What Search Intent Is and How To Optimize for It

By Anne Hareid, Digital Media Specialist

Published: November 25, 2020

Did you know? “Google now processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide.” To rank high on the search results, your content needs to match the search intent behind the keywords. But, what is search intent? And how can you optimize for it? Continue reading to discover the answers.

What Does Search Intent Mean Anyway?

Search intent, also known as keyword intent, is all about solving the searcher’s problem. It’s about meeting their needs and providing the best answer to their search query. Everybody has a different reason for using a search engine. While some people may want to learn how to train their dog, others may want to hire a dog trainer instead. This is why it’s important to understand what their main goal is. Below, you’ll find out more about the four types of search intent and their differences:

The Four Types of Search Intent

Informational Intent

A searcher with this type of intent wants to find information. This could be in the form of a question but doesn’t have to be. Some search examples include:

Navigational Intent

A searcher with navigational intent wants to find a website or webpage. In this kind of situation, they know where they want to go but might not necessarily know the website URL. Some examples include:

Commercial Investigation Intent

A searcher with this type of intent wants to find information but also plans to buy something in the future. You can think of it as a combination of informational and transactional intent. Some examples include:

  • Web hosting reviews
  • Best dog food brands
  • Top auto mechanics in Green Bay

Transactional Intent

A searcher with this type of intent wants to buy something but isn’t sure where to buy it. They use high intent keywords instead of low intent keywords you would see when someone has informational or navigational intent. Some examples include:

  • Buy MacBook Pro
  • Nikon Z6 camera price
  • Festival Foods coupon

So, How Do I Optimize for Search Intent?

Now that you know what search intent is and the different types, it’s time to put that knowledge into action! One of the ways you can optimize for search intent is to look at the search results and top-ranking pages for the keyword you’re trying to target and review their content. What do the links on the first page have in common? Are they mostly blog posts or product pages? What search features are available? These are some of the questions you can ask yourself to help determine what the search intent is for your keyword, and the kind of content you should create or improve on your website. Because Google rankings fluctuate over time, it’s also important to check the ranking history of your target keyword so you can see if there’s a constant change or not in rankings. The less fluctuation, the better since this means that search intent is clear.

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