What is Search Intent in SEO, and Why is it Essential?

February 1, 2022 What is Search Intent in SEO, and Why is it Essential? By Gaurav Madan

The term “Search Intent” has been tossed around lately in the digital marketing and SEO industry. Many marketing companies claim it to be the Holy Grail of any campaign, thus, aiming to exploit its power for the highest rankings, high-quality traffic, and qualified leads. But unfortunately, many inexperienced businesses and marketers, who just have started their expedition, often stumble upon this term but fail to leverage its capabilities correctly.

This article will elucidate the phenomenon of search intent, its types, and why they are imperative for on-page SEO. So, without further ado, let’s start by defining what search intent is!

What is Search Intent?

Search intent is why someone has performed a search on Google in the first place. When breaking this term, the word ‘Search’ means looking for information on the internet and the word ‘intent’ means what purpose/motive a person has or what they intend to do. When combined, this term is used to analyze and understand the mental state of a searcher at any given time. It’s usually expressed in a user’s search query, and it has a massive impact on the relevance and quality of search results.

For example, if someone searches for “digital marketing agencies in New York City,” that’s their search intent. They might be looking for informative content to help them choose the right online marketing agency for their business. On the other hand, a person searching for “red shoes” might want to buy a pair of red shoes, but also might be seeking fashion advice about famous red-shoe wearers. Someone who searches for a “Prada purse” might be looking for an image of a specific purse, or they might be looking to buy one.

Though search engines try to help the user by providing autocomplete and other suggestions, the user’s actual intent is what matters most. Your SEO company can help you identify the types of search intent and exercise them in your SEO plan to target your content for better rankings and conversions.

Importance of Search Intent in Search Engine Optimization

The key to successful on-page search engine optimization (SEO) is understanding your target audience and creating content that will satisfy their needs and answer their questions. And this is where search intent jumps into. It reveals the searcher’s motivation for performing a search, thereby helping the marketer understand the goals behind the performed queries. Doing so will help you optimize your page for search engines and write content that effectively addresses their needs and queries.

Remember, the best search results are the ones that give the user what they’re looking for fast. That’s why it is of most importance to figure out your target audience’s search intent correctly when creating your SEO and content marketing strategies. The better you can put yourself in your searcher’s shoes, the more likely you will have top SERP rankings, successful conversions, and a high conversion rate.

If not familiarized with the nitty-gritty of keyword intent, consider working with a reputed SEO and marketing company experienced in targeting the searchers and their intent.

Four Primary Types of Search Intent

The intent is an essential aspect of online searches, and each search phrase is a clue to what searchers want. It’s what separates good SEO from bad, and without it, you’re just guessing. One of the biggest mistakes that most online marketers make is to write content that is relevant to only one intent. When that intent changes, so does your content. If your visitors have new intent and your content isn’t relevant to their needs, they’ll go elsewhere. The main four different types of search intents that you should be aware of are:

  • Informational – If Searches Need Data or Particular Details

Informational searches occur when someone wants information about a topic or concept and looks for answers to specific questions. For instance, if a user enters a simple question like “why hire a digital marketing agency” this is an informational query.

In this particular search query, the user is interested in reading the benefits of hiring a marketing agency and needs relevant information. Such searches are often answered by content, although some informational queries can be satisfied by rich results and videos. In general, informational searches don’t lead directly to purchases since users want background information before making any decision.

  • Navigational – If Searches Want To Reach a Certain Page

Navigational searches occur when someone wants to get to a specific webpage. They might know the exact URL or just the website name. Either way, this type of search is satisfied with direct links in rich and organic results. The searcher may have previously visited your site, or they may have heard about it from other sources like social media or an ad campaign (or both).

The purpose behind this search is to find a page or link on your site that will take them where they are targeted. For example, if searchers are interested in going somewhere specific, like your products or support pages.

  • Transactional – If Searchers Are Looking for Information to Take Action

Transactional searches occur when people seek information related to completing an action or online transaction that’s important to them, such as paying bills or renewing your driver’s license. This type of search intent reflects an active, strong desire to buy on the part of the user who is searching. Transactional audience queries are often time-sensitive and usually conducted for quick solutions and are very likely to convert. This is excellent SEO because it means that your SEO Company has an opportunity to capture a lead. With an action-oriented audience, you can be more aggressive with your on-page SEO. In addition, having high-quality products and services can help you rank higher in this category.

  • Commercial – If Searchers Want to Find Brands and Products

Commercial intent users want to find a trusted vendor and purchase something as quickly as possible. It means that they’re not interested in reading about your company culture or mission statement. They just want to see relevant products and pricing information. Make sure that your site gives users what they need quickly, so they can get on with making a purchase.

Difference between Transactional Intent and Commercial Intent

There’s a misconception that commercial and transactional queries are the same thing and can be used interchangeably. However, that’s not the case!

Commercial intent keywords are usually short, as the searcher is in a rush and therefore less likely to spend too much time on the page. Conversely, in transactional queries, people search for a service that will take longer, such as booking an appointment or making reservations. In addition, these searches have longer keyword phrases, which leads to more time spent on the page.

Commercial keywords have a lower conversion rate, while transactional keywords generally have a higher conversion rate.

Tips to Optimize for Search Intents

So, how do you know what your visitors’ intents are and what activities you can perform to get measurable results? Well, that’s where keyword research comes in. As with anything else in SEO, keyword research gives you the information you need to make informed decisions about creating and marketing digital content. Your SEO & digital marketing company can use a combination of on-page SEO tactics to help you rank for multiple types of search intent.

Some methods include:

1) Adding in keywords that are related but not as popular. For example, if you’re trying to rank for “SEO Company Los Angeles,” you’re going to want to add in “California” and “Los Angeles, California” throughout your content.

2) Adding in long-tail keywords. As an example here, instead of trying to rank for “Phoenix,” you might try to rank for keywords like “Phoenix digital agency” or “SEO Company Phoenix.”

3) Incorporating synonyms into your content. For example, instead of using the words or terms “digital marketing,” you can use the word “online marketing.”

4) Incorporating rhetorical questions into your content. For example, instead of writing something like, “How is New York City?” you might say something like, “Is New York City a great place to live?”

5) Including common misspellings and typos in your content. If people search for a keyword that includes a typo or a misspelling, your page will be eligible to rank for this search query.


Search intent is one of the three pillars of on-page search engine optimization. The other two are keyword research and content optimization. Search intent refers to why users land on your page after performing a search query. There’s a broad category of search queries, and one must know different types of search intentions because they will help them better optimize their site.

Keep in mind that people don’t land on a page looking for something specific; they land there with a particular goal in mind, like buying shoes or reading an article. Knowing your users’ needs and desires allows you to deliver what they’re looking for when they arrive at your site. In this way, you can provide value for your visitors, so they convert into leads for your business or customers for your business. If you can help them with what they are looking for, they will turn into lead generation prospects and paying customers. So, take the first step toward your brand’s online growth and success by determining the intent of your keywords and potential customers!

Contact us today reliable digital marketing & SEO company in Phoenix, New York City, or Los Angeles that can help you use the search intent concept in your SEO efforts!


Gaurav Madan

About Author

Gaurav is working on various verticals like IT & Software Solutions | Digital Marketing | E-Commerce | BPO | Outsourcing | Offshoring | Global Deliveries | Exports | Education. Gaurav believes in CHANGE, which is constant throughout the LIFE so be with the CHANGE Gaurav is having, In-depth experience in IT Solutions, Offshoring, Internet Branding, Sales & Marketing, Managing New Projects & Processes, Solution Designing and Transitioning of New International and Domestic business engagements. Proficient at managing & leading teams to run successful operations & experienced in developing procedures, service standards, client satisfaction using standard frameworks for business excellence.

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