What is Search Intent?

what is search intent

Search intent, simply put, is the purpose behind what users are searching for. When they come to Google or another search engine, are they wanting a question answered? Are they looking to purchase a product? Are they looking for a specific website? If you can key in on the true purpose behind their search, you’ve hit SEO gold.

You may be asking yourself, “why does this matter to me?

If you have a business or website that you want to rank higher on Google, search intent is a big piece of the puzzle. Search engine algorithms have worked hard to be able to understand a user’s search intent. They want to provide their users with the best content for their search queries every single time. The more a website, blog, landing page, etc., aligns with that user’s search intent, the more ranking power Google will give it.

To further help you understand what search intent is, let’s dive into the 4 major categories:

Navigational Intent

Here the user is searching for a specific website. For whatever reason, they have decided that they want to type in the name or a portion of it into Google rather than popping straight to the website. An example of this would be someone searching for “Pinterest.” They’re typically looking to go straight to that website.

Just keep in mind that ranking for navigational intent is only helpful when your site is what the user is searching for.

Informational Intent

Informational search intent is one of the most powerful. In this instance, people have a specific question or want to know more about a particular topic. This can be in the form of a question or just a general query. Some examples would be “what is SEO” or “SEO for beginners” and “directions to Walmart” or “Walmart near me.”

These searches can, but don’t necessarily have to, include words such as “the best way to, why, how-to, and information.”

Commercial Intent

Some people come online before they make a purchase to do their research. Those users are coming in with commercial search intent. Examples of this would be “what is the best cordless vacuum” or “Dyson cordless vacuum reviews.” For more local SEO, this may look more like “best restaurants in Birmingham, AL” or “plumbers near me.”

Transactional Intent

This particular type of search intent is when people come online to make a purchase. They already know what they want to buy; they just need a place to purchase it from.

Keywords with transactional intent will often contain words such as “product names, buy, deal, discount, and price.”

How to Optimize Your Content for Search Intent

Knowing these 4 types of search intent is crucial in helping you create and organize your content. It is important that you optimize your landing page to fit your particular audience. If you want to rank for more transactional searches, you’ll want to set up an e-commerce page and not a long informational blog post. If you’re looking to reach more commercial searches making sure you have reviews, and product information pages are important.

Two tools you can utilize to determine your users’ search intent are the Google search console and Google’s search results page. Search Console will help you see the keywords people are searching when they come in contact with your site. It also allows you to see how many people are seeing your site for a given keyword and if they’re actually interacting with your site for that keyword or not. If they aren’t, that’s not where you want to focus your energy.

Google’s search result page is useful in a different way. You can utilize this by choosing keywords from your keyword research and enter them in a SERP-checker. From there, you can analyze what you see on the results pages. Which type of intent is most common (informational, commercial, etc.)? Do you see videos? Products? Related searches? Questions? This will help you to evaluate whether the content you have is in line with the content you found on the results pages. Do the intent type match? Is your content presented in the right form?

These tools will help you formulate a powerful new SEO strategy if necessary or affirm that what you are doing is working. Ultimately, we hope this helps lead to more conversions for you and ultimately more revenue, ads, or whatever your end goal is.

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