This post may contain affiliate links, I receive a small commission if you make a purchase with this link.

Stand Out in SEO: The Art of Mastering Search Intent

Do you know what search intent is and why understanding a user’s intent can improve your content creation? In this article, I’ll answer those questions and explain how search intent can enhance the user experience, boost conversion rates, and improve search rankings.

As a blogger or website owner, understanding a user’s search intent is crucial to creating content that meets their needs and provides value. By understanding what users are searching for and why, you can create blog articles that address their specific queries and interests, increasing the chances of your content being found, shared, and engaged with.

Table of Contents on Search Intent

Definition of Search Intent

Let’s first define what we mean by search intent.

Search Intent

The reason behind the user’s query when searching for content online.

It includes the following:

  • purpose
  • motivation
  • expected outcome

from conducting a search query.

Your content needs to match the user’s search intent to successfully answer the user’s query.

Purpose of the Query

Understanding the purpose of the query will help you understand how to answer it correctly. For instance, a user searches for “What is SEO?”. There is no point trying to sell them an SEO tool because the user doesn’t even know what SEO is. This query can be answered by providing basic information on what SEO is and why it is important.

Motivation for the Query

Perhaps the user wants to educate themselves or determine if a product or service is suitable for them. Maybe they have already made a decision to buy and are just choosing the best option. By understanding their search intent, you can clarify their motivation, helping you answer the underlying reason for their search.

Expected Outcome of the Query

What does the user gain in the end? Do they learn something new? Confirm or disprove an assumption? Or decide to buy a product or service, whether now or later?

Types of Keywords

Depending on how you categorise keywords you could come up with many different types. For this article I am going to discuss five different type of keywords based on searcher intent.

  • Informational keywords — searchers looking for an answer to a specific question or general information.
  • Navigational keywords — searchers intending to find a specific site, page or service
  • Research / Educational / Investigative – searching looking for more detailed information on a topic
  • Commercial keywords — searchers looking to investigate brands or services.
  • Transactional keywords — searchers intending to complete an action or purchase.

Searcher intention is an important topic to learn about. Crafting your content around searcher intent provides the right kind of information to your readers.

Let’s examine each type and include a few examples to make it clear.

Generally you can think of these search intents in terms of a sales funnel. At the top we have the most general type of intent and then more focused and purposeful as we go further down the funnel.

sales funnel

1. Informational Search Intent

This type of search intent is when a user is looking for information on a specific topic or question. They may want to learn more about a particular subject, research a specific term or concept, or find answers to a question they have.

Informational queries show that the user seeks information, clarification, guidance, or troubleshooting solutions.

man thinking

Satisfy these type of Informational queries by writing the following content:

Informational content can bring a high volume of visitors but with low sales. That’s because visitors are not looking to buy they are looking for information. Later on, after they have informed themselves sufficiently, they may want to buy.

It’s still important to target these keywords though. People prefer buying from someone they know or someone they trust. By writing educational content for your potential customers you will become trusted.

You can beat your competitors by gaining trust in advance of any sales. Once a regular reader of your site makes the decision to buy you become the obvious choice.

Create Educational Content to Answer Informational Queries

For bloggers create educational content to answer informational search intent queries.

Build a library of educational content that’s suitable for beginners in your niche. When you create content for different search intents, you can link back to your educational content.

Establish yourself as an authority in your niche and build trust with potential clients by explaining, in a non-salesy way, different topics and subjects relevant to your niche.

In can be difficult to rank for topics with an informational search content as these keywords are typically 1- 3 words in length and highly competitive.

Example Keywords That Show Search Intent

  • Keto diet
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Crypto currency
  • Calories in coconut oil

Google results pages often contain panels and boxes that answer this type of query. Even if you rank on the first page of Google you may not get the traffic you were expecting.

calories in coconut oil
Google Search Engine Results page for “calories in coconut oil”

Google has answered the query “calories in coconut oil” so no need to click on any links. Be careful when writing content that can be easily answered or you could waste a lot of time and effort without getting the results you had hoped for.

Create educational content for your niche

2. Research / Educational / Investigative Search Intent


The user has a basic understanding of a topic or subject and are looking to learn more and get a deeper understanding.

Users with this type of search intent are, or may be:

  • Actively investigating a service or product
  • Conducting pre-purchase research
  • Deciding on whether a service or product is right for them
  • Getting a deeper understanding of the topic or subject
  • Guidance on making a future purchasing decision

Here are some example searches so you can recognize these types of searches.

Product Research:

  • “Best laptop brands under $500”
  • “Top smartphones with 4G LTE support”
  • “Review of Dyson V8 Animal vacuum cleaner”

Service Comparisons:

  • “Cheap flights vs expensive flights: which one is worth it?”
  • “Private versus public schools: pros and cons”
  • “Online shopping vs in-store shopping: advantages and disadvantages”

Fact-finding Missions:

  • “History of coffee consumption around the world”
  • “Causes and effects of climate change”
  • “How does artificial intelligence work?”

These searches indicate that the user is actively looking for detailed information and analysis to help guide their decisions.

Use this search intent to provide more detailed information and focus on topics and subjects for your niche. Readers are looking for and expecting greater detail on a topic.

You will likely target long tail keywords for these articles as you are writing about more niche content.

Delve deeper into a topic and provide more information than educational content

3. Navigational Search Intent

navigational intent

This type of search intent is when a user is looking to navigate to a specific website or page. They may already know the name of the website they want to visit, but need help finding it or want to ensure they have the correct URL.

Here are some examples:

  • Organic food online shopping
  • Yoga studios open on Mondays near me
  • Walmart pharmacy hours
  • Tesla website
  • Nearest taxi rank
  • Samsung customer service
  • British Airways flight status
  • Twitter API

Navigational is not limited to finding the physical location of a service or product, it can also mean where is the location of the website.

People who use this type of search already know the product, brand or service they want. They just need to know where it is.

Be aware that a search for another brand or website, even if you rank highly, will not help you. User’s are looking for that specific website or company.

4. Commercial Search Intent

Commercial keywords means a searcher is looking for particular product and service. They may not have decided on the product yet but are definitely interested.

Examples are:

  • Free keyword research tools
  • WordPress vs Weebly
  • Best SEO service
  • Cheap keyword tracker
  • Wix review

These keywords can be profitable to target. The user is definitely interested in a product or service but hasn’t decided to purchase yet.

Answering any issues a potential customer would have in advance can help them make the decision to purchase.

5. Transactional Search Intent

online buyer

Keywords that suggest imminent action by the user.


  • Buy running shoes online
  • Chinese restaurants near me
  • PS4 for sale

If you write content for transactional keywords you don’t need to do much persuading. Users have a clear intent to buy, you just need to persuade them to buy from you.

You should expect Google Ads to appear for these types of keywords. These keywords are likely highly competitive and will be difficult to rank for.

Search Intent: Buyer Keyword List

What words specifically indicate a strong intent by the user to buy?

Using these keywords will help you find buyers who are ready to make an immediate purchasing decision.

  • Buy [product]
  • Where to buy [product]
  • [product] discount
  • [product] deal
  • [product] prices
  • [product] sale
  • Best [product] [year]
  • [product] to buy

Software Tools that Help with Search Intent

Use keyword research tools to help you identify search intent. Most good keyword research tools will indicate the search intent of a keyword for you.

se ranking - search intent column
SE Ranking – keyword research report (fourth column shows search intent)

Other metrics in a keyword research report can be helpful in gauging intent:

  • Monthly search volume
  • Competition
  • Ad bid prices
  • Keyword difficulty

Keywords with ads are more likely to be transactional. High monthly search volume keywords are more likely to be informational.

Less competitive keywords are more likely to be research intent queries.

Final Thoughts on Search Intent

Thanks for reading! Here’s a quick recap:

Use search intent to achieve the following:

  • Attract new visitors
  • Engage existing readers
  • Nurture long term relationships with your readers
  • Move visitors down your sales funnel

If you found this article helpful, please consider sharing it with your network by using the social media sharing buttons below. Thanks for your support!

SE Ranking Banner

Leave a Comment