Understanding Search Intent: A 101 SEO Guide

We routinely find ourselves searching Google for something that interests us, some information on an educational topic or a simple piece of trivia. The intent or the reason behind a particular search query is of far more important than the user’s search query itself.

In fact, understanding search intent in SEO is the key to creating content that grabs attention and ensures a solid customer base for brands and companies. To put it simply, gauging the intent behind a search query comprises understanding why someone did a particular search. Why do they want to learn this? Are they looking to make a purchase? Are they looking for a specific website?

Different Types of Search Queries

Research suggests how understanding the intent behind a person’s query might be the fast track route to increased sales, more leads and greater revenues. Thanks to the vast amounts of information accessible to everyone, customers don’t go about in a linear buyer’s journey anymore.

To have your site optimised to popular search queries, it’s advisable to seek the help of the best content writing agency in India. This way, you can generate more traffic and leads to your brand or company website.

The definition of search intent in SEO goes like this: the real meaning behind a customer’s searches on a popular search engine. Over the years, Google has compiled a definitive list of the four types of user search queries

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search intent in SEO

The image above shows the type of query characterised by people wanting to visit places or look for the address of a particular place they have been meaning to visit. These could be

  • Closest KFC near me
  • Bookstores near me
  • Hair salons near me
  • Website Queries
search intent in SEO

In the image above, notice how the search query is characterised by someone who wishes to visit a specific webpage or website. These are called website queries and could be like any of the following:

  • Gmail
  • Myntra
  • Reddit

Know Queries

search intent in SEO

Here’s an illustration to help you understand what know queries are:

As is evident, know queries are the ones that seek information or knowledge about a particular topic, person or character, among other things. Here is an example:

When did the Big Bang occur?

  • Do Queries

This type of query is characterised by someone wanting to take some action or carry out an activity. For example

  • Buy The Game of Thrones
  • Buy a bookshelf

This is what “do” search queries look like

search intent in SEO

How to Interpret Different Search Queries

Depending on the type of search query, Google tries to understand and figure out what kind of search result it needs to provide the user with. However, all of these queries have several types of interpretations when it comes to deciding the search intent. These are:

Common Interpretations: This indicates the common reason behind a particular query: what most users are on the lookout for when they type a query into a search engine. When engaging in website content writing, it’s important to remember that a single search query may have more than one common interpretation.

  • Dominant Interpretations: This indicates what the majority of searchers intend to look for when they type in a specific query. It’s essential to remember that not every query has a dominant interpretation.
  • Minor Interpretations: These represent the interpretations and intent that a tiny portion of users may have when looking for something on Google.
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Focusing on Search Intent

If you want your brand or business to grow in terms of its presence on online platforms by leaps and bounds, it’s imperative to pay attention to search intent in SEO. This includes attracting more new customers and potential clients by concentrating on the needs and intentions of customers. The reason or intent behind search queries directly translates through search words and keywords, into the digital marketing space.

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1 Comment

  • Evie

    Hi Lawrence, your content is really informative. In 2020, understanding search intent is fundamental before starting any SEO strategy, and you write it well. Keep posting such informative content.

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