What Is Search Intent? And Why Is It So Important?

What is Search Intent?

If you're looking for higher organic rankings in the search engine results pages, you are likely to have come across people talking about "search intent".

Broadly, search intent means understanding what your target market needs and what they're really searching for. This philosophy aligns with Google's mission: to organise the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. Making sure your content fits the bill for your audience could boost traffic to your website, and generate more leads for your business. In fact, you could call it a bit of a secret ingredient in SEO.

Ah, we see we have your attention now.

So, what is search intent?

And, why should you factor it into your content marketing strategy? We've put together this easy-to-understand guide and broken everything down into sections, including some hints and tips.

As always, if you need help with boosting your company’s digital presence, or have any questions we would love to help. Contact us today for more information.

Search Intent

In brief, search intent is an internet user's goal when they put in a word, or words, into a search engine.

Without realising, or processing it as a considered search intent, they have a specific outcome in mind. For example, looking for "coffee" offers different intents: is the user searching for a great coffee bar, learning how to brew the perfect beverage, or are they researching the history of coffee?

It's the same subject, but the goals are different.

Types of Search Intent


Well, who knew? Informational searches come from people looking for, well, information. This is one of the most common search intents and may often feature phrases such as "how to", "what is" or just basic names, such as "Buckingham Palace" or "Steve Jobs", for example.

The SERP results (search engine results pages) will tend to be organic, with featured snippets and related questions. You'll most likely find Wikipedia, dictionaries or fact-focused blog posts. Like this:

Informational search result for "Steve Jobs"

Optimising for Informational Intent

Focus on creating content that's as clear and as useful as possible. Plus, structure your content with bullets and numbers, as Google searches for content with clear steps.

Equally, you'll be rewarded in the rankings with high-quality content that builds trust and expresses your expertise in your chosen profession or subject. Writing copy that educates and informs – without blinding your readers with science - is a fabulous way to do this.

Preferential/Commercial Intent

As a business owner with a website, this type of searchintent will resonate with you. Your potential customers are starting to beready to buy from you. They're not there quite yet, but they're on their way.

Preferential intent involves research and investigation into specific services, products or brands. Here, users focus on a few different options and compare them to find the best solution specific to their needs.  

Key search terms may include "best", or "top", for instance: "best family car", or "top 10 UK insurance companies"

Preferential/Commercial Intent search result for "top 10 insurance companies"

Optimising for Preferential Intent

Your attention for preferential intent needs to be on showing your audience what you have to offer, and then giving them the best possible information to convert. Again, it must be structured, user-friendlyand well-organised.


What is your target market looking for when they're searching for your services and expertise? What do they want to see that will make them contact you rather than your competitors? What are their needs? How do you meet those needs?

Transactional Intent

Transactional searchers are ready to buy and will have a type of product or brand in mind. They are in buying mode, giving off buying signals. They have progressed from active research to being on the point of an actual purchase or a subscription to something.

Examples could be "Radley handbag", "Russell Hobbs microwave", or "Nespresso machine."

You'll notice a key difference in the SERPs, as AdWords start to pop up:

Transactional Intent search result for "Nespresso Machine"

Optimising for Transactional Intent

We can highly recommend optimised landing pages (get in touch with us as we create these for you), with each one optimised with your transactional keywords to make buying from you more accessible.

Again, transactional intent has content quite literally written all over it. Providing the most up to date, relevant and readable information, and making it easy for people to buy from you, contact you or subscribe is going to make your website an SEO superstar.

Think: calls to action, and a focus entirely on the concerns, questions and needs of your future customers.

And finally,

Navigational Intent

Users deploy navigational intent to get to a website and to find it; perhaps they're not sure about the URL, or they're looking for a login page – for speed – or laziness! The critical thing to realise is that they already know what they're trying to find.

The same applies to a physical address and includes local searches.

Again, these could be branded pages, such as "Facebook login" or "address Wembley Stadium". This image from the results pages shows the address clearly highlighted so that user doesn't have to delve further.

Navigational Intent search result for "address Wembley Stadium"

Optimising for Navigational Intent

Make that your site is as structurally sound as possible, with clear page titles, meta descriptions, H1 headings and so on – with clear URLs.

When it comes to your website, we're talking obvious; clear and explicit structures that express what each page says and does. Likewise, each service type or element will require a separate page. Why? Because Google needs to follow the path of least resistance in order to knowhow to rank them.

Don't make the common mistake of lumping all your products and services together in one space. This makes it more difficult for Google to crawl your website, and therefore you won’t rank as high as you could.

Why Is User Intent so Important?

Google's algorithms will continue to tighten the knot in a good way. It cares a great deal about search intent because its entire value proposition is about providing users – as in your audience and future customers – with relevant, valuable results.

Relevancy through content and conversion rates tell Google that a website is meeting its search intent criteria, and thus you'll most probably find these high-performing sites on page one of Google. In other words, they deserve to be there.

As a website owner, your best-case scenario is for your web visitors to stay on your site, and then to contact you, full of intentions to buy from you. You have authority, expertise and your audience trusts you. Your online presence tells them so.

With good search intent, everyone wins.

So, you know what to do if you'd like increased traffic, a wider audience reach, reduced bounce rates, better-qualified leads – and more of them.


Looking for help with Search Intent?

This is something that we can help you with. Our whole team is SEO and user experience focused, prioritising growing your brand’s online presence.

Get in touch with Sprint Online for more information.

Merry Christmas you Filthy Animals Valued Clients!

As we wrap up another successful year (sorry, there’s definitely more puns to come), we want to express our heartfelt thanks for being a part of the Sprint Online family. Your trust and collaboration have made 2023 a truly remarkable year.

This year we’ve been as busy as Santa’s Elves when the Argos catalogue gets released, and we're thrilled to share some highlights:

Four Fillies (Vegan Coffee Trailer): We all need a dose of Caffeine to get us through January, and thank goodness for the lovely Four Fillies, who we provided a host of services to, making them the go-to for vegan coffee delights in Surrey!
Google "Vegan Coffee Trailer Surrey", and they'll come up first – we’ll raise an Oat Latte to that!

Victory Wash: We embarked on a branding adventure providing a full marketing package including branding, website development, and SEO. Squeaky clean and perfectly timed, just like the services they offer.

Cappadocia Epsom and Kingston: Not at all biased, but perhaps a little led by our bellies, one of our favourite clients, Cappadocia. Now utilising our services for their multiple Surrey restaurants, they asked us to broaden their outreach in an engaging and fun way. Through an innovative 360-degree photo shoot, we allowed their Kingston and Epsom venues to feature an inside look on Google Street View, so clients can see inside the restaurant before they visit. Yum!

We were trigger happy this year with our cameras, providing photo and video shoots to Ildiko's Chocolate, La Terrazza, Utopia 360 Visuals and many more businesses.

As always, web development and branding is a big part of the Sprint Online offering, and this was no different this year. Just to name a few, Serious Entertainment Group, J M Wegner Sports Therapy, Win 360 Consulting, Kable Recruitment and Anthea Your VA trusted us to create brand new, shiny websites for their businesses this year, and we delivered. It’s not quite 7 billion presents on a sleigh, but give us a few mince pies and a red suit, and we won’t be far off!

Brambles Coffee (can you sense a coffee theme?) enjoyed a complete marketing package – from branding to website design, we brewed up a slick look, and the milk ‘tache from the cappuccino does somewhat complete the Santa look…

Piccolo Vicolo received a brand new menu design, from our in house design team, alongside a host of print and signage services for a variety of other local clients.

Finally, we connected hundreds of businesses to a more professional and flexible telephone number through our successful virtual landline service.

Looking ahead, the excitement continues into 2024. We have a lot already planned, including the launch of a brand new WhatsApp Business integration. It's our commitment to keeping your communication as cutting-edge as your business!

Now, it’s time for the annual game of Twister. I tried to join in before I wrote this message, but apparently putting my laptop on Red instead of my foot didn’t count.

Christmas gone mad. Wish me luck!

Warm regards,

Gellért and the Sprint Online Team

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