Every time we do a search on Google, we want to find something. In a nutshell, search intent is the reason why people are searching. Many times, search intent is quite obvious by the words people use in their queries. It’s much easier to rank for these types of searches. Unfortunately, searches aren’t always straightforward. Some words have many meanings and describe different things.

There are four common types of search intent, and each type has lots of variations.


As it sounds, an informational search is when people are looking for more information. They may be looking for an answer to a specific question or they may want to read more about a general topic. Here are some examples of words used in informational queries: how, where, why, what, guide, learn, tips, and resource.  


These types of searchers are people who want to get to a specific website. Lots of times, searchers don’t want to type out the site’s entire URL. Users already know which brand name they are looking for, so they will click on the results that match the company, product, or service name in their query.


Transactional searchers are ready to buy something. They have done their homework and want to make a purchase. Most of the time, they already know what it is they want to buy, not necessarily who they want to buy it from. These types of searches may include words such as buy, purchase, price, etc.   


This is an investigational based search. Commercial searchers are people who are in the market for a specific product or service. But, they are still looking at reviews and comparisons. Types of words like best, top, review, and comparison are examples.

Why it Matters

Search intent is very important for SEO and it’s often an overlooked ranking factor. Creating content with search intent in mind is crucial. Search engines try to predict exactly what the user is searching for, so they use data to figure out the main intent of a search query. Google is getting very good at making interpretations and displaying the best results. If your content doesn’t match up, your page will not show up. It’s important to have content that matches both the words people are searching for and their search intent. Looking at the search results for queries you want to rank for is a great way to determine strategic SEO and content opportunities for your website.