Digital Marketing Services

Blog Detail

Search Intent – Deliver content based on site visitor intent

If you want to rank in Google this year, you need to create content that aligns with the search intent of the people looking for solutions online.

Google is constantly updating its algorithms to return the best possible result based upon the search intent of someone looking for an answer.

These days, it’s critical if you want to rank in search results, to keep search intent in mind when you’re creating content for your site.

Search intent needs to become the most important factor around which you build your SEO strategy.


Don’t believe me? Take a look at this:


An example:  a 677% increase in organic traffic to one of ahrefs core landing pages in just six months!

How did they do it? They made small changes to the page to bring it in line with search intent.


OK, this is good, but what does it mean to you?  Let’s dive in and learn about search intent.


What is search intent?


Search intent is the reason for a search happening.  The person typing a search query into a search engine or anywhere else online has a need, desire, or want that they need to have satisfied.

Are they looking for information?  Are they wanting to Learn Something?  Do they want to buy something? Are they looking for a specific place?

Search intent is the motivation for an action online.


Why does search intent matter?


Google wants to be the go to search engine that delivers the most accurate and relevant search results to searchers

If you look at Google, it’s not difficult to see that they go out of their way to return the best results and guide people towards finding the right answer by giving alternatives and suggestions in each returned result.

Their success relies upon them doing this and doing it well.

Does anyone remember Bing?  It doesn’t do very well at giving results like Google, which is probably why no-one really uses them anymore.

Google is top dog when it comes to search and paid ads.  They’ve built a monopoly and for a good reason.  It works!


Why does it matter?


If you want to rank in Google, you’ll have to create content that is the most relevant answer to a person’s search query.

That doesn’t mean that you can keyword stuff any page and hope to rank.  That’s not going to happen!

Let’s say for instance you write an article about the best trainers for marathon runners.  You’ll have to create content that answers the query 100%. 

Not only that, you’ll have to describe in detail why your choice is best, have comparisons, features, benefits and lots of content to satisfy the searcher.

That means, your content must be relevant to their search and deliver the answers they seek.


There are four types of search intent




The person posting the query is looking for information.  It could be something simple like the name of a person, the background of a person, or simply the name of the president in a country.

Depending on the query, you may have to provide more information – for example, who is the Queen of England will only require a name, but a query like how to build a tool-shed will require a lot more information with how to videos, material lists and required tools.

Not all informational searches will be in the form of questions.


Examples of different informational searches include:


  • “who is ……..?”
  • “[Location]… directions”
  • “Putin”
  • “soccer scores”
  • “WordPress”




The person is looking for a website.  They know where they’re going, but don’t want to waste time typing the whole site URL into the address bar.  It’s quicker and easier to Google it because Google pre-empts search terms and can complete search terms while you type.


Examples of navigational searches:


  • “Twitter”
  • “SEMRush”
  • “Ubersuggest Blog”
  • “Instagram login”




The searcher wants to buy something. They know what they want and are intent on finding it. They’re looking for a supplier to buy from.


Examples of transactional search queries:


  • “Buy HP Proliant Server”
  • “Elementor Pro Pricing”
  • “iPhone New”
  • “Eset Home Security Price”


Commercial Investigation


A person is considering a purchase of a product/service but hasn’t made a final decision about the solution that’s right for them.

What they’re probably looking for are reviews and comparisons. They’re still looking at options.


Examples of commercial investigations:


  • “best vacuum cleaner”
  • “aweber vs mailchimp”
  • “SEMRush reviews”
  • “Best Nail Salon in Idaho”


The last search in the above bullet list is one to note.  Many people look for products and services from local suppliers.  People want instant gratification and also don’t want to travel too far to get what they want.

If you’re a business that serves your local area, be sure to include as many local search terms into your SEO strategy to attract all of those customers closest to you.

Other terms to include in your strategy: “[your service/product] near me,” “cheapest

in [location],” etc.


How to infer search intent


Often search intent is obvious from the way a query is structured.

For example, take the keyword “buy trainers” It’s clear that the searcher wants to buy trainers (transactional). On the other hand, if someone searches “how to bake a cake” they are looking for a recipe or video to show them (informational).

Keyword tools like SEMRush and WordTracker allow you to filter keyword results by search intent.  But relying solely on intent can often lead to missed keywords, thus leaving gaps in your content.


There is a solution:


Have you ever searched in Google and seen something like this when the results display?


It’s called a featured snippet.  One of the many results sometimes returned by Google if they feel it’s warranted based on the Query.


Others include:


  • Shopping Ads
  • Knowledge cards
  • Google Ads
  • People Also Ask
  • Videos


Here’s why it matters:


Google shows certain SERP features more often or less based upon the intent of a search.

That means that we can use the presence of these features to infer the search intent of a query.


For example – featured snippets show up most often for informational queries, but, shopping results and carousels are often returned for queries that have transactional intent.


Search intent isn’t always one sided. Many SERPS have mixed search intent included.


For Example – the top-ranking results for “grainfather”:


The Grainfather is an all in one beer-brewing tool.  Most people entering this query into Google are probably ready to buy.

This explains why most of the search results include product pages.

But the result in position #4 is a product review.  This shows us that the query has mixed intent.

So, while most searchers are ready to buy, others are looking for more information about the product before they buy.


Let’s see how you can optimize for search intent (3 steps)


Search intent is a good basis upon which to create content.

If the keywords used have informational intent, write blog posts. If the queries are transactional, create product pages.

Is it really that easy? Well, yes and no. 

While it makes sense to create your content with search intent in mind, here’s the issue:


The intent groups are too broad to be useful


For example, we can see that “HTML 5” is an informational query. But knowing this alone doesn’t tell us what content the searcher really wants to see. Or what they want to know. We also don’t know what format we should use to present that information.

In order to get the right type of content made for search intent right we need go deeper and analyze the SERPs more thoroughly.


Here’s a step by step process:


Step 1. Check ‘SERP reliability’


Google rankings aren’t always the same. They chop and change over time.

If you understand that the rankings vary over time, then it makes sense that you shouldn’t rely on the top ranking pages today to infer search intent.  The reason is that you’re only looking at a single snapshot in time.

If you check the same results tomorrow or a week later, they may be different.  The solution to this problem is to look at the ranking history of the keywords you want to target.

If you’re using a tool that can do this, then make use of the history.  If not, you can use a tool like Google Trends that can show you the searches for that keyword going back over 5 years.


Step 2. Your content needs to align with the “3 C’s of search intent”


Once you’ve chosen your keyword and you know it’s sound (i.e., has clear search intent), the next step is to analyze the search results for what’s known as “the 3 C’s of search intent.”


  1. Content type
  2. Content format
  3. Content angle


Let’s run through the process….


  1. Content type


This refers to the overall “type” of content that you should find in search results (HINT: Also the type of content you should create), usually one of the following:


  • Blog posts
  • Product pages
  • Category pages
  • Landing pages


Your job is to find the most common content type in search results, then make sure your content is similar.


  1. Content formatting


The “format” of top-ranking pages can vary to different degrees.  Some of the most common content formats include:


  • “How-to” and “ultimate” guides
  • Step-by-step tutorials in text or video format
  • List posts – commonly known as Listicles
  • Opinion pieces
  • Product Reviews
  • Comparison Posts


There are a lot of different formats that aren’t listed here, but the examples given here are a good place to start.

When creating content, it makes most sense to replicate what others do too.

If the majority of top results are guides, create a guide. If they’re videos, create videos. Etc, etc.




The “formatting” of your content will mostly apply to informational and commercial investigation queries.

That’s because these are queries for which blog posts tend to rank best.

Transactional queries on the other hand will most likely be in the form of a product or category page.

So the content format will generally align with the content “type.”


  1. What’s Your Content Angle


A Content Angle means that people are looking for products or services that have a unique selling point.

Top-ranking posts and pages will show you what searchers want when entering these types of queries into Google.

For example, if you search “how to make pancakes,” you’ll see a few angles that are different but similar in the results:


  • “Perfect pancakes”
  • “Good old-fashioned pancakes”
  • “Fluffy pancakes”


If you search for the transactional query “buy glasses online,” you’ll see many retailers pitching low prices and discounts.

This shows you that price is an important factor for people wanting to buy glasses online.

You will also find many retailers mention “prescription glasses”.   If they’re writing content about prescription glasses, then it probably means that people are looking for prescription glasses, not sunglasses or any other type.

Once again check the top results and do what they do.  You shouldn’t copy them word for word, but use common sense and check what data they include in their titles, in the body of their content and what they place in their Meta descriptions too.

If they write about quality of product and you talk about price, you might lose out in rankings.


Step 3. Learn from search results and top-ranking pages


Everything you’ve learnt so far will work great for getting a basic idea of search intent and understanding which type of content to create.

If you’re really serious about targeting a keyword, you’ll have to analyze both the SERPs and top-ranking pages in depth.

This is the only way to truly understand what people want and what content you need to provide.


Here are three ways to do it:


1) Consider using the “People also ask” box


I’m sure you’ve seen it every now and then.  You go look for information and underneath the top 3 results there’s a “People Also Ask Box”, it’s normally filled with about 5 questions, but as you click on one, Google will add others. 

The more you click on the questions, the more Google will add.  Sometimes there are duplicates, so take what is relevant and leave the rest.


  1. Look for Content Gaps at Page-Level


Most Keyword tools have the ability to do a content gap analysis to find content gaps at the domain level.

You should also be able to run a content gap analysis at page-level. This should give you more insights about other subtopics people will probably expect to see included in your content.


  1. Investigate top-ranking pages


There’s no better way to get insight about search intent other than actually visiting the top ranking pages and seeing what they’ve written and the intent they have served with their content.

Here are some things you need to keep in mind about search intent:


  • Images: People want to see products
  • Links to buy: Most top ranking pages make it easy to buy with links present
  • Segmentation is important: People don’t want to know about 100 things at once, they want to know the best in class for their specific query


Always visit the top ranking pages to see how they did it before you create anything.


Wrapping Up


Search intent and relevance are the most important factors that you need to consider when creating content now and going forward.

If you don’t give people searching for answers what they want, you’ll never be able to rank in search engines, no matter how you try trick Google.

Tricking search engines is a silly idea, because they always find you in the end and you’ll sit there watching your rankings tank overnight.  Rather follow a rock solid strategy, put in the work and give searchers what they want. 

Google wants to reward you with high rankings, but you need to deliver the goods.

Get leads. Get sales. Get growing. [2]

Write a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.