Let’s talk about search intent

If you read our blog regularly or have spoken to us about driving traffic to your site, you know that SEO a critical path to making your site, and therefore your business more successful. When your site ranks well on Google, more people will be attracted to your site. Almost all of the sites we have built have one goal, to sell stuff. That stuff might be a product or a service, but your goal is to reach buyers. By optimizing your content for the words, people use to describe what you are selling. We want to be sure that to make people feel comfortable enough to become customers, subscribe to your newsletter, or return to your website another time; you need to take into account search intent. Here, we will discuss what search intent is and how to optimize your articles for search intent.

What is search intent?

Why are people putting in specific searched? Do they have a question and want an answer to that question? Are they searching for a specific website? Or are they searching because they want to buy something?

Google has become more and more capable of determining the search intent of people. To Google, their customer is the person searching. Although they do not make money directly off of the searcher, they want you to come back because they provide you with the best results. So Google wants to return the results that best fit the search term, ranking the most relevant pages the highest that best fit the search term, as well as the search intent of a specific search query. That’s why it is critical to make sure your post or page fits the search intent of your audience.

Four kinds of search intent

There are four defined types of search intent:

Informational Intent

This is the person looking for information. So many people are looking for information. That could be about weather conditions, education of their children, or even about SEO. These people have specific questions about a particular topic.

Navigational Intent

Navigational Intent is people looking for a specific website. If you search for Applebee’s, they are usually people looking to dine at Applebee’s and want to know what is on the menu or where they are located.

A while ago, we had done a blog on Google Analytics, and we ranked well for Google Analytics, but our site got no traffic from this as it was not what people were looking for, they wanted to go to Google’s Analytics website.

Transactional Intent

These are folks looking to buy, to make a transaction. They are looking for the best place to make their purchase.

Commercial investigation

A lot of us may be planning to buy something, but want to research different companies, or options, before making a purchase. What kind of material should I have the new sail for my boat made of? What is the best sail construction method? Or maybe what company can provide me the best SEO services? These people need to feel comfortable about their purchase and from whom they make that purchase. That is why this search is called a commercial investigating intent.

Keyword intent

Intent can be determined based on the words they use in their search. Words like discount, buy, or deal are likely interested in buying something. If they perform a search for a specific product, they are likely to buy it. Words like how to, information, the best way to, likely have an informational intent.

How to optimize your website content for search intent

It is vital to be sure that the page the person lands on fits the Intent of the visitor. Don’t take them to a product page if they are looking for information, at least not right away. You do not want to scare them off. If people are looking to buy, don’t send them to a bunch of boring information, send them to your store or product page.

Making sure your product pages are optimized for more commercial driven keywords is a good idea. If you sell raw dog food, you could optimize that page for “buy raw dog food.” Maybe you have a page about transitioning your dog to raw dog food, optimize that page for “How to transition my dog to raw dog food.”


When your site content is written, it is imperative that your content fits both the search terms they are using and the Intent of your audience. If people are searching for information, make pages informational. If they are looking to make a purchase direct them to one of your products.