What is User Search Intent? How is it Important?

01 May


Have you ever wondered how many times does a person use Google daily? According to a report by SmartInsights, Google processes over 40,000 search engine queries per second. This translates to over 3.5 billion searches on a daily basis and 1.2 trillion searches per year on a global level. And behind each search is something known as ‘user intent’. In this blog, we look at what is search intent, its types and why it’s so important.


Understanding Search Intent

Typically, any user goes to search something on Google with an intent in mind. This could be to search for a product, look up a service, get some information or find some answers to a problem. Doesn’t it then seem like a wise idea to base your content around this intent which can deliver what the user needs? User intent is simply a goal in mind while you type a query into Google’s search engine. 

Google Hummingbird can understand a user's search queries better. RankBrain with its machine algorithm can sort the search results, interpret, discern and deliver the precise content the user needs. When you optimize your content keeping the users in mind, there are higher chances of your website ranking on the first page of Google. 

Various Types of User Intent

There are essentially four types of search intent. Any online content you post must incorporate at least one of these intents if you want to improve your ranking in the search results.

  • Informational: 

This type of user intent is when a searcher is trying to gain more information about a specific topic. For example, googling the best internet service providers in your area. These are question-based covering who, where, when, why, what and how. From a company's perspective, try covering all these checkpoints in your content so when a user visits your webpage, they can convert to sales. 

Oliver Sissons, Reboot’s SEO manager, says: "It is worth remembering that even if no sales come as a result of your informational blog, if the content is providing something useful to readers, it will gain backlinks as other people choose to reference the content – whether this is in an article or blog, or via social media".

He adds, "Increased traffic coming to your website as a result of your social media campaigns and sharing your website or blog content on social can also have several knock-on effects when it comes to your SEO results. If you are putting out interesting and valuable content, high click-through rates are to be expected, which have been proven to have a positive effect on rankings."

  • Navigational:

A navigational query is when a user types a specific webpage or website in their search bar as an alternative to typing a full URL. For example, typing Twitter in your Google search query as the intent is to visit Twitter's website. These specific searches provide high-value traffic to your website and open up doors to getting listed with other businesses.

  • Commercial:

What do you do before you buy a product? You compare them with similar products and then choose the best one. This is what commercial user intent is about. For example, best phones under Rs.20,000. You can compare different products and you are at the end of your buying journey, almost ready to commit to one product. It is possible, after reading the commercial content, a user may type a transactional term, say, buy XX phone. 

  • Transactional:

This is the stage that follows the commercial intent stage – the end of the buyer’s journey where the intent is simply to buy whatever they have been searching for. The search results for this type of intent should only be e-commerce landing pages and not blog posts. For example, if you google ‘Adidas Ultraboost Running Shoes’ you will see results from companies like Adidas, Amazon, Myntra, Flipkart and so on selling this product – no informational blog posts. 

On the other hand, if you aren’t an e-commerce company you can design a blog post instead to get discovered and showcase your services to push the buyer along in their buyer’s journey. 

User intent differs from one person to the other and they are not at all mutually exclusive. This means what may start as an informational intent can turn to a transactional intent. You may start off wanting information on a topic and by the end of the blog post want to enroll for that particular service. This is how a brand should develop their content which can make the readers engage and build a relationship. 

What Influences User Content?

It is helpful to incorporate at least one user intent to create your content for the readers. However, try as you might, it may not always be possible to know what their intent is. So, a good starting point can be to check out Google Search Console and click onto the 'performance' tab and ensure 'Queries' is selected on that page. This helps you know the informational intent of your website's visitors and you can use it to your benefit to curate content accordingly.

Besides, you can look up keywords that your competitors are targeting in their content strategy. When you create content that resonates with your readers, it gives you higher odds and the likelihood that they may share it on their social media platforms. So, spend a good amount of time to get into your audience’s mind as it will definitely bear fruit in the long run.

Key Takeaways

To conclude, search intent analysis can help a company decide what content to publish which can help them get discovered and improve their rankings. It can allow them to accompany customers in their buyer’s journey, bring them closer to the brand and ultimately increase the search engine results page (SERP) conversion rate. 

You need a smart SEO and content strategy that is built around the keywords your audience is typing in Google. We at illuminz can help you build successful digital marketing campaigns that can not only improve your website traffic but also lead to higher rankings. 

Give us a call today and we would be happy to discuss your business requirements with you.