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What Is Searcher Intent? A Quick SEO Guide

As the term indicates, search intent refers to what a user is looking for when they enter a term into a search engine. Most people will have a specific end goal in mind: they want to buy something, watch something, or explore more about a topic.

Having a deep knowledge of search intent can help guide your content strategy. Keep reading to see how you can divide keywords and search phrases into four main categories of search intent.


Why Should You Care About Search Intent?

Search intent is one of the most important steps in tailoring your content strategy. It allows you to write content that is directly aimed at meeting the needs of your users. Writing content that is relevant to search intent will get more engagement, be deemed more relevant, and generate more traffic for your site.

The Four Types of Search Intent

Broadly speaking, you can divide all searches made on the internet into four categories.


Informational searches refer to people who are looking for an answer to a question. This means that they are typing things like “movie theatres near me” or “who is the finance secretary.” These terms won’t always be written like questions, however.

Someone who searches for “Donald Trump” could be looking for news about the president, information about his reality show, or for a general overview of his early life.  Informational search intent can vary in value. Shorter terms are likely not going to bring much value to your site, but longer search phrases can be used to create cornerstone content on your site.


These are searches done to find a specific website. Someone searching for “Facebook” is most likely going to click on Facebook’s website, not other sites that talk about Facebook.

Generally, there’s no reason to target these sorts of keywords. If someone’s searching the name of your website, they’re going to end up on your site anyway.


Investigational searches are done to actually do research into products, or several types of products. Users have not yet made up their mind on what they want to buy, or how much they are willing to spend and want to get more information first. Looking “best Italian places in Toronto” would count as an investigational search, as would “Xbox vs PlayStation reviews.”


Transactional searches happen when a user is ready to buy something. They already know what they want, have done their research on it, and are now looking for a place to make their purchase. This includes searching for coupons and deals.

These searches will include things like “buy Bose headphones” or “Microsoft deals.” These are higher value, and creating content around potential transaction is a great way to capture affiliate fees and sell products.

Search Intent is the Key to a Solid Content Strategy

Dividing your keywords based on search intent, and determining which ones will bring the highest value to your business, are a key part of developing a robust content strategy.

Do you want more information about developing your SEO strategy and driving more leads to your site? Check out the Business section of our website!

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