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Search Intent: What You Should Know

Most simply, search intent is the “why” users are conducting a specific search.

What Is Search Intent?

Most simply, search intent is the why users are conducting a specific search.

Why are they searching for that long-tail keyword or phrase?

Are they needing a question answered? Is it a specific website they are searching for? Or, are they searching because they would like to buy a certain product?

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Over the last decade, Google’s algorithms have changed dramatically, better determining users search intent. When using the right keywords on a page was sufficient enough for ranking a web page, this is now no longer the case.

Google’s most recent algorithms have focused on combining a searchers intent along with the best optimized long-tail keywords.

In other words, it is absolutely vital for optimizing your pages for searchers intent and the right keywords both.

 

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Four Types of Search Intent

Let’s go ahead and break down the four most common types of search intent.

Informational Search Intent

The most common search intent is informational search intent. We use search engines every day and those queries are information related. Whether it’s information about the weather, SEO, health-related, or animal-related, this type of intent answers a specific question or gives us a broad view of a certain topic.

Navigational Search Intent

One of the least common types of search intent is the navigational search intent.

Users with navigational intent are looking for a specific website.

The only benefit for ranking on a navigational keyword or term is for driving organic traffic to your site, however. There is a downside to this intent: your site must be the site users are looking for or there is no traffic sent.

Yoast SEO once had a Google Analytics plugin and ranked well for the keyword “Google Analytics”.

Sadly, this did not drive any traffic to their site. Users were only looking for the Google Analytics website and rarely ever interested in the GA plugin.

Transactional Search Intent

Transactional Search Intent is wonderful if you’re an e-commerce company as it is the 3rd most important of the four listed.

As online shopping becomes increasingly popular, transactional search intent increases as well. Users have the intention of using this intent for purchasing the product online.

Transactional intent and informational intent both can be used in conjunction. It is common for not only finding the best product a user is looking for but the best price as well.

Similar to transactional intent is our next and final most common search intent: commercial investigation.

Navigational Search Intent

Similar to transactional intent, the commercial investigation search intent is best for research intent. For example, what product is best for xyz purposes? What is the best SEO WordPress plugin? Is Instagram a great app for small businesses?

The list goes on.

These are common questions but are also considered transactional intent – users need more convincing before purchasing or downloading content.

What Is Search Intent For Keywords?

Simple enough, the keywords users search for will give information about their search intent.

Keywords such as product, deal, discount, or buy are transactional intent and are most likely ready to buy.

Keywords such as how to, what is, the best way to, are considered informational search intent related.

How Do I Optimize My Content For Search Intent?

Your landing page is your most valuable asset.

Your landing page says everything about you as a company as well as your reputation.

Is your landing page inviting?

Does your landing page create a nice user-experience?

More importantly, does your landing page fit the search intent for your target audience?

Obviously, if the user is searching only for information, an e-commerce page does not answer their query. And the opposite works in the same manner. You don’t want to scare them away with long-form articles if they’re searching for a specific product to buy.

You can never go wrong with optimizing your product pages for commercial driven keywords. Yoast provides the perfect example of this case using dog vitamins:

If you sell dog vitamins, you could for instance optimize a product page for [buy dog vitamins]. Perhaps you also have an article about administering vitamins. You could for example optimize that article for the search term [how to give vitamins do my dog]. – Yoast SEO

At the end of the day, determining the right search intent from a user can be difficult.

A lot of users will have variations in their search queries so it’s best to properly optimize for all instances.

What Is Search Intent For Keywords?

Simple. Ask them.

A common method for this is through doing surveys of your fans or fans-to-be.

Polling from popular forum sites related to your target audience is great to accomplish this. Another method is creating a survey popup on your website.

In no time at all, you will have all the answers you need for gaining insights into the search intent of your target audience.

Conclusion

It is vital that the content you’re writing is optimized for both the long-tail keywords people are searching for as well as the search intent of your target audience.

Writing a long-form informational post or page, at minimum 1,000 words in length, is key for informational intent.

If you’re selling a product, make sure the same post or page is inviting and leads them to the sales page.

Download FREE Sales Boost Guide

Are you not getting enough web traffic, conversions, or sales? We’ve been there, too! Download our FREE “7 Sales-Boosting Steps for Brick & Mortar Businesses” guide today to discover how you can easily boost your sales through the 7 simple and proven steps!