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Guide to Search Intent: Critical Part Of SEO

By claire on March 30, 2022

Understanding the search intent of your audience can make your content more relevant to them. By doing so, your websites can increase traffic & conversions through SEO and content enhancements. 

You will learn:

  • Foundation about search intent: its importance and types.
  • How to know and optimize search intent.
  • What to pay attention to while understand the search intent.

An effective website should provide readers the information right when they need it most. Such informative websites will probably get a lot of readers and low bounce rates. In order to achieve that, identifying the user’s search intent behind each query is a way for SEOs and content creators to deliver better value to users.  

This article will show you the search intent and how to optimize for each type of intention now. A keyword research tool like BiQ Keyword Intelligence can be an important tool to help you.

What is a Search Intent?

Search intent, or User intent, is the main goal a user has when typing a query into a search engine. In other words, it is the why behind a search query: why did the person make this search? Do they want to learn something? Are they looking to make a purchase? Or, are they looking for a particular product?

what is search intent

For example, you want to cook up some chicken for dinner but want to find a fast and simple recipe to eat now. So you head to Google and search for “quick chicken recipes”.

The first result you click on seems to be good at first. However, the process takes over an hour. So you click back, and choose the second page. This one gives you some ways of cooking, and all of them takes less than 30 minutes. This is probably what you want.

The idea here is that, the second page provides you the more relevant result that you need, so you stay on that page.

Why do you need to know about search intent?

It is simply to say that satisfying search intent is ultimately Google’s top goal. If you want to succeed with SEO and content marketing, search intent is a big part of your approach. You need to be the most relevant result for the query. 

First and foremost, finding the right keywords and creating content that aligns with search intent is something you should focus on. There are a million of keywords for one topic, but do you know 0.16% of the most popular keywords are responsible for 60.67% of all searches? This means the little percentage is only taken by the keywords with the right search intent. How well you understand the search intent impacts your ability to rank and whether your readers are satisfied with your page’s content. 

Take a look at the keyword “title generator”. What do you notice about these results? They’re all tools. People who search for a “title generator” don’t want a piece of content that is only about the title generator or how it works. They want the content with full context. 

From time to time, consumer behavior also fluctuates, presenting challenges and opportunities for businesses. It is essential to be nimble, and to move quickly in order to meet demand in real time For instance, there is 150% increase in searches containing “near me with outdoor seating” these days. So your business can see whether your product/service is suitable with the keywords, and optimize for that.

Overall, a thorough understanding of search intent can assist you: 

  • Target the right search terms after doing effective keyword research, which align with your audience’s needs.
  • Create content that answers user questions and structure pages in a way that’s friendly to both users and search engines.
  • Attract more traffic and rank higher by creating content that are more valuable and relevant to users.

4 types of search intent

Informational intent

The searcher is looking for information. 

This might be an answer to a simple question like “Who is Donald Trump?”. Or something that requires a longer and more in-depth answer like  “what is macroeconomics?” However, not all informational searches are formulated as questions. It could be in other forms like “PR definition”, “way to fold a plane”.

In the purchase intent, this type of search is at the top of funnel traffic. The content type is informative.

Navigational intent

The searcher is looking for a specific website. They might already know where they want to go (it can be landing pages, sites or location). It’s probably just quicker and easier for them to Google it than to type the entire URL into the address bar. They may also be unsure of the exact URL.

The search intent requires websites to be optimized for accurate and qualified queries. By doing so, the customers can get to the websites easier. 

For example: 

  • seopressor.com
  • seopressor blog
  • kendall jenner instagram
  • napoleon wikipedia

Commercial investigation

Searchers are in the market for a specific product or service but has yet to make a final decision on which solution is right for them. They’re most likely looking for reviews and comparisons and weighing up their options.

This intent requires websites to provide potential persuasion to customers about the benefits of your products/services; like the product comparison, listacles, detailed description. 

Other examples include: “coffee near me,” “cheapest restaurant in Singapore,” etc. These searches also have commercial investigation intent, in the form of local seaches.

Transactional intent

When searcher is looking to make a purchase, they’re probably in buying mode and at the end of the purchase intent. Most likely, they already made the purchasing decision and they are just looking for a place to buy it.

Here is where the landing pages of your product/service need to be optimize.

The examples are:

  • buy woman hoodie
  • netflix subscription
  • all of us are dead new episode

How to know and optimize search intent

#1. How to determine the search intent: 

You can dominate search intent SEO by focusing on keyword intent. Here are the 2 ways to understand the search intent. 

Find from Google search results: 

The easiest way to determine search intent is to use the search results themselves.

Search intent is often obvious from the wording of the query. 

You can examine the types of content that come up on page one, to determine what medium a person expects when they search that term.

you can find search intent through Google

If the results start with Google Ads, shopping results with product reviews, a booking tool, or show a store’s location on a map, Google identify that as a transactional intent.

If the first search results are the URLs for a company, the knowledge panel for a company, a company’s tweets, and/or a company’s own Google Ads, Google identify that as a navigational query.

If the search results include the answer box, a table, a list of URLs, event listings, the ‘people also ask’ box, the knowledge panel, recipes, a map, and/or videos, that is an informational search.

Commercial search will usually contain Google Ads, answer boxes, and URL results.

Read or watch all of the top results and identify what they have in common. The search engines have obviously deemed that unifying thread are the most satisfactory result.

If applicable, look at the related results under ‘people also ask’, and make note of any questions you can answer in your content. 

Find from BiQ Keyword Intelligence: 

If you’re using a keyword research tool like BiQ Keyword Intelligence, you can use these modifiers to filter for keywords with specific intent. In a situation where you’re looking for some relevant informational keywords for blog posts: First, enter a few seed keywords into BiQ, choose your language and location, then click generate.

You can see the results as below. In the “Intent” column, it shows you the search intent of the keywords.

find the search intent with BiQ keyword intelligence

Remember that when performing keyword research, you also need to consider search intent in addition to keyword popularity and keyword difficulty. 

find the search intent with BiQ keyword intelligence

Your piece of content should contain a mix of keywords with high search volume as well as long-tail, highly specific keywords. BiQ also gives you number of short and long-tail keywords. You just need to match your keywords to users’ search intent and write your content. 

find the search intent with BiQ keyword intelligence

What else can you get with BiQ Keyword Intelligence? You can research keywords in 35+ languages, thus, collect and visit keywords board that you like.

With free access to Keyword Intelligence, you can:

  • Check the search results to identify the type of intent behind your keywords
  • Examine the types of content that come up on page one.
  • Get common content ideas, popular questions related to the keyword, and trending searches involving that keyword. 

#2. How to optimize for each search intent:

  • Informational Intent: 

To target keywords with informational intent, you should pay close attention to the information users are searching for. Then, you need to write your content to provide it as clearly as possible. 

For example, a “how-to” query typically looks for a structured process. You can see that content with this query has featured content appears as an ordered list, and with clear numbered steps. 

If you click through to the source, you’ll notice that each step is a subheader with detailed information below it. 

  • Navigational Intent: 

First, you need make sure your site’s structure is organized and easy to navigate to target these navigational keywords. Each section of your site should be clearly labeled, with page titles, tags, headers, and descriptions that tell the user what information they’ll find there. 

  • Commercial Intent:

Commercial searches are about products or services that people are interested in but aren’t quite ready to purchase. Usually they include words and phrases like “best” or “which [product] should I buy?”. 

  • Transactional Intent: 

The best way for this intent directs users to a page designed for their purpose, whether it’s a product or a landing page. This page should have: 

Page Title, Description, and Headers that include keywords and indication of the purpose.

A clear Call to Action that’s easy for users to spot and understand

An eye-catching yet simple design that helps users find the information they need quickly and complete their conversion easily

What else should you do?

Besides the above-suggested method, you can also consider these two ways: users experience and customer journey.

Consider the user experience

You might be wondering how Google know a page is a good fit for Search Intent. The answer is that they look at how people interact with the SERPs.

In other words, they can tell if people aren’t loving a specific search result or if the keywords aren’t fitting for the search result. When this happens, the site will be downranked. 

So how do you make sure that people will love your page?

Pay attention to these elements:

  • Limit Popups: Too much pop up can make users feel uncomfortable. So if you do use a popup, you should only use them with exit option on the page. 
  • 14px+ Font: You can have the greatest blog post every written. But if it’s hard to read, people are going to bounce like a pogo stick. The font also need to be appropriate, and easy to read at the same time.
  • Use Subheadings: Searchers want their answers fast and they aren’t going to read every single word of your page. Headings and subheadings let users skim your content for the main points.
  • Use Videos and Images: Using visual makes your content more appeal to user to discoverand understand. 
UX and customer journey also affect the search intent

Consider the customer journey

As Google stated, the emotional motivation driving a particular search is not only shaped by the category of the search intent but also where they are in their purchasing journey.

In many cases, you can determine a keyword’s intent based on the keyword and its search results. But, there are also other things that you need to know. For example, an informational keyword will often use question words or phrases to indicate what the user is learning.

As in the marketing funnel, the journey can look like this:

  • Awareness: Informational keywords like “how to check backlinks”
  • Consideration: Commercial keywords like “best backlink checker.”
  • Conversion: Transactional or navigational keywords (often branded) like “BacklinkGap subscription.”


People’s queries reflect where they are in the conversion funnel. Understanding search intent can help you create effective content that targets potential customers.

A keyword research tool like BiQ Keyword Intelligence not only provides you a list of potential keywords but also shows you the search intent for each keyword. 

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Updated: 16 April 2024

Claire Le

About Claire Le

A dog lover and a travelholic. Interested in digital marketing and content creating.

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