Search Intent

Search intent is a significant influence for SEO, especially since Google shifted from answering questions to focusing on users’ search journeys in its search results.

Search journeys are based on user intent and context; so, in the case of Google, it considers whether or not the user has previously searched for this information in order to deliver results matching their position in the buyer journey.

Not only does Google show the most accurate search results this way, but it also helps lead the user down the path to conversion.

It’s helpful for the user, for Google, and businesses using search intent for SEO. But what exactly is search intent, and how does it connect businesses with the right users in search?

Search intent focuses on the current needs, wants, behaviors, and feelings of the user as they use search engines. Businesses can anticipate the user’s search intent based on search queries, which indicate their position in the buyer journey. For example, the search query “how do you create a spreadsheet” reveals the user is looking for information; whereas the search query “buy [brand] spreadsheet software” shows the user is ready to make a purchase.

Search intent is organized into three categories:
Informational, such as “how-to” searches
Transactional, such as “buy [product]”
Navigational, such as “[brand]”

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