Understanding Google Search Intent: A Simplified Guide

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Understanding Google Search Intent: A Simplified Guide

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When you found this post, was your search intent to purchase a service or product? Probably not. It’s safe to say that you were looking to learn something or answer a question. 

In this post, we’ll explain what search intent is, why it matters, the types of intent, how to optimize your website and content, and a few tools that can help! Shall we?

What is Search Intent and Why Does it Matter?

Search intent is literally the “why” behind the users’ search. Think about when you go to a search engine. What is your purpose for the search? Are you trying to find a location? A product? Or are you looking for information on a particular subject? This is what search intent is. 

So why does it matter?

If you’re creating content without the users’ intent in mind, you will find lower click-through rates, fewer conversions, and a higher cost for conversions (if your running PPC advertising). 

Google always puts the user first. They want to make searching as intuitive as possible and serve up the best content for that user. If you’re not keeping search intent in the forefront of your mind while creating content, Google will not give you the love you’re looking for. It must be relevant to the user’s intent. 

For example, this article intends to provide information on what search intent is and how you can optimize for it. 

Types of Search Intent

is search intent important when starting a search

There are four types of search intent: informational, navigational, commercial, and transactional. There’s really a science behind it. Let’s dive into each intent to get a better understanding. 

Informational

I’m sure you’ve guessed it, but I’ll say it anyway. The intent behind an informational search is to find relevant information! The user is hoping to answer a question. Informational search intent is easy to spot because it usually includes keywords like “how to,” “what is,” “when is,” and “why do.”

Examples of Informational Searches:

  1. “What is search intent.”
  2. “How to boil an egg.”
  3. “When is the summer Olympics.”
  4. “Why do dogs bark.”

 

Navigational

Navigational search intent is looking to find something specific. While you might think the purpose is geographical, and it kind of is. But specifically, it’s a web location. Therefore, the user is looking for a specific website or webpage.  

These are typically branded searches. Users may not want to type in “facebook.com/login” to get to the login page. Instead, they’d search “Facebook,” and it would show up in the top results. 

Examples of Navigational Searches:

  1. “Wheeler Marketing Agency”
  2. “Reddit”
  3. “Hubspot”
  4. “Facebook”

 

Commercial

Commercial intent can be tricky to understand. But don’t worry. We’re going to help make things more straightforward. 

Commercial searches are oriented towards reviews, comparisons, and data. These searchers are trying to get a better understanding of products or services before purchasing. They’re weighing their options and looking for what they feel is best. They are investigative searches.

Examples of Commercial Searches:

  1. “Agency A vs. Agency B”
  2. “SEMrush vs. Moz”
  3. “Siteground reviews.”
  4. “Best headphones for Samsung phone.”

 

Transactional

These users are looking to make a purchase. They’ve already done their informational and commercial searches, so their intent is clear: “buy.”

Examples of Transactional Searches:

  1. “Cheap SEO tools.”
  2. “Coupon for Elementor Pro”
  3. “Buy a mac.”
  4. “iPhone 12 price.”

How to Optimize for Search Intent

how to optimize for commercial search intent

Now that you have a clear understanding of what search intent is and why it’s important let’s look at how you can start optimizing your content. 

Because the intent behind each search is different, the optimization methods are too.

Let’s begin!

Optimizing for Informational Intent 

Informational intent optimization involves strategically updating page headers, titles, and descriptions with user questions. 

The key to optimizing informational searches is to use the most important questions as H2 headers (learn about website heading tags) throughout your content. 

Optimizing for Navigational Intent

Navigational intent is more brand-focused. As we discussed earlier, a user’s purpose for a navigational search is to find a particular website. 

To effectively optimize for navigation searches: 

  • Be sure your home page has your brand name.
  • Your about page clearly states your brand name and describes the business and its key players.
  • Have clear landing pages that describe your services and who you cater to.
  • Make sure you have at least one page (preferably the home page) titled with your brand or business name. 

Optimizing for Commercial Intent

Users with commercial intent are still on the fence about a product or service. So, to optimize for it, you have to provide content that will better inform the user through compare and contrast articles, reviews, or lists. 

An easy way to optimize for commercial intent is to add content that uses keywords like “best,” “top,” “vs.,” or “review(s).” You can create lists of the best products and describe what the benefits of each are. 

Optimizing for Transactional Intent 

The key to optimizing for transactional is to make it crystal clear how users can purchase and what it will mean to the user. 

To optimize for transaction user intent, be sure to:

  • Provide a clear CTA. 
    • Make it stand out and be clear what your call to action is. If it’s a button to add an item to a cart, say “add to cart” or “add to shopping cart” on the button. Now isn’t the time to get creative. 
  • Build trust and capture emotion. 
    • Transactional intent optimization is similar to conversion rate optimization (CRO). You want to build trust and position the value of your product in a way that a user can relate to. 

2 Tools for Discovering Search Intent

Now that you know what search intent is and how to optimize it let’s look at some great tools to discover what a user’s search intent is quick.  

  1. BiQ (free and premium plans)
best free tool for discovering search intent

This is one of our favorite tools. It’s up there with SEMrush, in our opinion. It clearly defines the user intent, but it also provides a list of LSI keywords that are most relevant. This is great for creating content that is relevant and helps to improve your rankings.

  1. CognitiveSEO (5 free searches then premium plan upgrade required)
cognitive SEO tool for discovering a users search intent

CognitiveSEO is another good tool for discovering search intent, and it also provides additional keywords to add to your content. 

Clearer Understanding of Search Intentions

Having a clear understanding of why a user is searching for something will help you improve your CTR and improve your rankings in search engines. After all, if you’re providing content that goes with the search intent, then you’re giving the user what they’re looking for. Remember, Google puts the user first!

If you’re still unsure where to start or how to optimize your content for search intent, then give us a call, drop us an email, or reach out on social media. We can help review your content and optimize it for relevancy and get some of that Google love coming your way!

pinterest pin for search intent

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