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What is Search Intent? The Mystery Behind Keyword Intent Explained

What is Search Intent? The Mystery Behind Keyword Intent Explained

By understanding what search intent is, you can more effectively optimize your pages to fulfill the needs of the intended search and enhance your SEO strategy altogether.
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Search engine algorithms are advanced enough to know the purpose behind a user’s search. This is referred to as search intent (or keyword intent). By understanding what search intent is, you will develop a strong keyword strategy that aligns with the intent of your audience.

What is Search Intent?

So what is search intent? Simply put, search intent is SEO slang for the reason or purpose behind a user’s search. Search intent can then be broken down into 4 types of intent—and each has a different approach to search engine optimization.

  • Navigational Intent
  • Commercial Intent
  • Transactional Intent
  • Informational Intent

The 4 Common Kinds of Search Intent

Navigational Search Intent

Navigational intent is when the user is searching for a specific page, website, or business. With navigational search intent, the user already knows exactly what they want and just needs a little help finding it. 

Luckily, it can be easy to rank a website in a navigational search, that is, as long as the user is aware of your brand. Many times navigational search intent is the end result of digital and traditional marketing efforts such as TV ads, social media, flyers & brochures, and more.

Examples of Navigational Search Intent:

  • “Walmart pharmacy”
  • “Ford website”
  • “Adidas”

Commercial Search Intent

Commercial intent is when the user is searching online to investigate various brands, products, or services. The user is trying to decide on a product to buy or a service to use and they are conducting research online to help them decide. 

If you sell products or services, being found in a commercial search is likely to lead to a sale. Writing product and service descriptions with commercial search intent in mind will help the search algorithms find a webpage. 

Examples of Commercial Search Intent:

  • “Roofing contractors”
  • “CBD oil for dogs”
  • “Car mechanics in Austin”

Transactional Search Intent

Transactional search intent is when the user is intending on making an online transaction or hire a company. This transaction could be to make a purchase online, find a service, or sign up for a newsletter/blog. 

Unlike commercial intent, this user is even further up the sales funnel and is the most likely to make a purchase or contact a service provider. The key here is to understand how to convert the user into a customer once they land on the website through a transactional search. 

Examples of Transactional Search Intent:

  • “Restaurants near me”
  • “Buy shoes online”
  • “Car mechanics in Austin”

Informational Search Intent

Those searching with informational intent are looking for answers to a specific question. They are not looking to purchase a product, nor are they looking for services. So why is it important for you to capture them using SEO search intent? 

When you become the user’s source of information, you become their first choice when they are ready to buy and the name they use for referrals. Providing information to a user can help you find new customers or clients, grow an email marketing audience, gain revenue through ads on your website, and much more.

Examples of Informational Search Intent:

  • “How to do an oil change?”
  • “What is the capital of Nebraska?”
  • “What is search intent?”

What is the Importance of Search Intent for SEO?

When users are looking for answers to a question, a product or service, or simply trying to find your website—you should want your website to show up (obviously).

An effective SEO strategy properly captures all forms of search intent in various forms. The benefit of optimizing your content for search intent is you will see an even larger increase in SERP (search engine results page) visibility by meeting the needs or purpose of the searcher.

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