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An Overview on Search Intent

Every query that a user makes has search intent. A user poses a question in a search engine with an end goal in mind, but the route and intent of each search will vary depending on what their needs are. Each kind of search intent requires different optimization, which makes it important to understand what each kind of search intent is, and what users are looking for when they make each style of search. Let’s take a dive into the different kinds of search intent!

Transactional Searches

Perhaps the most self-explanatory kind of search intent is transactional searches. A transactional search is made when a user knows exactly what product they’re searching for, and they’re completing a search ready to make a purchase.

A transactional purchase will have keywords that are focused on making a purchase. Some examples may include “best stoves for under $1000,” “new stainless steel sink for sale,” or “buy (x product) online.” If you have an e-commerce site, it is important to ensure that your content is optimized for searches such as these, as your main goal will be to complete sales on the site, and lead users to your site via transactional searches. However, if you’re not making sales directly from your website, you will also want to optimize for other styles of searches.

Informational Searches

Another kind of search intent, and generally the most common, are informational searches. These searches are made by users who need to find answers about a specific product or topic. While a transactional search is generally made by a user who is ready to make a purchase, or at least well informed about a topic, an informational search is made by a user who is looking to learn more about your product, but is not ready to convert yet.

An informational search is likely to resemble a question such as, “how many burners do I need on my stove,” or “what’s the best coffee maker.” While these questions generally won’t result in many conversions, they are important to optimize before because the search volume is often enormous. While there may be a single user making a transactional search, ready to purchase a product, there are ten users who are looking for more information and may convert on your website if you can provide the information they’re looking for.

Navigational Searches

Finally, the least common kind of search intent is a navigational search. These searches require very little optimization because they are centered around a user searching for a specific website or brand. These searches are very simple, as they will simply say “facebook,” “twitter,” or “(your brand).” Users who make a navigational search have a lot in common with transactional searches in the sense that a user knows exactly what they’re looking for, but in this case, a user knows what website they’re looking for, rather than simply knowing they’re trying to purchase a product.

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