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What is search intent? We’ve all asked ourselves this question at one time or another, especially when it comes to our website and the effort we put into optimizing it for Google.
But what does “search intent” actually mean, and why should we care?
In this post, I want to explore exactly that – what search intent is, and how understanding it can help us improve our SEO efforts.
I’ll break things down into three sections: first, I’ll give a basic definition of search intent; secondly, I’ll go over the different types of search intent; and lastly, I’ll talk about how to optimize your content for each type of search intent.
Are you ready? Let’s get started!
What is search intent?
In its simplest form, search intent is what someone is looking for when they perform a Google search.
But of course, it’s not always that simple.
Search intent can be divided into four different categories: informational, navigational, commercial, and transactional.
Let’s take a closer look at each one.
What are the different types of search intent?
Informational searches are those in which the person is looking for information on a particular topic.
This could be anything from “How to bake a cake” to “What is the capital of Belarus?”
Informational searches usually start with words like “what,” “how,” “why,” etc.
Navigational searches are those in which the person is looking for a specific website or web page.
For example, if someone types in “Facebook” into Google, they are probably looking to go directly to the Facebook website.
Similarly, if someone types in “Acorn Content Creation” they are probably looking to find our website.
Navigational searches are usually the result of someone already being familiar with the website or web page they are trying to find.
Commercial searches are those in which the person is looking to buy something.
This could be anything from “best laptops for under $500” to “men’s shoes size 10.”
Commercial searches usually start with words like “buy,” “purchase,” “order,” etc.
Transactional searches are those in which the person is looking to complete a transaction.
This could be anything from “book a hotel room in New York City” to “download this e-book.”
Transactional searches usually start with words like “book,” “download,” “sign up for,” etc.
How do you optimize your content for each type of search intent?
Now that we know the different types of search intent, let’s talk about how to optimize your content for each one.
If you’re writing informational content, the goal is to be as comprehensive as possible.
This means covering the topic in-depth and including all the relevant information that someone might be looking for.
It’s also important to use keyword-rich titles and descriptions so that your content comes up in Google searches.
If you’re writing navigational content, the goal is to make it easy for people to find your website or web page.
This means including the website or web page name in the title and description of your content, and using relevant keywords throughout.
If you’re writing commercial content, the goal is to get people to buy what you’re selling.
This means including persuasive language and calls-to-action throughout your content, and using keywords that signal commercial intent (such as “buy,” “purchase,” etc.).
If you’re writing transactional content, the goal is to get people to complete a transaction.
This means including clear instructions and calls-to-action throughout your content, and using keywords that signal transactional intent (such as “book,” “download,” “sign up for,” etc.).
Search intent is an important concept to understand if you want your content to be successful.
By understanding the different types of search intent, and knowing how to optimize your content for each one, you can make sure that your content is appearing in Google searches and that people are finding what they’re looking for.
Jamie Fallon is an SEO expert who lives life to the maximum, redlining every day on a rollercoaster straight to the grave.
In an SEO career of almost ten years, he’s seen it all, he’s done it all, and he’s not impressed: from white text on a white background to today, when you can have robots paint or write for you like some kind of sick science fiction come true.
No matter what life throws at him, Jamie always manages to come out on top. He’s an expert at seeing the silver lining in every cloud and making the best of every situation. His positive attitude and unshakable faith in himself have seen him through tough times. For some people, success goes to their heads; but Jamie never forgets what got him to wherever he thinks he is.
When he’s not busy gaming the system, you can find him writing angry thinkpieces on how Google is ruining everything good about the internet, or hanging out with his wife (pictured).