The alternative SEO rank tracker

Search intent: definition and types that Google understands

Search intent | 

Marketing always tries to find out what the needs and expectations of potential customers and customers are in order to offer them better products and services, and thus, increase sales, attract new customers, improve its brand image and obtain better results from its loyalty actions.

Digital marketing pays special attention to search intention as it is an element that allows us to know what users are looking for on Google. By identifying the search intent of the users, a better SEO strategy can be established to optimize the website and capture all those users for what they are looking for.

Table of content

What is search intent?

Keyword intent or search intent is the goal that a user pursues when performing a search on Google. Nowadays Google does not use keywords as isolated elements but rather uses search intention when classifying websites in its ranking, as in this way it can offer results to users of higher value and closer to what they are looking for.

Matching a page to the user’s search intent is synonymous with SEO success today.

Finding the search intent may seem like an easy task at first since it is enough to find answers to the questions that users ask to carry out their searches. Nothing is further from the truth, since defining search intent is a complex process in which many factors intervene.

It is easier to see how difficult it is to define search intent with an example:

Let’s imagine a search carried out by a user and that is as follows: “strawberry cake”. How do we define the intention that the user has with this search? Do you want access to strawberry cake recipes? Do you want to find an online bakery that sells strawberry cakes? Or are you just looking for the album of a musical group called Strawberry Shortcake?

Types of search intent for Google

Search intent can be divided into different types or groups.

Know or informative search

They are searches that the user performs when he wants to find information on a specific topic. For example, when the user wants to find a series or movie, they go to the Google search engine and enter a keyword (usually long-tail) to see the recommendations they offer.

Google analyzes this type of Know search to offer the user the results that best suit that intention, offering the alternatives and the most appropriate format according to their criteria. In the case of the series or movies search, it will show results of different alternatives in a rich format, to provide greater value to the user.

Informational or commercial research search

They are the type of searches that are carried out when you intend to buy an item or hire a service, but the purchase decision has not yet been made because much more information is needed.

For example, if a search of the style “the best mobile phones of 2021” is carried out, the user will want to buy a smartphone, but still needs to do research to select the model or terminal that he finally acquires.

Do or transactional search

This type of search is carried out by users at the moment they have made the decision to buy a product or hire a service . Users who carry out this type of search are about to buy a product, which is why they are one of the most important search intentions for eCommerce or online businesses.

Website or navigational search

These searches are carried out by users when they already know the URL of the site they want to access, but it is more convenient for them to enter their name in Google and for it to directly offer the link to the site.

For example, if a user wants to read the news of the newspaper El Mundo, instead of entering the URL in the address bar, he puts in the Google search engine “El Mundo” and accesses directly from the link that provides the finder.

Mixed search intent

Although we have defined different types of search intent, in most cases, users perform searches where they combine different intentions. For example, a user has decided to buy a certain item (transactional search intent) but performs a search on the item on Google with the name of a certain store (informational).

How important is search intent to Google?

Google has proposed to show users the most relevant results of their searches. For this reason, its algorithm focuses as a priority on analyzing search intention in order to understand what users really need, and thus find the best alternatives to offer them in its database of websites.

If a website is optimized for certain search intent, Google will end up recommending it as a priority to users who perform that type of search.

Search intent is also very important for SEO for the following reasons:

  • Attract quality traffic to the website. The users who arrive will be interested in the content, products or services that the web offers.
  • Reduce the bounce rate and increase the average dwell time. Users who access according to search intent will not bounce at the first change to other pages and will stay longer when finding content that is of interest to them.

How to create content based on search intent?

Here are some interesting points when writing or creating content according to the search intent of users.

Analyze search intent over time

Search intent does not remain static but varies over time. Performing an analysis of a specific moment of the SERPs does not have great value to identify the true search intention of the users, it is necessary to resort to the search history and analyze its evolution over time.

With tools such as Keywords Explorer of the SEO platform Ahrefs, studies of search intention can be carried out by selecting a period of time. If the fluctuations are not important, it means that the search intention is correct.

Take advantage of trends or opportunities

To create content taking advantage of current search intentions that are trending (due to a certain event or because it is a certain date, for example), you can use the free tool Google Trends.

From this platform, you can access keyword searches and view information at a global, national or local level, on the number of searches generated. This information provided is current and from a previous period of time, thus being able to carry out a deeper and more precise study of the search intent.

The tool also suggests related keywords that are experiencing a high volume of traffic right now, which can be a great alternative for content creation.

Adopt common search intent formats

It is common for users to ask certain questions when conducting their searches on Google. When creating content, embracing these types of formats is a good alternative to align the keywords used with the search intent of the users.

Some examples of these types of formats are.

  • Questions like “How to do …” or “How much does it cost …”.
  • Comparisons between articles, concepts, devices, etc. “iPhone vs Galaxy” or “Amazon Web Services vs Microsoft Azure”, for example.

Find questions to answer

For informational search intentions, the best way to align the search intent with the content to be created is by finding questions to answer.

Once the questions have been selected, it is necessary to carry out keyword research to choose the appropriate keywords that answer those questions. Those keywords will be the base where to build the content so that it is aligned with the search intention.

Write quality content

The best way to write content to match search intent is to create high-quality content. The texts must be focused on offering really useful information to the user, and not optimized to improve their web positioning.

In this way, by implementing good content, it will be possible to match the needs and search intent of the users.

In SEO, it is a mistake to be obsessed with optimizing everything with search engines in mind, even if the word itself indicates otherwise ( Search Engine Optimization ). Today’s SEO should focus on the user experience and bet on search intention is the ideal way to offer users what they are really looking for.

Understanding how users search on Google is essential to be able to tailor content and align it with search intent. In this way, Google will end up offering that content on its results pages by considering it really relevant.