How to leverage search intent and awareness stages to improve affiliate SEO

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Google’s business model is based on delivering the most relevant results for user queries, and your affiliate SEO strategy should account for that.

Gone are the days when including search keywords and links is enough for your affiliate website to be featured on the top of the SERPs anymore. If you want to rank high, your audience (and Google algorithms) should find your content helpful.

That’s where understanding search intent and customer awareness stages play a crucial role.

Affiliate publishers often forget those two factors in their keyword research and content creation process, so keeping them in mind could instantly put you many steps ahead of your competition.

What is search intent?

Search intent is the purpose behind a specific search query. In other words, the reason why the viewer used a keyword phrase. Was it to get more information about a product? Was it to find the best product to buy?

There are 4 main search intent types.

Search Intent types:

search intent keywords in affiliate SEO


Keywords searchers use to get to a specific website. The number of people using this keyword tends to be higher for well-known brands. 

  • Query example: Microsoft Office
  • Content type people look for: homepage or landing page


Searchers use this type of keyword when searching to learn more about something. They often use phrases starting with how, what, where, when.

  • Query example: how to set up a home gym
  • Content type people look for: blog posts, how to guides, step by step tutorials


These are the most interesting type of keywords for webshop owners since searchers are expressing an intent to buy a specific product. The keyword phrase includes buy, purchase, cheap, order.

  • Query example: buy a coffee machine
  • Content type people look for: product page, category page


Great use for affiliate publishers. Searchers use this type of keyword when they’re considering purchasing but are hesitant to make a decision. They use keyword phrases like reviews, best, compare, price, alternatives.

  • Query example: best noise cancelling headphones
  • Content type people look for: reviews, comparison pages

The limitations of search intent in affiliate marketing

Including the search intent in your keyword research will immediately put you above the beginner affiliates. 

But search intent alone presents a limitation. And that is: context.

Context of what your reader needs to know to move forward in buying your product.

Let’s use an example: 

You’re selling home workout equipment. To get higher organic traffic you want to write an article focused on informational search intent. How do you convince your reader to take an action? Is it enough to simply write about ‘how to set up your home gym’? 

Maybe. Maybe not. It depends on what stage of awareness your reader is at. Ask yourself what a person who realises has a problem needs to know to move forward. And where do you need to lead this person?

That’s where customer awareness comes into play.

What is customer awareness in affiliate SEO?

Customer awareness refers to how aware your potential customer is of their problems, pain points, possible solutions, your product, and how you can solve their problems. 

Mapping awareness stages helps you figure out where you should lead each potential customer so that they find what they need in order to take the next action.

Customer awareness stages in affiliate SEO:

SEO for affiliate marketing - stages of awareness


It’s very difficult to write for people who are unaware they have a problem, let alone convert them. But if you decide to write for this type of audience the content should introduce them to pain points they weren’t aware of. For example, you can write about ‘3 signs you’re out of shape.’

Problem aware

The problem aware person already knows he’s out of shape. What he needs to know is that solutions like yours exist. To sell to them you need to show them that you get their pain.

Solution aware

Once this person is solution aware (they know solutions like yours exist) you need to show them how you can solve their pain. Your content can include exercises with the type of equipment you’re selling.

Product aware

Product aware readers know your solution exists, but they’re unsure if you’re the best fit for them. A great piece of content for product aware audiences would be comparison pages or reviews.

Most aware

The most aware audience needs just the final push to purchase your product. The type of content that they look for is price pages, special offers or discounts.

How can affiliate publishers use that to improve their SEO strategy?

Before you start researching specific keywords, map out the customer journey based on the search intent and add context with stages of awareness.

The outcome of this mapping should give you an idea of the type of content your audience (and Google) would find most helpful. 

So if you want to attract the problem aware people, they are likely searching for a solution, aka. informational intent. To help them, you need to emphasise their pain and introduce them to a potential solution without being salesy. Then you can move forward to your other content, already considering they are solution aware. The keywords you decide to use should reflect that.

If the audience you want to attract is already product aware, you can create content around product reviews and comparisons. You don’t need to focus on the problem anymore, but on showing them why one offer is better than the other. The keywords you’d use would have a different function and the content itself has the purpose to move your audience towards purchase.

How does this apply to your affiliate pages?

Here is the thing. As an affiliate publisher, you don’t need to write for every stage of awareness, or try to hit every search intent. This depends on the type of website you’re running. If your website focuses more on comparison pages you want to take full advantage of commercial intent keywords and consider your audience being exclusively product aware.

It’s a completely different story if your affiliate website is a blog. Then your keyword research should aim to answer informational intent and your audience would be mainly problem or solution aware. An example of affiliate blog page can be a listicle – 10 best dumbbells for home gyms.

You get the point. Since you’re not the original seller you can zone in on the search intent and stage of awareness that is the most beneficial to your affiliate business, and start climbing those ranks.