User Intent: Understanding How People Search

July 27, 2021
Posted in Marketing
July 27, 2021 Mehr Jan

When we talk SEO, we have to understand and look into the various paradigms. It does not come easy. But when you want your site to rank, you need to have various factors coming together. One is knowing and mastering user intent.

This basically relates to how people are actually searching. You need to have  a good understanding on what is the search intent. It is basically relating to the main goal a user is having when he or she is actually pointing out a query.

SEO is your effort to get more traffic onto your website. And you do so when you are getting a high ranking on Google. You want people to come to your site and this means you need to optimize your content so that viewers will notice and make a move. And user intent plays a major role in this regard.

Now let’s get into the details of what search intent is and how we can optimize our articles for the same.

What is User Intent?

understanding what users are searching for

This is also called and known as search or audience intent. This basically relates to how people will be doing their online search. Whenever someone is planning to get on the web, they have some thought in mind already as to how they plan to do so. It is that simple.

You need to know what is it you are planning to search for and this is the user’s intent. It is a key element of SEO rand needs to be in complete focus and in usage to make a strong impact.

The user intent is the main element of the user’s journey to explore and then make the final purchase. Google has been working hard throughout the years to make its algorithm strong and understand how people’s search intent is taken care of.

It is important to understand that this user intent also plays as a major criteria in Google’s algorithm. Google is all about ranking the pages better that are falling into the proper search term and fit the bill when it comes to a specific search query.

So now you would know how important it is that your content has to fit and fall into a specific user intent search. Only when it is popular and hot in the market, will you be able to make an understanding on how it should be. And only then can you create a strong content marketing plan.

Moving on, let’s now look into the major search intents.

Types of Search Intent

So to make it easy for you to understand and ensure you have a good hold on how search intent actually works, let’s now talk about the four major types of search intent. This will help you to analyze and organize your content according to different categories. Let’s see what these are:


This is one of the most common kinds. It is basically when you have many searches being made on the internet. It is simply done so when people are just looking for some information. The information is not as detailed and it can be about anything like the weather, education of children, SEO details and anything else.

However what makes it distinctive is that whoever is doing this search, has a general topic in mind as to what they want to search about. The user intent is either to get some general information or to have the answers to a specific question in mind.

What leads to User Intent ?

Now when you see a specific search on the internet, there are actually various factors that come into play. Through the years, Google has been working tirelessly to perfect its paradigm. And in order to do so, it is smart as it is able to differentiate and understand how the search is being specific.

For example, when someone searches for ravioli, Google would right away understand that the person wants to have the recipe for ravioli. And is not looking for the history of how ravioli is made. This is the Google smarts that is coming into play. Not just that, Google also has a good handle to include images and videos where it deems fit.

It all falls into the realm of making it interesting. Google wants to make it interesting for the users. And to do so, it makes an effective effort to make sure that it is ranking sites which are giving them all that they need.

Navigational Intent

Now let’s talk about the other kind. This type is a little more specific that the first kind because in this, the users do have a specific site in mind. They wish to visit a website. Example for someone who is searching Twitter on the search engine is either wanting to create a Twitter account or wishes to visit one.

When it comes to getting a high rank for such kind of navigational sites, it is mainly through the organic traffic you will be getting. One thing you need to be sure of knowing the kind of search intent it is catering to. If someone is looking for Google Analytics plugin, will not be able to find the very specific type mentioned if they just put Google Analytics.

With time, it is is becoming essentially to keep the search focused and committed. We will now hit on and talk about the third kind which is the transactional.

Transactional Intent

This kind is the one which is basically focusing on a specific agenda. You are doing search on the internet with the intention to actually make a purchase. There are lots of people on the internet who are surfing through the same but are doing so because they don’t want to just kill time, however they want to make a specific purchase. They will be buying something off the internet.

Commercial Investigation

So the third kind is the one in which the purpose is basically to make a purchase in the near future. It is when you have the intention to make a research, look into all the best possibilities and options out there and then making an informed decision.

It is more or less like transactional intent but you will be taking some more time and need a little more research to convince the kind of purchase you will be making soon.

And now you have a fairly good understanding and idea on how this all relates and comes together. Moving forward, I want to hit upon and focus on how keyword intent plays a major role in the whole process.

The Role of Keyword Intent

analyzing keyword intent

This means the kind of keywords you are using in your search queries. They are what gives insights into what user intent means. What you are actually typing into the search bar is making the major difference. With the advancement of the world, and having to create a strong presence on the internet, it is important that you analyze how crucial it is that the keywords fall into the right position.

If you are typing random words coming together, they won’t give you the results as focused or specific as the keywords which are intent-specific.

Now to give you a fair idea on how Google is categorizing and ranking these words, I will list down the most common ones for all types of user intent searches.

Transactional Intent Keywords

It includes words like:

  • buy
  • deal
  • mega deal
  • discounts
  • offers
  • mega win
  • specific product names

Informational Intent Keywords

This includes these common keywords:

  • information
  • how to
  • best way to
  • why
  • this is how
  • getting to know

Optimize Your Content for User Intent

So now you have a fair idea and understanding as to how user intent comes into play. It is one of the most important SEO factors. It is critical to ensure you are getting a high ranking. When we talk about user intent, it allows Google to understand why someone is on the search engine. This allows for them to make better algorithms as to how Google ranking comes into effect.

Sometimes it can become hard for you to understand what kind of search intent is coming from the user. And also different users are making use of different intents, yet land on the same page.

These are minor concerns which can be looked into and handled better in time. Also you can known about the user intent if you just ask your audience how they landed on the page. This is where surveys come into the picture and are actually quite useful.


In today’s world when everyone is so busy in their work, it works great if you are able to understand how certain users and viewers are landing on your site and page. Google algorithms is paying close attention to user intent. And when you are able to make an informed framework and understand how people browse and make shopping choices, you will be able to serve the user better.

It is always better to know the intent so as to serve the users in a much better and well-informed way.

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