Keyword Intent Matters

Why People Search

Understanding the intent of your visitors

When someone fires up Google or another favourite search tool, they have a reason in mind. They are on a mission. It may be a mission to learn about a topic or a product or they may be ready to pull out that credit card and make a purchase.

There are generally four types of intent when people search. As Search Engine Optimization specialists, we need to consider the intent of a visitor and then gently guide them to the proper content on a website.

Fortunately, visitors can be quantified by considering the wording of their search input. These can then be channeled into four distinct “keyword intents”.

Four intents

People’s search patterns can be classed into one of the following four purposes:

  • Navigation
  • Information seeker
  • Commercial
  • Transactional

Let’s take a quick look at each. This will help you develop strong content that addresses each intent type and can also help move people through the sales funnel, which coincides with these intents nicely.

Understanding Intent

Each of the four intents are earmarked with specific and intentional language. This allows SEO for each intent type and to craft content that engages each different visitor.


Quite simply, when a person wants to get somewhere. This can be in the literal sense of looking for a physical location in the world or specific content on a website.

The navigational search is patterned by phrases like, “near me” when looking for a physical location or may be very specific when looking for content. For example, “symptoms of mosquito bites”.

Information seeker

Often this intent coincides with the top two tiers of the classic sales funnel – Attention and Interest. They seek to learn more about a product, service or a concept.

Their search phrases will include terms like, “how to”, “what is”, “I need”, “Best ways to”. All clear information seeking and often in the form of a question.

Developing and optimizing content for this intent means providing strong answers shaped around your product or service. So if you are selling grills, you would write content that answers potential search queries like, “Who makes the best bbq?”, “Best grills in Canada”, or “are natural gas grills better than propane”.


This searcher is often aware of many different products and how a service or concept works in general. They are refining their information stage in order to prepare for a purchase decision, but are not ready to buy just yet.

These types of queries are generally phrased with:

  • best
  • compare / compared to
  • alternatives
  • review
  • for (specific group like “women” or “SUVs”)

Specific examples would then look like, “best graphics card for gaming”, or “compare microwave ovens”, or “shoes for kids”, and “alternatives to coffee”. (Perish the thought!)

This is the content that will also benefit strongly from reiterated Google reviews or other strong testimonials from prior customers.

Similar to informational intent, ensuring optimization of content to provide answers is paramount. This would hold true for writing short content for Google Ads as well. Geared to bring them in on their query, looking for potential to convert to the transactional intent.


The information and comparisons are all collected and the decision is in. Time to purchase! These searchers will have very obvious lead-ins on their queries:

  • buy
  • buy online
  • for sale
  • cheap
  • promo code
  • discount
  • subscribe
  • rent
  • get

Typical questions to consider would be “cheap flights to Florida”, or “rent a car in Toronto” and “subscribe to Disney Plus”.

These visitors will have a credit card in-hand and your content needs to expedite them through the final steps to purchasing your product or service. Reinforce you’re the right choice and make the transaction easy to complete.

Optimizing and perfecting your content

Ready to answer search queries with strong intent? We can help you understand what people are actively searching for in the real world in relation to your product or service through our Search Engine Optimization services.