search intent

A Basic Guide For Intent-Based Search



The way we search for things on the internet has evolved dramatically over time. The basic mechanics that we as searchers use have remained largely unchanged – the query is still there, as is the search engine.

The majority of the shift arose from what the search engine did after receiving the question, and it was most noticeable in the improved quality of the results we began to see in the early 2018’s. At least some of it can be attributed to Google’s increased perception of search intent.

However, search engines were not the only ones that had to respond to unique search intents. When selecting keywords, phrases, and even types of content to create, anyone who worked in search engine optimization and digital marketing has to adapt to this change. It can quickly become really overwhelming for someone who is unfamiliar with all of this. So let’s get started.

What Is The Meaning Of Search Intent?

When someone conducts a question – that is, when they use a search engine to look for something online – they have a justification for doing so. They want to accomplish something, whether it’s finding out what the weather will be like tomorrow, monitoring a sports game, purchasing a mobile phone, or determining which flowers are the best gift for which occasion.

This is called search intent. Since search intent is synonymous with user intent, it can be considered as the user’s reason for creating a question.

When you try to learn about search engines and how they operate, you’ll see that their task is to figure out what the user wants – the inspiration, the justification for the question – using only keywords and modifiers.

They’ll then show results – which are becoming progressively more varied than just a list of links – that represents the search engine’s best guess at what meets the user’s purpose.

This stops the searcher from switching to other search engines by making the results important to the searcher’s purpose. If you’ve ever wondered what makes Google such a successful search engine, one of the most important factors is its ability to evaluate and fulfill search intent.

What Are The Different Search Intent Types?

what are different search intent typesAlthough there is an infinite number of combinations of keywords and keyword modifiers – terms that help determine the search – there aren’t an infinite number of types of search intents. Most searches can be categorized into one of only four groups.

1. Intent To Find Information

When someone uses a search engine to look for specific information, their search purpose can be categorized as informative/knowledge. Keep in mind that “informational” is a wide category, as images of sky diving, videos of people sky diving, web pages with pictures, images of online gaming screenshots, and articles about the history of the country and its importance in today’s culture may all be served up to fit the keywords of the user.

The modifiers you use will determine the type of educational content you get. You can spice up your quest by using terms like:

  • Pizza tasty
  • Pizza Diet
  • Pizza cheese-less
  • Pizza best diet

If you type just “Pizza” into the search bar, however, search engines will typically return an endless list of recipes because they know that’s what people are searching for. That is something that search engines are getting better at every day.

2. Intentions For Navigational Search

When anyone conducts a search with the sole intent of accessing a specific website, web page, or service, this is referred to as navigational intent. They’re doing this so they can go to a specific website. When you search for “Amazon,” “Wikipedia,” the website you’re looking for will normally come up as one of the top results, if not the topmost.

You might come across the following navigational modifiers:

  • Please contact customer service or technical support.
  • Sign up or log in to learn more about us.

It’s best to stick to words that are relevant to your website when ranking for navigational search terms. There’s no point in attempting to rank for “Facebook SignUp” or anything similar.

3. Intent To Conduct Commercial Research

This is what people do when they’re looking to order products online, and it’s also known as a preferential commercial search motive. One of the fascinating ways people have been using the internet to make buying decisions is to go online to search for comparisons, feedback, and opinions on products before deciding whether or not to buy them.

The following are examples of searches that fall into this category:

  • Best phone for $700
  • Review of Mosquito bats
  • Apple vs Samsung
  • Adidas vs Reebok sports shoes

As you can see, there are a lot of “best,” “vs,” and “review” modifiers in this purpose category, but you’ll also come across the occasional locational keywords – names of cities or the ubiquitous “near me.” It’s also likely that this form of search would return results that include two or more product or service names.

4. Intent For Transactional Search

When people know exactly what they want and don’t want to waste time looking for more information or feedback, they’ll search to purchase a particular item, often from a specific location. Their search motive is transactional in this case which means they want to buy something online.

When people want to buy something, they will conduct searches like this:

  • Best salons in New York
  • Domino’s near me
  • Phone screen cover
  • Computer repair center

Typically, this kind of search would include the name of the product or service they wish to purchase. If the product or service is a generic term, they can use a branded keyword as a modifier to specify the product’s brand or a particular store where they want to buy it.

How To Apply What You’ve Learned

how to apply what you have learnedLet’s see what all of this means to you now that you know what search purpose is and why search engines need to be good at identifying and addressing it. If you have a website and want people to be glad they came, it’s unlikely that just matching the search term would work; you’ll also need to match the intent of the visitor.

Page Optimization

Then, to customize specific pages on your website, you can use a combination of modifiers and the keywords you want to rank with. The same website will appeal to visitors with a wide range of search intents that arrived via the same keyword, and in that case, optimizing for intent is critical.

If you’re selling food products, such as pizzas, you could create category pages for various types of pizzas, followed by product pages for each pizza individually. Then you should make sure these pages have appropriate keywords with transactional modifiers, as well as the sort of content people expect to see on category and product pages – photos and descriptions.

If the store has a blog, you can customize it for informative intent – but also commercial investigation if that’s the type of content you want to make. This means writing the right content – how-to posts, infographics, and even quizzes – and using the right keywords with the right modifiers.

Unless you’re optimizing for your brand and website, you’ll have a hard time optimizing for navigational purposes. When it comes to transactional search queries, the key could be to use search engine ads to supplement your digital marketing strategies. This type of search intent is highly profitable for online sellers.

Analysis Of The SERPs

You may have found that search engines do not show results in the same way for all queries. You’ll notice that the search engine shows different contents in different orders depending on the purpose. This is significant because it will assist you in formatting the material on your pages so that they rank higher.

Examine the top performers on various SERPs. See what they have in common and try to come up with some formatting guidelines that will help you get your content to the top. Examine the formatting of the featured snippet to see whether you can make any adjustments to your own material to make it more likely to appear in a snippet.

All of this should be part of your SEO digital marketing plan. An expert team should be consulted and hired with affordable link building services to perform this task for you. This way you can get good search engine ranking results in a short time rather than experimenting on your website.

Creating Content

Using a keyword analysis tool and keywords and search purpose modifiers is a surefire way to generate content ideas. This is a perfect way to get out of a bind if you’re having trouble coming up with blog topics. Looking up what people are looking up is the best way to come up with content ideas.

When considering the big picture, which involves content forms other than articles and tweets, make sure the content fits the intent. It must fit the style so that people with transactional intent are not directed to informative content.

Content must also adhere to the format that is most appropriate for that type of content – for example, a how-to for instructional content and product reviews for people who do a commercial investigation.

It should ideally have something spicier in the title, such as an adjective or two that communicate why people should look at that specific piece of material. It doesn’t have to be much; simply stating that something is quick, easy, or attractive will suffice. All you have to do is catch the eye and give the reader a reason to look at the content.

Final Words

Search engines, for the most part, are in the business of helping people find what they’re looking for. This may seem to be a simple task, but serving relevant results for a simple question is far from simple. To be effective, search engines must be able to comprehend why people are searching for something.

But search intent isn’t just important for search engines; it’s also important for everyone who wants to be found via a search engine query for every website. We have covered only the fundamentals of search intent, including the what, why, and at least a portion of the how.

Now it’s up to you to put it into action on your website. Or hire a reputable and highly recommended agency like UnderWP who is an expert in WordPress and Digital Marketing Services.

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Ariana Smith is a Marketing Manager at iDream Agency. She is passionate about Social Media and co-founder of Social Media Magazine.

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