Search Intent: Why It Matters When Writing For Audiences

February 15, 2023
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Search engine optimization for small businesses needs to focus on the audience. If you want to have a website that ranks high up in SERPs, you have to write about what people want to learn. However, it is not enough. Your wording is also crucial online; marketers should know how people search, not just what they do. 

What Is Search Intent?

Search intent, or the 'why' of a query, is critical in getting people to find your company. Is this person searching for information, or are they evaluating a product or service? Do they want to know how to do something, or are they troubleshooting? 

Google aims to deliver the best results to user queries. The success of their business relies on them providing relevant content to searchers. If they don't, they lose ad revenue. Another of its goals is to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." To do this, they must become very good at discerning which websites respond to people's questions in the best possible way.

As a result, websites must become very good at understanding people's search intent. There are four 'types' of search intent—navigational, transactional, informational, and commercial investigation. Here is a closer look at each of these four.


In this type of search, the user knows where he wants to go. However, he might not be familiar with the exact URL of the website. In this case, he might type keywords that would lead him to the search result he wants.


In searches with transactional intent, the user has yet to make a purchase. They are either looking for a product or a store where they can buy. Keywords with a transactional intent would often have comparative words or contain two or more brands.


This type of search is looking for an answer to a specific question. The information the user might be looking for could be simple (often questions that start with 'what' or 'who), or it might be in-depth ('why' and 'how'). Some informational searches might not be in question form, like "equation for anaerobic respiration" or "reasons a car would overheat."

Commercial investigation

This type of search is related to transactional ones. However, this is more general; the searcher has not decided which solution works for them. They might also be weighing their options—local searches like "florist near me" and "affordable bikes in London" are examples.

How Do You Find People's Search Intent?

When you have an idea of the search intent of your keywords, you can begin creating posts. However, the type of content you make should align with what people want to see. Do they want their data presented through infographics, blog posts, videos, or some other medium? Search engine optimization for small businesses involves analyzing SERPs. Here are some things to remember so that you can tailor content to your audience.

1. Look At The SERP History

Google rankings are dynamic and can change drastically over time. If you rely on just the top-ranking pages for ideas on people's search intent, you are evaluating people's preferences at a single point in time. If you look at SERPs in the week after you do your analysis, you might find that different websites already occupy the top spots. Look at the context of your keywords as well to get a fuller picture of the intent.

2. Align Your Content To The "3 C's"

Content type, content format, and content angle make up your article. When your search intent aligns with these elements, people will want to keep visiting your website. Content type refers to whether you have a landing page, blog post, category page, or others. Look for the type that appears the most in SERPs for your keyword and apply that to your website. Meanwhile, content format is like the genre of your page. Opinion pieces, how-to guides, and tutorials are examples of these. Like with content type, it makes sense to go with the crowd here. If people are used to consuming information in a particular format, they might find it jarring to switch to your preference.

Blog posts tend to rank for informational and commercial investigation queries. Sites answer transactional queries through product pages or category pages. Sometimes, you can have comparison posts that answer specific transactional queries.

Finally, the content angle refers to the way you approach the topic. It is what makes your post unique. When you look at the top-ranking posts for a keyword, you will notice that they have different views, although they talk about the same thing.

However, it won't pay off to be too different. To optimize your content, you must once again look at what everyone else is writing. Do not copy what others are saying, but keep the type of content in mind. If everyone is writing about the cost of a procedure, do not write about its effects. Find a unique way of looking at the topic instead of changing it altogether.

3. Analyze The Entirety of the Search Page

Look at both the search engine results pages and the URLs displayed in them to see how people are viewing information surrounding this keyword. You can examine featured snippets, passages, and the questions or keywords in the "People also ask" box. Besides helping you create content, these will let you determine even more topics to explore.

Depending on the search intent, Google tends to show particular snippets that can help answer the searcher's queries in the quickest way possible. For example, passages are the featured snippets for informational queries. Meanwhile, carousels come up when the person searches with transactional intent.

A content gap analysis at the page-level is also useful. It helps you find topics that your competitors have yet to cover. This level of analysis will also give you insights into the subtopics people want to read.

In Conclusion

One of the most important ranking factors in SEO content writing is search intent. If you don't know why people are looking for something, it could be more challenging to rank for a keyword. Even if you use tactics that can "trick" Google into ranking you highly for a while, you will need well-written content to sustain your results over time. If not, you will eventually see your rankings slip. In contrast, using carefully-chosen keywords will always work in your favor.

Get content that hones in on what matters when you partner with Ranked. We provide data-driven and affordable SEO solutions designed to help you build a sustainable digital presence. We handle everything for you, from content writing to optimization and backlinks. Contact our team for more information or activate your account today!