What Is Search Intent? How To Find What You Are Looking For On Google
What is Search intent? A good question. Search intent is simply what people are really looking for in a search engine result. Your intent for results may be different than what Google thinks you are looking for.
There are three types of searches performed in Google Search. They are navigational, informational and transactional. For navigational searches people are looking to find a particular page or website. Informational searches are when a searcher is looking to answer a question. And transactional searches are when searchers are looking to purchase something.
This is important for content providers because your idea of a well optimized page may different than what Google thinks a searcher is looking for. For navigational and transactional optimization is pretty straight forward. But for informational searches it gets more tricky. Content providers need to try to understand what searchers are looking for and not what they want to say.
For navigational searches user typically know what type of website they are looking. For example a navigattional search could be "websites about home improvement." Where as an informational search would be "how do I do home improvement?" And a transactional search example may be "Home improvement stores near me."
Google attempts to answer the question 'is this user looking for a particular webpage or website, information about something or something to purchase,' then returns results along those lines. Google doesn't always get it right.
Example: if you type in the search phrase "home improvement" (informational) Google may assume you are looking for infomation about the TV series 'Home Improvement' (1991 to 1999) with Tim Allen. And you get a bunch of results about a TV show from the 90's.
If you type in the search phrase "home improvement tools." (informational) Google might assume you are looking to learn about someting and return list of websites by experts like Bob Villa and Popular Mechanics.
If you type in a phrase like "home improvement experts" (navigational) Google may return a list of websites that specialize in listing other businesses like Amazon, Yelp and BBB (Better Business Bureau). Thinking you are looking to find an expert. As opposed to becoming one.
If you type in "home improvement stores near me,' (transactional) Google will probably assume you are looking to buy some tools or supplies and return a list of businesses that sell stuff. For example Ace Hardware, Walmart, Home Depot, Amazon and eBay.
Google doesn't always get it right. Your search intent maybe different than what Google thinks you want to see. Keep in mind Google determines what they think you are looking for based on probability equations generated by previous searches. If your query is not well defined you get what other people have clicked on before.
How To Get Good Results From Google Search Intent
Now that you know how Google decides what pages they think you are looking for you have to ask yourself "what was I looking for?" If you get terrible results it is because Google doesn't understand your search intent. To fix that here a few tips you can use to get the results you want.
Navigational searches use keyword phrases like 'websites.' Example: "home improvement websites." You will likely get a list of home improvement websites Like AngiesList, HomeAdvisor, Thumbtack and similar websites.
Informational searches - use keywords that ask a question 'who, what, when, where, why' or phrase like 'how do I' and 'learn about.' Example 'How do I learn about home improvement?' Google will return a list of informational websites that actually try to teach you something.
Transactional searches - use keywords that indicate you want to buy something, like 'store' 'buy' A good one is 'near me.' Google assumes you are looking to go somewhere to get something. Example. "Home improvement store near me," will probably return a list of businesses that sell home improvement tools, services or supplies that are close to home.
That's it for todays website tips. Hope this helps.