What is Search Intent?

on SEO November 22nd, 2022

SEO marketing is a great way to drive more traffic to your site and search intent is a major success factor for this form of marketing.

Intent search marketing is an approach that focuses on users and the topics they are searching for. Rather than taking keywords at face value, a solid search intent strategy can help you decipher what your potential customers want when they conduct a search relevant to your business.

Search engines are placing more attention on the user intent in every update. So, it’s important for businesses to stay tuned and adapt to their target’s navigational intent.

What is Search Intent?

In the search context, the intent is the purpose or goal that the user wants to achieve when he or she performs a search.

For example, when a consumer looks for “best electronics store near me”, the search has a commercial intent because this person is looking for a product.

With the above in mind, search intent SEO is the process of adapting your content to the goal that users want to achieve, in order to improve your SEO performance.

User vs. Keyword Intent

It’s important to note that search phrase intent is not always the same as the user’s intent.

In the context of keywords, the intent is the purpose that these terms portray. For example, if a user searches for “New York pizza” the keyword’s search intent is commercial. However, in this case, the user may be searching for recipes for New York-style pizza.

In the scenario above, the user’s goal is not aligned with the terms being used.

Types of Intent in SEO

In order to implement user search intent strategies it’s important to know about the four different types of objectives that motivate a user’s search queries.

Before going any further, it’s important to note that these types of search intents are based on Google’s algorithm. In other words, these Google search intent categories have sway over your organic search rankings.

Therefore, your search term should not only be relevant to the topic but also match the purpose of the user.

That said, here are the four types of intent you should consider when choosing a target keyword for your site.

Informational Intent

The first type of SEO search intent is informational searches. As the name suggests, users who search for informational keywords are looking for non-product-related information.

Now, it’s important to create content that meets the informational intent of your audience in order to get leads in the early funnel. As with all others, you should make sure that the keyword search intent is also informational before you start creating this type of content.

Navigational Intent

Out of all the types of search intent, navigational may be the hardest to prepare for.

The reason for this is that navigational intent searches focus on getting to one specific page. For example, if a user searches for “ESPN” then this person will very likely end up on that page.

It’s possible to perform segmenting by search intent. But, you need to be aware of the other terms that users input into a search engine when looking for topics in your industry.

Transactional Intent

Transactional intent searches consist of queries performed by users who are ready to buy on the spot. This type of search is the exact opposite of informational intent queries.

This type of search intent is important because it’s the most profitable one for businesses. However, learning how to track search intent that’s transactional requires an in-depth understanding of your audience.

So, make sure to evaluate all variables when creating search engine optimization content for transactional intent queries.


Just because a user isn’t ready to buy at the time of conducting a search it doesn’t mean that this query is irrelevant.

As a matter of fact, commercial investigation intent searches are extremely valuable.

In simple terms, commercial investigation searches occur when users are comparing the features, pricing, and other aspects of the products or services they want to acquire.

Commercial queries should play a huge role in your search intent optimization plan as these represent middle to bottom of the funnel leads. This will allow you to target keywords with elevated search volume and engage potential customers while satisfying search intent at the same time.

Search IntentWhy is Search Intent Important in SEO

Intent SEO is the process of matching search intent to the rest of your search engine optimization strategy.

This practice involves combining the most relevant search intent keywords with superior content, proven technical elements, and any other compatible SEO strategy.

Having a keyword research tool that considers intent is a good start. But, keep in mind that this is one of the areas of SEO that changes the most abruptly.

Therefore, it is important to always assess searches on your own and determine whether you’re targeting commercial, navigational, transactional, or informational queries.

Tips to Optimize for Search Intent

The key to great SEO is finding a balance between commercial and navigational search intent as well as all other forms of searches.

Here are some tips to help you optimize your specific website for your customers’ search goals.

  • Focus on search intent identification before creating content
  • Determine search intent manually on Google search
  • Choose landing page and blog post key phrases based on intent and keyword difficulty
  • Leverage SERP features like snippets
  • Only use transactional keywords as main phrases on product and service pages

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – Search Intent

Performing a search intent analysis is not always easy. Here are some FAQs you may encounter while judging search intent based on a few different options.

How do I Find Search Intent?

Search intent marketing is based on the idea that we can deduce the user’s goal based on the terms used to conduct a query.

There are a few different techniques to find the audience’s search intent. A basic one is to go to a search engine and type in a key phrase. Evaluate the top results as their topic likely matches the intent of the searcher.

Is there any Difference between Keyword and Search Intent?

Yes, we’ve covered the difference between these two in the previous section User vs. Keyword Intent.

How to Track Search Intent?

Search intent is difficult to track automatically. Your best bet is for your marketing team to set up an internal process to help them monitor and track the intent of the most relevant terms on your site.


Content that satisfies search intent, as well as all other technical and content requirements, usually performs well on search engines. On the other hand, high-quality content that doesn’t align with the intent of the user can reduce your chances of SEO success.

Search engines understand what users are trying to achieve with their queries. This is the best way to identify transactional search phrases and generate organic traffic that transforms into leads.

Want to know more about targeting search terms that align with your content strategy and your audience’s intent? Contact us today and our team of search marketing experts at FANNIT will be glad to help.

Keith Eneix

My brother Neil and I founded Fannit in 2010 and set out to help entrepreneurs just like us achieve their dreams of being successful business owners. It’s been a rewarding journey for us, and we love every day of it. Inside of Fannit, I work with both our internal team and our clients to make sure that we have everybody working the right roles and we’re being as efficient as possible as a team. I’m always happy to step in whenever there is a difficult SEO challenge at hand... it’s the element of marketing that I’m most passionate about. We’re all here to get better and grow, and that’s what gets me up in the morning! Connect with me on LinkedIn >