How to Incorporate Search Intent Classification in Looker Studio

Search Intent Keyword Classifier Looker Studio Dashboard Template (with Semrush data)


Over the past few years, there has been a lot of talk in the SEO industry about keyword cannibalization. Keyword cannibalization occurs when two or more pages on a website compete for the same keyword. Recently, during a webinar, I heard an absolutely magnificent piece of insight, which inspired me to create the resource I am sharing today: 

‘There is no such thing as keyword cannibalization, only search intent cannibalization’

 Bernard Huang, Co-Founder of Clearscope

According to Bernard, we should move from a keyword-driven to a search intent-driven approach in content strategy creation, to align with recent changes in Google’s algorithm. 

Today, I am presenting a keyword classifier Data Studio Dashboard, which utilizes the search intent categories we know and use. I will demonstrate how you can use this dashboard in different parts of the content planning, as well as the content creation process to create content that is tailored to what your users are searching for and their needs.

According to Ahrefs, doing keyword research is all about ‘choosing topics that potential customers are searching for, serving their needs and eventually converting them into customers.’ 

Considering that we will be classifying the keywords based on search intent, let’s recap what that is and how we can use it in the keyword research process. 

Understand what is search intent in organic marketing.

Search Intent Classification in the Keyword Research Process, using Google Looker Studio

Setting up the Looker Studio dashboard with your data

  1. Export data from Semrush or Ahrefs.

To create this dashboard, I’ve used a CSV export (converted to Google Sheets) from SEMrush’s Keyword Magic Tool, but you can just as easily integrate it with Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer.

If you are using SEMrush for your keyword research, follow these steps: 

  • Go to Dashboard > Keyword Overview > Keyword Magic Tool
  • Enter your primary (seed) keyword
  • Export the sheet for each of the main keywords, leaving the settings at all, broad match.

If you are using Ahrefs’ Keyword Explorer for keyword research, follow these steps: 

  • Go to the Dashboard > Keyword Explorer
  • Enter your primary (seed) keyword
  • Go to the “Having same terms” report (this shows all the keyword ideas that contain the target keywords as a broad match)
  • Export the sheet

Once you have the sheet exported, upload it to Google Drive and save it as a Google Sheets file. 

  1. Copy the Search Intent Keyword Classifier Looker Studio Dashboard.

Then, open the Search Intent Keyword Classifier Data Studio Dashboard and make a copy of it. 

  1. Connect your data

Connect your Keyword Research Google Sheet as a data source, using the native Google Sheets Data Studio Connector.

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  1. Create a multi-page report, using different keywords to create a 360-degree view of a topic cluster.

You can also copy the first page of the report as many times as necessary for the different keywords you are doing research for, or related keywords in the topic cluster.

To do this, repeat the process in steps 1 and 3, using related keywords or different seed keywords in the same topic cluster.

Then, you can select all widgets on the page, and replace the data source with the sheet for the new keyword. 

Looker Studio Field Definitions

Before we start using the Search Intent Keyword Classifier, let’s define its different parameters and fields. 

How to create custom Looker Studio Search Intent Dimensions

The search intent categories have data filtered based on different keywords that indicate one of the four categories of user search intent. 

Check out this post on Custom Dimensions For Advanced Google Looker Studio Reporting (with Formulas) for an even more complex and extended version of this formula.

They are defined using RegEx Contains filter definitions as table filters in Google Looker Studio

Informational search intent is identified if the keyword contains one of the following defining keywords:

how | why | does | which | when | who | which | guide | tutorial | learn | examples |resource | ideas |tips

Transactional search intent is identified if the keyword contains one of the following defining keywords:

Buy | price | cheap | expensive | recommendation | recommended | near me | firm | coupon | order | purchase | pricing

Commercial search intent is identified if the keyword contains one of the following defining keywords:

best | top | vs | review | cheap | comparison

Navigational search intent, as explained previously, is the most difficult to set a generic filter for. Here, you can insert in the filter your brand name, product names and service names. You can also insert the brand and product names of your competitors. 

You can do this by selecting the navigational search intent filter and editing it, using the format shown in the previous examples.


In the sample image below, replace the illustrated brands with relevant keywords.

image 5

How to find Easy Keyword Opportunities in Looker Studio

Easy Traffic keywords are keywords that have a Keyword Difficulty of less than 65.

The filter excludes keywords with a difficulty greater than 65, leaving easy keywords in the tables.

How to find Money keywords in Looker Studio

Money Keywords are keywords that have a CPC (USD) of 0.01 or greater. 

Easy Keywords and Money Keywords are dimensions that can be used for prioritization, in the content creation, if the keyword research for a given seed keyword is densely populated with many search terms. 

Using the dashboard in your content creation process

  1. Get an overview of the keyword cluster. 

In the main section of the dashboard, you will find a keyword cluster overview. 

This includes: 

  • a summary of all the keywords exported
  • the average keyword difficulty
  • Total keyword volume
  • Total number of Results
  • Average CPC (USD)
  • Average Competitive Density

Here, we can also see two scatter charts, with the Easy Keywords and Money Keywords. 

The scatter charts enable us to see the keyword distribution using a variety of different dimensions, which can help with prioritization, as well as content marketing budget strategizing.

  1. Find out what the search intent keyword distribution is for a related keyword.

Using the Keyword filter, you can enter any related keyword you want to write content for and check the distribution of search intent, related to it. 

For instance, in the dashboard, the primary (seed) keyword is ‘chatbot’.

If I were to create content about chatbot benefits, I can use the filter with the word ‘benefit’.

Not a whole lot of activity there.

chrome capture

How about ‘use case’?

Getting better.

chrome capture 1

Okay, let’s try something different. Like ‘customer service’.

That is more like it.

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3. Search keywords by type of SERP feature.

The SERP feature filter allows searching by type of SERP feature.

SERP features include, but are not limited to:

  • FAQ
  • Adwords top
  • Knowledge panel
  • People also ask
  • Reviews
  • Site links
  • Top stories
  • Video carousel
  • Image pack
  • Carousel
chrome capture 3

Key Takeaways

Keyword research is a task most SEOs do on a daily basis. Yet even though we know writing content that addresses search intent is a crucial aspect of it performing well, there is little effort in incorporating search intent as a concept in the process of research.

The Search Intent Keyword Classifier Looker Studio Dashboard aims to provide a stepping stone in that direction, enabling a supercharged keyword research process, regardless of the tools used for keyword extraction. 

It is designed to be used not only in the process of content planning but also in content creation. Its role is to support SEOs, content marketers, and content strategists to speed up the process of search intent understanding for different keyword clusters via classification.


  1. dear lazarina

    this is really a valuable source and has made my day.

    your dashboard offers really great approach to search term classification and differentiation. the visual presentation in datastudio is particularly well suited to explain it to traditional editors (with more or less SEO-focus) as well as share-/stakeholders in a convincing way.

    thank you very much for sharing – great work

    • Thanks so much for your feedback, Michael!

      I am very happy you’ve enjoyed this dashboard – hope it serves you well in the months to come.

  2. Wow. This is ridiculously useful. I’m going to put this into practice right away. Thank you for what looks like an immense amount of work in both the tool and the post, and sharing it with the rest of us.

    • Thanks for your kind words and your feedback, Angela! Hope it serves you well! 🙂

  3. tizzy

    This is a good resource and i really love it. but please can you increase the font and spacing on your site?

    I found it hard to read due to my eye problems. Thanks again, keep up.

    • Hi tizzy,

      Many thanks for your feedback on the dashboard and for your constructive criticism of the site’s font size. I would suggest utilizing Google Chrome’s (or any other browser’s) zoom feature – I From the options on the top-righthand corner. 🙂

  4. Thank you for the effort you put into this article and for sharing it with us. I hope I can make the time to digest this and use it in my work.

    • Thanks for your kind words, Ash! Hope you find good use of the dashboard! 🙂

  5. Steven Tippin

    I am having trouble connecting this to my ahrefs data. You mentioned the “Having same terms” report of keywords explorer but I only see “Martching terms” but then the report does not work when I use it.

    • Hi Steven,

      First, thanks a lot for commenting.

      I’ve just checked with Ahrefs. I can currently see three different subsections in the Keyword Explorer tool: Matching Terms, Related Terms, and Search Suggestions. If you have the bandwidth, I’d suggest exporting all three and combining them into one google sheet via appending.

      To test, I’ve exported search suggestions. Again, same process. Export to CSV, then open as Google Sheets.

      When you connect this google sheet to the dashboard, you will see a chart configuration incomplete error on all the scatter plot charts. This error is caused by the filters applied, specifically as there are some missing dimensions.

      In the article, I’ve explained that money keywords filter uses CPC, so you can open this filter and edit it (by clicking on the warning sign), to Include > CPC (select this from the Ahrefs ds) > the greater than number will populate automatically.

      Same for the easy keywords, except in the edited filter this time you’d use the metric ‘Difficulty’ (in Semrush the same one is referred to as Keyword Difficulty, which is why the dimension is recognized as missing).

      This should automatically fix all the errors in the scatter plots for the rest of the page 🙂


    greetings Kindly prepare a Video tutorial for SEO Report you made in Data studio

      • Francis Arios

        Is the video done for learning ?

  7. Admiral Lex

    Hei Lazarina, thanks for posting this article- very informative. I am having some trouble getting the data from Ahrefs as well – what can I use for Keyword density?

    • Hi Admiral,

      Please see the response I’ve given to Steven above – it might be helpful. The keyword difficulty dimension equivalent in Ahrefs is just difficulty. There appears to be no competitive density equivalent in Ahrefs, I’m affraid.

      However, you can perhaps create a custom field for this by doing a custom calculation using the Traffic volume and CPC fields.

      This is what Semrush Says about this metric: ‘Competitive Density measures paid competition (PPC)’

      Hope this helps 🙂

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