We often take for granted how easy it can be to navigate online. Any inquiry we have can be easily solved by simply typing a few words into a Google search bar. Then the search engine works its magic to give us the answer we are looking for. Occasionally we need to perform multiple searches to find what we are looking for, but not often. Google usually gets it right the first time. The reason search engines are able to provide relevant results to our searches so consistently is their understanding of search intent.

“Search intent” refers to a user’s purpose or motivation behind a search query. For instance if you search “How to make banana bread”, the search engine can identify a few things about your search intent. Because of the “How to” modifier, your search can be identified as an informational one. This probably means you are looking for a recipe, and not for a local bakery that sells banana bread. The SERP (Search Engine Results Page) will display results linking to banana bread recipes.

Search intent is a great help to all of us in our everyday lives. For business owners and people who want their page to rate highly on Google searches, search intent can also be a great tool for improving web traffic.

What Is Search Intent in SEO

When it comes to SEO, understanding search intent is crucial. This means understanding the types of searches people can perform to end up on your page and maximizing the effectiveness of your landing page. Knowing why people are performing a search is equally as important as knowing what they are searching for. There are four broad categories of search intent: informational, navigational, transactional, and commercial investigation.


Informational intent refers to any search where the user is trying to learn something about a subject or answer a question. Keyword modifiers like “How to,” “What is,” or “Why” are often strong indicators of informational intent. Blog posts like this one are often the desired landing spot for informational searches.


A navigational search is when a user is looking for a specific webpage, but performing a search is easier than typing in the full URL (for example, “Facebook login” or “NBA stats”).


Transactional intent means the user is looking to make an immediate purchase. Keyword modifiers that refer to the cost or price of an item, or searches for certain product names alone can be indicators of transactional intent.

Commercial Investigation

Commercial investigation search intent differs from transactional intent in that the user may not necessarily be looking to make an immediate purchase, or they are looking to compare multiple options before making a purchase. Searches like “Best running shoes” or “Headphone reviews” can reflect commercial investigation intent. Searches of local businesses (“Best restaurants in [city]) are also a common type of commercial investigation search.

Once you understand which of these intents might draw people to your page, you can use that information to optimize your landing page and tailor content to desired searches. For example, if you run a business that sells high quality kitchen equipment, your intended audience is prospective customers looking for superior kitchen utensils. Your ideal landing page would be informational. You want people searching for high quality kitchen equipment to end up on your page. And once they’re there, you want them to learn what makes your products superior to others on the market. Linking to a transactional page without information would be less effective because it does not go into detail about the product.

The digital landscape is constantly changing, and staying on top of it requires a strategic vision. V12 Strategies is a digital marketing agency that is fluent in the ever-changing demands of marketing in the digital age. Contact us today for support with your search intent SEO.