An individual’s search intent is the reason/purpose behind their online search. Are they looking to buy a new car and want reviews or are they looking up information on a topic or are they just trying to find the average weight of a panda bear (which is roughly 200lbs)? Knowing the types of intent is important in order to make sure your company’s website is optimized and shows up on the first page for relevant searches. There are four kinds of search intent: navigational, transactional, commercial investigation, and informational.

1) Navigational Intent

Navigational intent means the individual is searching for a specific website. For example, if someone goes on Google to search for Twitter. Ranking high with navigational intent is only beneficial to your company if you are that specific website. So if you try to optimize your website to show up in the person’s search for Twitter most likely you will not receive traffic because the person was solely searching for twitter.

2) Transactional Intent

The second kind of intent is called transactional intent. This means that the searcher’s intent is to buy something. With online stores becoming so popular many people turn to the internet to purchase items they need. When going online the user’s intent is to find a specific item they want to purchase.

3) Commercial Investigation

Commercial investigation is very similar to transactional intent in the fact that it deals with people who are looking to purchase something. However, commercial investigation has to do with those who are not 100% ready to buy a specific item. Their intent is to research what they are looking to purchase and gather information. Although they are still wanting to make a purchase they may need more time and persuasion.

4) Informational Intent

The last type of intent is called informational intent. When someone makes a search with informational intent they are going online to answer a specific question or to gather more information on a topic. For example someone with informational intent may go online to find out when the first day of fall is.

Optimizing Your Website

Now that you know the four kinds of search intent it is time to look into a few ways to optimize your website to better match a searcher’s intent.

– First, you must make sure your landing page matches the intent of the search term that the user is looking for. If someone’s intent is to look up information then you would not want your landing page to solely try to push them to purchase an item.
– Second, you must think about and study how your audience searches. There are different online tools (that we will go in more detail on later posts) such as Google Webmaster Tools which help to study people’s searches.
– Third, it is necessary to keep not only presented intent but also hidden intent in mind. This means not only looking at what people explicitly are searching for but also what might be implied in the search.
– Lastly, it is important to optimize the content on your website.

Optimizing Your Content

When a person clicks on your website you want to make sure it is set up in a way that they stay on it and don’t immediately click out.

– First, make sure to strategically place keywords throughout your website (this also helps Google know when to display your site on search results).
– Next, use helpful images. If you are explaining a complex idea or a how-to then use images to further emphasize those parts. Third, use metadata and headlines. This helps people navigate through your site easily.
– Lastly, break up long pieces of information into smaller, easy to process chunks. When a person arrives on your website you do not want to scare them off with a long and intimidating paragraph.


Knowing what kind of intent your customers have when searching for your company will help you know how to optimize your website in order to appear higher in results and receive the most relevant clicks. Take some time to brainstorm what exactly the purpose of your website is. Are you trying to sell something or are you try to provide information? Next make sure to go through the website and make it user friendly and use relevant keywords to help with search results. This may be something that you need outside help on. Keep in mind that it is always ok to reach out for help.