What is search intent and why is it important
What is search intent and why is it important

What is search intent and why is it important

What is search intent and why is it important

When people search they are not always looking to buy. most often they are just looking for information, in order to better understand a subject or issue, before looking for more detailed information at a later date.

This is important for two reasons

1. if a customer is just looking for information, bombarding them with sales messages is not answering their question and is going to put them off.

2. google actively assesses user intent and uses this to present pages which have the most relevant answer

4 types of buyer intention

Informational Search intent.

At this point the customer is doing general research about an issue or subject, they are trying to understand their context and situation better, seeking to understand what options are available to them, rather than making a decision. Content marketing helps to position you as an authority at this stage and so you are looking for long tail keywords and questions you can build content around.

Commercial investigation.

At this point, the customer is seeking to compare alternative decisions. Reviews, case studies, and comparisons work well here. Again, this is a content focussed area, but, if the product is relatively generic, ad words will fit well. Top tens, best XYZ or comparison articles go well here.


At this point the customer is making a decision. they are looking for the cheapest, best, discounts, Where can I. buy or Near me types of investigations. At this point, you are looking at Adwords.


This is where they are looking for a specific site, so are using the title, brand or company name to find the site rather than adding the URL into the navigation bar.

If you don’t know what sort of search it is, look at what sort of content Google is displaying as this will often give you a clue.

Why are you researching?

Keyword research is iterative and, to a certain extent, non linear. As you search for the keywords it will spark ideas of content etc. so it’s not a step by step approach necessarily.

As you research you will identify thousands of words and phrases that could be used, so it’s important to understand what you are using them for. Be clear about your objectives before you start.

For AdWords

The intention here is to target searchers who are in buying mode. Your objective is to identify words that signal buyer intent and have sufficient volume and are cost-effective enough to generate actions conducive to buying.

For content writing.

Here you are looking for interesting and relevant ideas which are going to entertain and educate searchers about a specific subject, allowing you to position yourself as a trusted authority. Here you want relevance and interest and are seeking informational buyer intent. you are looking for questions and phrases, not buying words, products or brands. Subjects for youtube videos or Blog articles are a good example

For on-page SEO.

Keywords are still an essential part of search ranking, so if you want to be high on the list, you need the right keywords for on-page SEO and the right links of Off-page. The key here is relevance and competition. If Accounting is your area and the first 20 entries on google are Colleges and National bodies, it will be almost impossible to rank for, so you need to find phrases where there is less competition and a good volume.

For off-page SEO.

Here you want to find sites that carry content that is relevant to your subject area, and the kinds of content they carry, as this will allow you to write content that they might carry, or where to promote existing content.