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What Is Search Intent
November 11, 2021
STOCKHOLM

Search intent or user intent is one of the most important factors for content creators when it comes to SEO. It’s the reason why someone conducts a specific search. After all, everyone who is online searching is hoping to find something. Actually, it’s pretty straightforward and logical. Google optimizes for the user – and so should you.

To say that we want to create SEO content that works well on Google does not feel quite right nowadays. It’s really better to call it UO content, as in User Optimization. Why? It’s been a while since SEO was about pushing keywords into texts and buying links. Many people still see SEO as something technical that needs to be in place, and yes, there are some basic factors such as URL structures, indexing, and loading speed to have a well-optimized website. But mainly SEO is about really good content that creates value for the user.

What is search intent?

Search intent is sometimes also called user intent or query intent. And that’s exactly what it is. It’s about trying to understand what a user is looking for when searching on the internet search engines. Different searches give us clues as to what the person behind the search is actually looking for. By understanding this, we can create content that better matches what the searchers are actually looking for.

Google is constantly striving to create the best possible user experience. Content that Google believes matches a search intent has a greater ability to rank and is most likely the best content for the user. Looking at search intent thus gives us even better opportunities to create awesome content for our target groups.

Different types of search intent

By understanding the user’s search intent, you can create good content on the topic that is close to your offer. Search intent corresponds to the typical buying price and can help you decide what type of content you should create – and whether it should be, for example, a blog post, an online guide, or a product page. There are four general types of search intent:

Informational

Wide questions are used when the user is looking for information. For example, “what is search intent”, “tomato sauce”, “why are tigers striped”, “directions schiphol”, or “how did Lemmy Kilmister die”.

Google’s search results for the term “tomato sauce”

Navigational

These are the specific searches used when the user searches for a specific URL. Simply because it is easier to type it in the search box or because the address is too difficult to remember. For example: “facebook”, “instagram”, “tax return” or “advedro topicster“.

Investigational

This is used to find comparative content. For example: “best headphones”, “mailchimp or hubspot”, “best restaurant Stockholm” or “laundry machine test”.

Transactional

Search when the user knows what he wants to buy, but is looking for the right place to buy it from. For example: “buy macbook pro”, “discount code nike”, “samsung galaxy s10 cheapest” or “apple watch campaign”.

Commercial investigation

Some people have the intention to buy in the (near) future and use the web to do their research. What washing machine would be best? Which SEO plugin is the most helpful? These people also have transactional intent but need some more time and convincing. These types of search intents are usually called commercial investigating intents.

Summary search intent

  1. It is no longer enough to optimize for a keyword or a search phrase, you need to start from the user’s search intention.
  2. Once you have done your keyword analysis – use search intent to decide what type of content to create.
  3. Let search intent decide if you should make a blog post, an online guide or a new product page.
  4. Does your content match what the user is looking for? If not – optimize!
  5. Dare to create a blog post or an online guide instead of a product page – it can make it easier to meet the user’s search intent.