What is Search Intent and How Does it Affect SEO?

What is Search Intent and How Does it Affect SEO?

SEO we knew a few years ago and SEO we know today are two completely different concepts. In the third decade of the XXI century when we constantly compete to improve organic website traffic, everything is about search intent, otherwise called user intent. Discovering this element is the key to understanding users’ expectations. On the other hand, preparing “answers” that match these expectations is a recipe for improving web sessions and conversion rates. Learn how your website can benefit from search intent!

Table of contents:

What Is Search Intent?

As the phrase suggests, search intent is the reason and purpose behind every users’ query entered into the search engine.

It allows Google to determine what kinds of content are likely to meet the expectations of users who type in specific keywords into the search box.

For this purpose, Google processes each search query and takes into account lots of data it gathers from the users’ search history and indexed pages (pages that Google bots have already crawled).

4 Types of Search Intent

There are four different types of search intents, including:

  • Informational – users who enter such queries usually want to find answers to specific questions. These may be searches like “who is Neil deGrasse Tyson” or “how to make my own wedding bouquet”. It’s important to note that informational queries don’t always have to have the form of questions. They can also be short statements like “Stansted airport directions”. If you’re making a how-to blog post, that’s considered an informational type of search query.

informational search intent examples

  • Navigational – users want to find a specific website, brand, or location. People know exactly what type of content they are trying to access. Most of these searches are brand keywords, which means that they contain the name of the specific website, product, or service. Examples would be “Instagram”, “SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool”, and “Zalando login”.

navigational search intent examples

  • Transactional – users are ready to make a purchase. The user’s search intent is to buy. They already know what they need, but they are looking for the most suitable and attractive place to finalize the transaction. Transactional search queries frequently include words like “buy”, “order”, or “get”.

transactional search intent seo

  • Commercial – users are ready to make a purchase, but aren’t sure which solution would work best for them. They frequently look for reviews and comparisons. They type in keywords that precisely express their intent. Examples would be “the best smartphone”, “SEMrush review”, or “top restaurants London”.

commercial search intent example

How to Discover Search Intent?

There are two main ways to discover the search intent behind each query.

What are they?

You can either check the SERPs manually or use special tools dedicated for this purpose like SEMrush.

Manually Check the SERPs

To discover the search intent, you should stay open-minded and analyze keywords entered into the search engine by users. Even if you have a hard time doing it, there is nothing to worry about.


Most of the time, identifying the intent behind the keywords/keyphrases is already done for us by Google.

For example, if you want to create content optimized for a generic keyword like “gaming speaker”, look at the SERPs and see how Google interprets the keyword.

Does it offer videos, product carousels, or blog posts? Check the search results! Usually, it’s the most precise way.

what is search intent example

Now, remember that Google can interpret keywords differently depending on how they are used at a specific moment. That’s why it’s important to regularly update your content and look at other related keywords to tailor your content to the specific search intent that can benefit your business.

However, there are also special tools that make the task significantly easier.

Use Tools

If you’re looking for a source of hard data, you can use special tools like SEMrush.

Just enter the Keyword Magic Tool, type in your keyword, and click Search. You’ll see the results, including search intent data:

seo search intent in tools
An exemplary search intent analysis obtained from SEMrush based on the “new smartphone” long-tail.

As you may guess:

  • I stands for informational,
  • N stands for navigational,
  • T stands for transactional,
  • C stands for commercial.

It’s a quick and simple solution for those who don’t have time to analyze each keyword manually.

Why Is Search Intent Important?

Google’s BERT update led to a better understanding of intent-based search in 70 languages. If you start thinking about search intent when creating your website content, Google will certainly notice it.

Search intent matters for a number of reasons. First of all, Google strives to provide users with results that meet their expectations.

Any doubts? Just look what Google says about itself:

“Our mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Why is search intent important for SEO?

If you want to rank high in 2022, you have to provide users with the most relevant answers to their queries.

What does it mean?

You should create content that corresponds to the search intent and think about what users want to see when they type in a specific query.

How to handle Keyword Research? Contact Delante

Google is smart. You can no longer stuff your website with meaningless keywords and hope to reach top positions.

Google knows that someone who searches keywords like “the best wedding dress” is looking for a blog post, comparison article, or ranking. Not for a homepage of a store that happens to offer various dresses, including wedding ones.

By understanding search intent SEO, you’ll increase your site’s dwell time, attract more traffic, and answer the questions asked by your target audience.

How to Optimize Content for Search Intent?

Once you know what search intent is and why it’s important, it’s time to optimize your content. Keep reading to discover steps you should follow to adapt your texts to the needs of potential buyers.

1. Discover the Search Intent

First of all, analyze why people may be entering specific keywords into the search engine. Do they want to buy products or services? Are they looking for reliable information? Do they have a hard time deciding which product variant to choose?

Try to put yourself in your potential customers’ shoes. Think about what problems or concerns they may have. When doing keyword research, assign one search intent type to each phrase.

2. Choose the Right Keywords

Before creating content, choose the right keywords that match specific intent. It’s pointless to write an extensive blog post optimized for a transactional keyword.


Because people are ready to make the purchase and are looking for attractive deals, not reviews, or comparisons. If you aren’t sure what type of content users need and expect to find, type in a selected keyword into Google. Analyze the results and your market rivals to see what they offer.

3. Check SERPs for the Keyword

Even if you don’t have problems assigning keywords to search intent types, it’s always advisable to check the SERPs. If Google displays videos or product carousels for specific queries, it means that users expect to see such results.

This, in turn, means that writing a blog post or description optimized for the keyword won’t bring you any benefits.


Because it won’t rank high in the search results.

Are you stumped for ideas and inspiration? Check out related searches displayed on Google. It’s a real mine of knowledge on what to include in a given text.

how to find search intent related search

Thanks to them you’ll find out what questions and problems users have. This will help you create comprehensive content tailored to the expectations of potential customers.

If you address all the important issues on your website, there is a good chance that users won’t feel the need to look for another provider of services or products. Instead, they’ll choose you.

Create Content

Now that you know the methods for checking search intent, it’s time to create content.

Make sure it matches the given intent. Avoid clickbaits. Don’t mislead users. Otherwise, they’ll quickly discover the truth and leave your website. This will translate into an increased bounce rate.

In such a situation, Google will notice that your page doesn’t live up to users’ expectations and it’ll lower its positions in the rankings.

Don’t forget to monitor the activities of your market rivals. This way, you’ll be familiar with the trends in the industry. Get inspired and choose a strategy that works best for users.

Optimize Product and Service Pages

You can use your knowledge about search intent not only to create quality articles, videos, or rankings.

It’s important to ensure that your product or service pages are also optimized for the right keywords. Thanks to this, you’ll reach potential customers interested in your offer. Moreover, it’ll also help Google understand your website and your business profile.

Well-optimized content will make it easier for robots to assign relevant search queries to specific subpages.

Search Intent Targeting and SEO Benefits – The Takeaway

Optimizing your content for relevant keywords matching specific search intent types can bring you various SEO benefits. Creating texts addressing various users’ needs and intents can help you:

  • Increase website traffic,
  • Reach better positions in the search results,
  • Decrease bounce rate,
  • Get more qualified leads,
  • Improve your conversion rate,
  • Attract more potential customers and expand the target group.

As you can see, the game is worth the candle. Thorough keyword research and analysis will allow you to achieve your goals and boost UX.

Are you still having a difficult time drafting content optimized for search intent? Consult our SEO experts today!

Jr SEO Specialist - Kasia

Jr SEO Specialist

A graduate of English Philology and Translation Studies who learned about SEO by accident while translating an article. At Delante since 2021. Apart from watching positions grow, she enjoys content tasks that give free rein to her imagination. On days off, she plays volleyball, walks her dogs, reads psychology books, and has fun analyzing translations of puns and poems.

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