SEO is a way to attract more traffic to your website. By attracting the highest ranking on Google, you attract more people to your site, which leads to more sales and returning visitors. To get people to your site, you need to optimize your content for the right words. To increase your chances of ranking, persuading people to buy you goods, subscribing to your newsletter or even returning to your website, you need to search intent in ag. In this post we will tell you what search setup is and how you can optimize your content for search setup.

What is search intent?

Search intent (or user intent, audience intent) is the term used to describe the purpose of an online search. This is why someone does a specific search. After all, everyone who does an online search is hoping to find something. But is anyone looking for an answer to a question he has? Do they want to visit a specific website? Or are they searching online because they want to buy something? Many of these types of searches are part of the user journey online, but it often represents different stages.

Over the years, Google has worked hard to improve its algorithm to determine people’s search intentions. Google wants to rank pages that are best for the search term someone used, as well as the search intent behind the search. Therefore, you need to make sure that your placement or page matches the search intent of your audience.

4 types of search intent

There are several different types of search setups. We go to the four most used:

1. Information purpose

Let’s start with information intent. Many searches on the internet are done by people searching for information. It can be information about the weather, information about educating children, information about SEO, you name it. People with an information intention have a specific question or want to know more about a certain topic.

Example search intent: Screenshot of Google search results for tomato sauce
Google search results for ‘tomato sauce’

You should be aware that understanding Google’s intent extends far beyond mere results that provide information about a particular term. It knows, for example, that people are looking for [tomato sauce] is probably looking for recipes, not for the cooking history of the sauce. It understands that most people type [Mercury] seek the planet, not the element. Google even understands this for some search terms, such as [how to build a bird feeder], it is convenient to include videos and images.

2. Navigation intent

The second type of search setup is called navigation intent. People with this intention want to visit a specific website. For example people looking for [Facebook] online is usually on the way to the Facebook site. So you want to make sure that your website can be found when someone searches online for the name of your business.

Navigation Search Example: Screenshot of Google's search term results Yoast
Google search results for ‘Yoast’

Keep in mind that a high ranking for a navigation period is especially beneficial if your site is the site that people are looking for. A few years ago we had a Google Analytics plugin and we were pretty good for the term [Google Analytics]. But it did not send any traffic to our site. People looking for [Google Analytics] I was specifically looking for the Google Analytics website and am often not interested in our plugin.

3. Transactional intent

The third type of search setup is transactional intent. Many people buy goods online and browse the internet to find the best purchase. People search with a transactional intent if their goal is to buy something at that moment. This often means that they already know exactly what they want to buy and just want to get to the product page right away.

Transactional Search Setup Example: Screenshot of Google's IKEA PS 2014 Search Results Lamp
Google search results for ‘IKEA ps 2014 lamp’

4. Commercial investigation

Some people plan to buy in the (near) future and use the internet to do their research. Which washing machine would be best? Which SEO plugin is the most useful? These people also have a transaction intent, but need more time and convictions. These types of search intentions are commonly referred to as commercial investigation purposes.

Commercial Research Setup Example: Screenshot of Google's Results for Search Terms Best Washing Machines 2021
Google search results for ‘best washing machines 2021’

Keyword intent

The words people use in their searches give us insight into the intent of users. It also works the other way around. By formulating keywords with intention-specific words, you can increase the chances of being seen by people with similar search setups.

What do we mean by intention-specific words? Keywords with a transactional intent often contain words such as:

  • buy
  • agreement
  • discount
  • product name

To give another example, information searches can (but not necessarily) words such as:

  • information
  • how to
  • best way to
  • why

How to optimize your content for search setup

Why do we tell it all? Because you want to make sure that a landing page matches the search intent of your audience. If people are looking for information, you do not want to show them a product page. At least not immediately. You’ll probably scare them away. But if someone wants to buy your product and end up on one of your longest blog posts, you could lose it. In this case, you want to direct it to your store and to the right product page.

Optimize your product pages for commercially driven keywords is a good idea. For example, if you sell canine vitamins, you can optimize a product (category) page for the search term [buy dog vitamins]. Maybe you also have an article on administering vitamins. You can optimize the article for the search term [how to give vitamins to my dog] and target people with an information intent.

Do research on the goals of your audience

Sometimes it can be quite difficult to determine the search for a query. Maybe different users using the same search term have a (slightly) different user intent. Fortunately, there is a direct source to look at if you want to know which intent best fits your keywords: the search results pages. Find out how you can use the results pages to create amazing content based on intent.

If you want to know more about the goals of your audience, this is another way of asking them. You can make a short survey, which contains questions about what people are looking for and makes the survey appear when people visit your site. It probably gives you valuable insights into your audience and their intent. Make sure you are not overly intrusive with these types of pop-ups as it may hurt you user experience on your website.


It is crucial to ensure that the content you write matches the terms that people are looking for, as well as the search intentions of your audience. Make sure your post or page provides information when people search for information. Be the first result when someone searches for your business name. Provide content that helps people make an informed decision while still exploring their options. But lead people to your sales pages if they want to buy one of your products.

Read more: Keyword Research: The Ultimate Guide »

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