What is Searcher Intent And How to Use it for SEO Success

What is Searcher Intent? And How to Use it for SEO Success

By Sophie Mitchell

What is Searcher Intent? And How to Use it for SEO Success

The words someone chooses when searching on Google are based on that user’s intent. Do they intend to look for information, are they looking for a specific brand or product, or do they intend to make a purchase? The words that form the searcher’s query will reflect their intent. Google understands what people are looking for and provides the most relevant results first based on search intent.

In this article, we’ll be talking about the different types of searcher intent, how to define them, and how to optimise your website for search intent. We will also look at the best way to measure search intent success. 

What is User search Intent?

Search intent is is a concept based on semantics. A “semantic” is the relationship between a word and the meaning combined. For example, if someone searches for  “how to make cookies,” or “bake cookies” they’re looking for “cookie recipes.”

It is for this reason that the old ways of stuffing pages with keywords you want to rank for no longer cuts it. Google has moved away from keyword matching to intent matching. So, as digital marketers, we must tailor our site’s content to match the intent of searchers so that we can rank higher on Google’s search results pages.

Types of search intent

There are 3 different types of search intent: informative, navigational and transactional.

Informational intent

Informative intent is when someone searches because they want information on a topic or specific thing. When you’re searching for information, it could be for a how-to article or a product review. Informational intent is the most common type of search and the top three results will often be what people are looking for.

This type of user could be categorised as in the awareness stage of the buyer funnel.


Navigational Intent

Navigational intent is when someone searches to find a specific product or service or web page that they were trying to find. For example, if someone was looking for garden furniture in the UK then they may type in “best garden furniture UK ” into Google, or people who search using a brand name, such as “Ikea garden furniture” are usually looking for the brand’s website. 

This type of user could be categorised as in the consideration stage of the buyer funnel.


Transactional Intent

Transactional search is when someone searches to purchase something online. This person has a particular need and is looking for one answer or solution. This is an indicator of transactional urgency, meaning the user is purchase-oriented.

This type of search may also include price comparisons and other related products. If they already know the product they want to buy, they will simply type that product name. 

This type of user could be categorised as in the conversion stage of the buyer funnel.

Search intent meaning


Summary of The Different Types of Search Intent 

Customer Intent

Stage of buyers’ journey 

Common keyword types

Informational Intent

Awareness stage

where, which, what, why, who, when, does, how, guide, tutorial, learn, examples, resource, ideas, tips

Navigational Intent

Middle of the funnel

review of [X]  or best [X]  or “brand name”, top, vs, cheap, comparison

Transactional Intent

Bottom of the funnel

buy, price, discount, sale, quote, cheap, expensive, recommendation, recommended, near me, firm, coupon, order, purchase, pricing

How to find keywords based on intent 

When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), understanding searcher intent is important. It will help you optimize your website for the right keywords and phrases that people are actually searching for.

You will want to aim to address the searcher’s question. If there’s a mismatch in what users expect versus what they find on the page they won’t stick around very long. For example, if a searcher lands on a product page after typing “how can I ____?” or they land on a blog post page after typing “____ for sale near me” they are unlikely to click your page URL, or if they do, chances are they will leave your website quickly, back to the Google’s search results page. 

Follow the process below to find keywords for each type of search intent, and optmise your websites’ page. 


  1. Using Google Search Console, you can export all queries users have used to find your website. Use the Performance tab to find these queries and export them to Google Sheets or Excel. 
Search intent tool


2. Filter your list of queries with the common keyword types e.g “where”, “what”, “how”, or “review”, “best”, “brand name”, or “buy”, “price”, and “sale” etc. 

Search intent optimization


3. Separate your keywords based on their intent.

Search intent examples


4. For additional information, copy & paste your queries into a tool such as Semrush, or Ahrefs to find the search volume and keyword difficulty of each keyword. These tools might also show you the keyword intent but from my experience, they are not always accurate. If you choose to skip the above steps and use a tool to find the queries’ intents, I would suggest double-checking the accuracy.  

Search intent SEM Rush


5. If you want to find the corresponding queries for a particular page you can do this in Google Search Console by filtering the performance report with that page’s URL.

Search intent using Google Search Console

How to optimise your website for search intent

Once you have a list of search queries for each type of intent, you can match them to your website’s pages. You can use these keywords to optimise your website in various ways:

  1.  Update meta titles
  2. Meta descriptions
  3. H1 heading and other header tags 
  4. On-page content 
  5. Image titles and alt text
  6. Blog posts – written with a certain intent in mind.

How to measure the impact of search intent 

The most obvious way to measure the impact of a page’s content is conversion rate. However, measuring site-wide conversions doesn’t tell us a lot of information. Because different pages will have different intents, they should be separated, or segmented by intent for a more accurate picture of performance in their own right.

Informational pages typically have the highest search volume, but we wouldn’t expect them to convert to sales as much as a page with transactional intent.

Pages can be segmented by intent using Google Analytics, Google Data Studio or Google Sheets. This will help you to make a better judgment on how a page is performing considering its wider impact.


Key Takeaway

If you want to rank higher in Google search results, it’s important to figure out what the searcher’s intent is. You can use this information to create content that aligns with those interests. Using tools such as Google Search Console, you can discover the queries searchers have used to find your website and categorise them among the 3 types of intent –  informational, navigational and transactional. This will help you to optimise page titles, descriptions, headings and other on-page content. 

Site-wide conversion rates don’t tell us enough about the performance of a page, instead, the impact of a page should be measured based on its intent.

Get in touch today to learn more about how you can optimise your website for the different types of searcher intent. 

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