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Your Guide to Search Intent

Many websites have great rank on page 1 of Google for a plethora of keywords, yet they do not drive high-quality traffic or conversions. Yes, it’s possible to have great rank but for terms that are not useful, as an SEO agency, we see this quite often. Holding rank on page 1 is the name of the game provided the keywords you are targeting are relevant to how consumers search on the web. Furthermore, the page that does rank must align with the user’s intent.

So, what is search intent and how can small business owners use it to an advantage when devising an online growth strategy. Let’s imagine you’re a spine surgeon try to drive new patients for your practice. Having your “contact us” page rank on high in Google for brand-related searches is nice, but doesn’t correspond with a user’s search query such as “what is causing my lower back pain?” In such an instance, when you craft web pages you want to make sure the content on the page will correlate to a visitor’s search intent by answering related questions.

What is Search Intent?

Behind every search lies a user’s “search intent” or purpose. Search intent deals with the web user’s motives behind conducting the web search in the first place. Users want to learn more about a specific topic, how to navigate to a location, and answers to important questions. But most users start at broad in their search efforts and modify their keywords or keyword phrases as they become more concise with their search effort.

When Google launched 2 decades ago, it served up results heavily based on keyword frequency less on the quality of what was written and not on intent. But Google realized this was an insufficient method of serving up web queries over time as companies could manipulate the results to their advantage. As a result, Google’s algorithms have been more specific and no longer exclusively rely on text verbatim but also leverage semantics to deliver content more aligned with what they believe is the users’ search intent.

What are the Different Types of Search Intent?

SEO practitioners categorize search intent into three distinct categories: informational, navigational, and transactional.

1). Informational Intent

Many users view Google as a lexicon of information, where they typically start with broad search queries containing 2 or 3 keywords. But as a user begins to scroll through Google’s search engine result page (SERP), he or she may notice their query was too broad, that some of the results are not what they wanted. The user then refines their search by adding additional keywords or combinations to better define their search intent within Google. Here are some common search queries parents may type when searching for a tutor which become increasingly more specific:

  • “Math tutor”
  • “Academic math tutor”
  • “Geometry tutor near me”
  • “Tutoring geometry for middle school students”
  • “Geometry tutor for a 7th grader near me”

In each instance, the search query becomes more refined in an attempt to help Google better understand the user’s search intent. When users refine their searches with long-tail SEO keywords, Google will serve up better results.

2). Navigational Intent

This type of search occurs when people want to find a specific website or location. For example, when someone types “Facebook” into the Google search bar, logic would assume they’re trying to get to These types of searches are more convenient than typing in a long URL; moreover, it’s helpful for users that don’t know the exact URL.

One aspect to keep in mind, however, is that you cannot take navigational searches at face value. While some searches may appear navigational initially, the user may have different motives (intent) in mind. In such instances, search engines may serve up results that do not align with a user’s intent. For example, someone typing in “McDonalds” could be looking for stock information, their corporate offices, or the nearest dining location. In actuality, however, the user may have typed “McDonalds” because they wanted to know if the brand appeared in any recent news stories.

3). Transactional Intent

Transactional intent searches occur when a user seeks to finish a sale after completing an informational search (assume they need information). During this phase, the web user has already identified their options and now is trying to narrow down to where they can buy a product or hire a company or person for their specific needs.

Web users searching with a transactional intent often use phrases like “Buy,” “How much,” or “Find” into search engines. Even if they don’t open their wallets and complete the sale, you can infer that they plan on doing so shortly.

How Can My Business Benefit from Knowing Search Intent?

If you’re looking to better optimize your content to attract and capture new leads, make sure that your landing page aligns with your audiences’ search intent. Optimizing your product’s page based around commercial-driven keywords is great for your chances of achieving rank. Pinpointing search intent becomes challenging because it requires more focus on your landing page’s web copy.

Luckily, there are some ways to help you ascertain this information. For instance, try including a survey in your email newsletters. Doing so will give you direct insight into what people’s search habits, which can prove invaluable while optimizing your web pages.

Discover Your Audiences’ Search Intent with Premiere Creative

Discovering the motive behind people’s search habits will allow you to craft an improved SEO strategy to resonate better with your audience. Furthermore, placing yourself in your visitors’ mindset will allow you to produce content that aligns with their interests which over time should improve your website’s metrics for time on site, bounce rate, conversions, and or web traffic volume.

Do you need help forming an SEO strategy that successfully converts? You’ve come to the right place! Dial (973) 346-8100 to connect with the seasoned SEO specialists at Premiere Creative today.