Search Intent and How to Optimize for It

President & CEO at B&FPS
Daniel is a Search Marketing Consultant with 20+ years of expertise in Search Engine Optimization and Brand Development. He has a Master’s (MS) in Interactive Technology from the University of Alabama, a Bachelor’s (BPA) in Public Administration from Barry University, General Business from the University of Michigan-Flint School of Management; specializations from the University of Michigan, professional development from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, and is a proud Belen Wolverine!
Daniel P. Borbolla
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If you’re looking for a quick and easy guide to understanding search intent for SEO, you’re in the right place. We’re going to look at some search intent strategies to help you make the most out of your SEO campaigns.

What is Search Intent?

Search intent is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of just focusing on words, you’re trying to understand the meaning — or true intention — behind those words.

Think about how you usually phrase a search in Google. You phrase it a certain way because you’re after a specific type of result, right? So, the result you’re after is the true intention behind your search, not the particular search terms you used to obtain that result.

How Do I Find Search Intent?

When it comes to search intent analysis, you should look to Google. After all, they know everything there is to know about what people are searching for.

The first thing to look at are the search engine results pages (SERPs), which you can do on your own by simply performing a search on the keyword you intend to target. Look at the top organic results that show up and see if their content matches up with what you’ve written (or plan on writing).

Doing this will show you the primary intention for that keyword as these are the results chosen by users the most. Ideally, you’ll want to show up at the very top of the search results, preferably in position 0 (featured snippets area).

There’s a way to derive value from Google Ads without having to spend a cent! You can learn more about search intent by finding out how expensive a keyword is via Google Ads because if it’s costly, chances are that it’s also highly searched for as well.

Finally, take a look at your own analytics. If your website’s SEO is built to match the underlying search intent, users will stick around much longer and not bounce out, which signals to Google that your website is relevant and should be positioned higher in the SERPs.

What is Search Intent in SEO?

When it comes to selecting the right keywords to target in your SEO, make sure you figure out what the true search intent is first.

If you know that most people searching use a certain keyword phrase to locate and purchase a product or service, you should go about building and optimizing that page around that main keyword and any associated supplementary terms to better assist them in accomplishing their goal.

Following this process allows you to base your SEO efforts around the needs of your target audience, and in turn, improve your overall rankings in Google and the other search engines because you’re finding and using the keywords that match the true intention behind the search.

What Are the Types of Searches?

There are three main searches that users perform: informational, navigational or transactional:

Informational searches allow users to find out more about a specific topic. Search terms might include phrases like ‘how to’, ‘what are’, etc.

Navigational searches help users find places, whether it’s a traditional brick-and-mortar location or virtually-based.

Transactional searches allow users to find what they intend to purchase. Common search terms might include a phrase like ‘buy’, followed by the name of the product or service.


While search intent targeting may take on several different forms, it’s an extremely valuable tool to have in your website’s SEO arsenal.

Building your website with search intent in mind helps add structure, organization and relevance to your content, which in turn results in higher quality site visits and longer session durations. The more search engines see that your content aligns with what the audience wants, the more you’ll get recommended in the organic search results.

For more information, you can always YouTube ‘search intent’ to find videos that’ll visually walk you through implementing this strategy step-by-step.

We hope you learned something today about search intent. Visit our blog for more articles and subscribe to learn more about search engine marketing!