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Search intent describes the purpose of online search, as everyone who uses Google to search is looking for something.

There are several questions to ask when considering search intent. Does the user want to buy something? Are they looking for a specific product or website? Do they want a question answered? Many searches are part of the user’s journey online and represent different search stages.

Over the last few years, Google has improved its algorithm to determine the human intent behind the search query. That’s why you need to ensure your post fits your audience’s search intent. Search intent can be the magic key that transforms your content from performing okay to outstanding.

If you can understand your product, consumer, and what you are offering, achieving results will be no trouble.

What is search intent?

Search intent, also called user intent, is the primary goal a user has when searching for a specific query within a search engine.

Users often look for something specific, whether it’s a simple answer or a particular product. Once you understand the user intent, you can tailor the user journey more specifically, helping them find what they need and achieving your unique business goals.

Types of search intent

An essential part of search intent and SEO is understanding the types of search users conduct and the possible reasons behind the search. Once you understand the unique search types, you can reach your audience better and understand their needs.

Informational intent

Searches with informational intent are when the user is looking for information. This can be many formats, such as how-to guides, a recipe, or a definition of something.

Examples include:

  • How to bake millionaire shortbread
  • Where is the moon
  • Directions to London

Navigational intent

The users behind navigational intent are looking to navigate to a specific website, as it’s often easier to run a quick Google search than to type out the URL. The user could also be unsure of the exact URL or are looking for a specific page such as where to log in or a certain product.

Examples include:

  • Pretty Little Thing returns
  • Spotify login

Transactional intent

Transactional intent is when searchers are looking for something to buy. This could be anything from a product or service to a subscription. Either way, users will have an idea of what they’re looking for, so are now trying to find where they can get it.

Examples of transactional intent will look something like this:

Say the transactional intent is to purchase some sunflowers, the user may type in the below:

  • buy sunflowers
  • sunflowers at £10
  • sunflowers
  • discount on sunflowers

Commercial investigation

Before the reader is ready to make a purchase, they will use the search to investigate products, brands or services and narrow the focus to either one product or a few options.

Users in this stage are comparing products, sizes, reviews etc to try and decided what would be the best solution for them.

Examples of this include:

  • WordPress or wix
  • PLT or Bohoo
  • Best laptop 2022

How to optimize your content for search intent

The words people use within their searches can give us an insight into user intent, which we can use to our benefit. Optimizing your product pages using commercially driven keywords is a fantastic idea, as this can help you achieve positive results and generate more traffic.

Intent-specific words are things with transactional intent, such as buy deal, discount, and product names. It can be hard to narrow down the search intent of a query, as users will likely have different user intent.

To help you learn more about the search intent of your audience, you could ask them to complete a short survey regarding questions people are searching for. This can provide valuable insights into your audience and their intent for the search.


The aim of SEO is for you to be among the top results when someone composes a search for your company name. To help this happen, you need to ensure the content you write fits the terms people are searching for and the search intent of your audience. Make your content informational and give users content that helps them make an informed decision and is a clear lead to buy if they are looking to make a purchase.



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