me take you through the profiles:


The monkey is the contextual part of our brains. Those dominant in monkey traits are really interested in their position in the world. This audience cares about their status, recognition and purpose.


The lion is the rational part of our brains and those dominant in Lion traits are focused on a desire to be competent, they fear not being good enough. The dominant values here are achievement and mastery.


The dog is the emotional part of our brain, focusing on our need to be connected to those around us, be that friends, family, or our community. The dominant values for a dog are affiliation and authenticity.

Monkey Lion Dog in Practice

You’ll see from the slide below, I have brought this to life for how a marketing manager might fit into these motivations.

Audience and keyword research
Audience and keyword research

Once we understand our audience and understand which persona they lean towards we can then map this to our keyword research and the sales funnel. Most importantly we can then write our content with this at the heart of the message. This can help us ensure we are using these motivations to drive conversion.

You can see in the slide below an example of how we would map this model against keyword research for a marketing manager looking to measure their SEO effectiveness.

Keyword mapping exercise
Keyword mapping exercise

At the awareness phase the marketing manager is going to be driven by monkey or lion. Monkey, because this could be about finding a solution so they look good within their business. Lion because they are want the measurement in place, they need to be able to rationalise their SEO spending.

During the discovery phase the marketing manager is still likely to be monkey and lion. The drivers during this phase have not really changed here, they are just getting more inquisitive about their options.

The intent phase is where we see phrases such as ‘SEO software reviews’ and ‘best SEO software’ the drivers move to monkey and dog. Monkey because they want solutions that make them look good to others, they want the best in the market. Dog because they want to understand what others think of the products, they want to build trust.

Finally, as they are very close to purchase we might see a final search along the lines of ‘review of xxx software’ at this point they are being extremely specific and this comes back to dog and lion. Dog because it is the final part of trust they are looking to obtain and lion because they want to feel rational before they make their final decision.

Our work doesn’t end here, we now need to ensure our content matches up with these drivers and helps to progress the user along the conversion path we are aiming for. By understanding what their personal motivation is though we can be a lot more emotive with our language and can stand out against our competition.

Thank you Becky for sharing some of your tips with us. Enjoying Tea Time SEO? Sign up or subscribe to our YouTube Channel and you won’t miss another talk! See you at 4:00pm!

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