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How to Use Intent Based Search to Target Clients & Customers Ready to Buy

Anthony | January 15, 2021


To increase your chances to really convince people to buy your stuff or to come back to your website another time, you need to understand search intent

What is Search Intent?

Search intent (or user intent) is the reason why someone does a specific search on Google™ for example.

When you do an online search you’re hoping to find something.

Are you searching because you have a question and want an answer to that question?

Are you looking to visit a specific website? Or,

are you searching because you want to buy something?

These different types of searches form parts of the user journey. As Google has evolved the algorithm has improved and is able to determine your search intent.

And, Google wants to rank pages that best fit the search term entered, as well as the search intent behind a specific search query.

That’s why it’s essential to make sure your post or page fits the search intent of your audience.

Why Is Search Intent Important?

Simply put: satisfying Search Intent is ultimately Google’s #1 goal.

So if you want to succeed with SEO and content marketing today, Search Intent needs to be a big part of your approach.

In other words:

backlinks and other traditional Google ranking signals still matter.  But if your page doesn’t satisfy Search Intent, it’s not going to rank.

Let’s look at an example, let’s say you want to cook up a stir fry for dinner however you’re hungry and want to eat NOW.

So you head to Google and search for “quick stir fry recipes”.

The first result you click on looks OK at first.

But you quickly realize that the recipe takes over an hour.

So you quickly click over to the search results to find something else.

And the next time you strike gold.

This result is a recipe that takes 15 minutes from start to finish…

…which is EXACTLY what you’re looking for.

If enough people that search for “quick stiry fry recipe” feel the same way, that result will get a significant rankings boost.

4 types of search intent

There are a few distinct types of search intent, these four are most commonly used:

1. Informational intent

First, there is informational intent. Lots of searches on the internet are done by people looking for information. That could be information about sports scores, information about new cars, you name it. People with informational intent have a specific question or want to know more about a certain topic.

Also be aware that Google’s understanding of intent goes further than simply showing search results that give information about a specific term. It knows, for example, that people looking for [bbq sauce] are looking for recipes, not for how bbq sauce is made. It understands that most people typing in [Mercury] are looking for the planet, not the element. Google even understands that for some terms, like [how to build a chicken coop], it’s handy to include videos and images.

2. Navigational Intent

The second type of search intent is called navigational intent. People with this intent want to visit a specific website. For example, people who search for [Twitter] are usually on their way to the Twitter website.

3. Transactional intent

The third type of search intent is transactional intent. Lots of people buy stuff on the internet and browse the web to find the best price on a purchase. People are searching with transactional intent when their purpose is to buy something.

4. Commercial investigation

Some people have the intention to buy in the (near) future and use the web to do their research.

  • What fridge would be best?
  • Which flat screen tv is the latest model?

These people also have transactional intent but need some more time and convincing. These types of search intents are usually called commercial investigating intents.

Improve Existing Content

Now it’s over to you.  Here’s a 5 step checklist that you can use to update a blog post to rank for user intent


  • Find a top performer
  • Perform on-page SEO
  • Update the post
  • “Re-energize” it

Step 1:  Find a top performer in Google Analytics

Step 2: Perform On-Page SEO

  • Title Tag
  • Heading/Title
  • Meta Description
  • Body Copy

Step 3: Update The Post

  • Correct inaccuracies Add
  • Clarity/Examples
  • Screenshots
  • Video
  • Infographics
  • Slideshare deck

Step 4: “Re-Energize” It

Have a go at updating your best-performing blog posts for intent-based search and see the results you can come up with


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About the Author


How would you like to attract more leads, convert these leads into paying clients and deliver more value to these clients? Join a team of like-minded entrepreneurs who are generating more money, delivering meaning and have more freedom to live the lifestyle they choose