Since search engine optimization (SEO) is about reaching people with relevant content, it’s also crucial to know what people are searching for. The success of an SEO strategy depends on the keywords you choose, but how do you know which keywords people use in their search queries? This is where search intent comes in.

Search intent is now a bit of a buzzword in the SEO world. It’s described as one of the principal pillars of successful SEO techniques. It refers to the searcher’s motivation behind using a search engine. While this approach can be subjective, the theories are pretty straightforward when you get into it.

There’s also a hidden search intent behind every search query; thus, uncovering or getting a grasp on it is crucial. So, how do you implement search intent in your SEO strategy? Read on to find out.

1. Determine the Keywords People Use in Their Queries

Your initial research is always crucial when developing an SEO strategy. It’s the foundation of your entire campaign, so you need to be able to point out keywords that are relevant and specific and have a decent amount of traffic. Simply looking through what’s already ranking in search engines can be helpful.

Additionally, it would help to look at your analytics data. Tracking search traffic is crucial for identifying which queries bring people to your site. You might ask yourself the following questions when brainstorming keywords:

  • What are the terms people are using to find your business?
  • Which search terms do they use while looking for your product or service?
  • What are their needs and demands?
  • What are they asking for?

These questions will help you get a clear idea of the words or phrases people use when looking for what you have to offer. With that said, it’s best to prioritize the keywords you find. Doing so can help you identify which ones are relevant to your business and ultimately drive more traffic to your site.

2. Incorporate Search Intent Into Your Content

Once you know the keywords people use when searching for your products or services, you can plan your content. That means it’s a great idea to craft your content around the search intent behind each keyword.

For instance, if a particular keyword or phrase brings traffic to your site, try to create content that helps them accomplish their goal. If your target audience is looking for a tutorial on your product or service, provide it in your posts. Or, in case someone searches for a keyword with high commercial intent, it’s best to include it in your meta tags and meta descriptions.

You must connect with your audience by providing the exact information they’re searching for. A good example is if someone searches for “how to make fabric flowers,” the content should help them follow the steps of making these flowers. Doing so will address their intent and encourage them to take the next step.

In addition, it’s best to consider these four pillars of search intent when it comes to content. These include content style, type, format and angle. Each of these categories refers to a different element of your content.

Here’s how they work:

Content style

Take a note of the current content ranking for your target keyword. What kind of content is it? Is it a short blog post, a long-form article, a PDF download or a video?

The content’s style relates to audio, video, text or another form of media. If the majority of the top results on a search engine results page (SERP) for keywords are videos, then it’s best to offer video content for that specific keyword as well.

Content type

Content type indicates what type of page the results connect to. It may be a blog post, website or landing page. Your goal here is to check the information that’s now dominating search results, ensuring that your content is aligned with it.

Content format

Your content’s format determines whether the article is a compiled checklist, a standard blog post, a how-to guide, a tutorial or any of a variety of other conceivable forms.

The format of your content should match whichever forms are emphasized on the SERP. If most of the top-ranking links are tutorials, you should write tutorials; if they’re how-to-guide, create guide content and so on.

Content angle

What’s the unique selling feature of the top-ranked content? The content angle is the unique value proposition that’s emphasized, offering something different from the vast majority of the content available.

The angle of your content is what makes it stand out. It’s crucial to identify where the searcher is in the buyer’s journey. The better you can fulfill the searcher’s needs, the more likely they will remain around and convert.

With these four elements of search intent in mind, you can now create search engine optimized content to drive more traffic, generate leads and increase conversions.

3. Evaluate the Competition

After identifying your keywords, it’s time to analyze the competition. This method would include looking at what other businesses are ranking for those queries and digging a little deeper into their strategies.

While it may be a tedious process, you want to find out which ones have been working for them. What steps or tactics have they used? Do they have a solid social media presence? This way, you can learn from their success and figure out what you can do better.

It also helps to look at your competitors’ backlink profiles. You can identify the sites linking to them and which ones provide the most link juice, and gradually start building your own links.

The Different Types of Search Intent

Like any search term, keywords have different intents. By now, you already know what search intent is, but it’s essential to be aware of the various kinds so that you can figure out the best way to approach them.

When it comes to search intent, there are four main categories: informational, transactional, navigational and preferential investigation. Let’s dig into each of them.


This type is the most generalized form of search intent, where the user’s query relates to a specific topic. What users are looking for? It’s a definition, an explanation or a set of instructions on how to do something.

Informational searches are the most popular amongst users as they can quickly grasp a concept without digging too deep. They may not always be the most specific, but it’s possible to turn them into transactional or navigational searches in the future.

With that said, it’s vital to include informational content on your website. Doing so will make your brand more visible to your target audience. As a result, you’ll be able to attract brand-new visitors who might search for specific terms later down the line.


When people perform transactional searches, they’re mainly looking to buy something. If your company runs an eCommerce site, you’d be more than aware of the importance of these keywords.

If user types in “buy batteries” or “where can I buy batteries,” then they’re looking for a store. As much as possible, you want to position yourself in front of them so that you can make the sale.

Having related products on your landing page is a good start. However, you can also use calls-to-action to highlight your eCommerce capabilities right off the bat. A good example would be, “Shop our selection of batteries!” This approach can help appeal directly to those looking for a quick and easy transaction.


Another common search intent is navigational. In most cases, they’re looking to visit a specific website. When this occurs, you can bet they already know what they’re doing and that you must direct them appropriately.

Navigational searches usually involve using specific domain names, which is why you should always aim to rank high on them. Aside from that, make sure you’ve optimized your website for speed and ease of access.

Another great way to increase traffic is through social media marketing. As more and more people join social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, it’ll become easier to get users to click on your links.

Preferential Investigation

Lastly, there are preferential investigation searches. When people perform these queries, they’re simply trying to learn more about a specific product they want to purchase. They’re open to reading content about the brand, viewing images and even watching videos.

When it comes to preferential investigation searches, you should create quality content. Include detailed information about the products such as benefits, price, use high-quality images and use videos for a more immersive experience.

Of course, most shoppers may compare different brands to find the best deal. If you have a competitive price, design or feature set, that can give you an edge.


There’s no doubt that search intent plays a significant role in the SEO world. If you want to attract more visitors to your site or gain better visibility on SERPs, you need to determine the intent behind your keyword.

With these definitive guidelines, you can now implement them into your SEO strategy. All it takes is a bit of creativity to craft the appropriate keywords and content that matches the awareness of your target audience.

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By Margaret Blank

At the moment I am an expert-analyst in the field of search engine optimization, leading several projects and consulting on website optimization and promotion, I am actively involved in various thematic seminars and conferences.

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