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What is Search Intent & Why Does it Matter?

When it comes to increasing your chances of ranking in search results, you really need to convince people to buy what you’re selling, return to your website, or subscribe to your newsletter. But, in order to successfully do so, you need to understand one crucial thing that will pave the way forward – search intent.

What is Search Intent

Search intent, the term used to describe the purpose of an online search, can be encompassed by a single word: why?  

It is the practice of understanding the reasoning behind a given search query and context around the reasons someone typed their question into a search engine.

People use search engines to uncover valuable information that will grant them the knowledge to do something they were previously ill-equipped to do. Each time someone enters a query into said search engine, they are doing so for a very specific reason – that reasoning can come in the form of 4 types of search intent.

4 Most Common Types of Search Intent

Knowing the specific type of intent behind a query can assist you to create content that’s perfectly tailored to the question being asked. These are the 4 most common types of search intent:  

Informational Intent

When people are searching to learn more about a specific topic, they perform a search with informational intent. These searches are often question-based and include “who, what, where, when, why, how.”

e.g. “How to choose an ad agency”

Navigational Intent

This type of intent relates to the type of search someone does when they are looking to get to a specific website or web page.

e.g. “IMS creative ad agency blog”

Transactional Intent

When a searcher is looking to purchase a product or service, that is known as a transactional search. It is often product specific and includes intent-to-buy words such as “buy” “download” and “purchase”.

e.g. “IMS SEO services quote”

Commercial Investigation

This type of search is performed by people who are thinking about purchasing something in the future. Think of it as the step before transactional, where people are trying to gain additional knowledge to decide on a product or brand. These queries tend to include the words “best”, “review” or “compare”.

e.g. “IMS ad agency reviews”