User intent, otherwise known as query intent or search intent, is the identification and categorization of what a user online intended or wanted to find when they typed their search terms into an online web search engine for the purpose of search engine optimisation or conversion rate optimisation. Examples of user intent are fact-checking, comparison shopping or navigating to other websites.
Optimizing For User Intent
To increase ranking on search engines, marketers need to create content which best satisfies queries entered by users in their smartphones or desktops. Thus, creating content keeping the intent of the user in mind helps in increasing the value of the information being showcased.
Google can show SERP features such as featured snippets, knowledge cards or knowledge panels for queries where the search intent is clear. SEO practitioners take this into account because Google can often satisfy the user intent without having the user leave Google SERP. The better Google gets in figuring out user intent, the less users are going to click on search results. As of 2019, less than half of Google searches result in clicks.
Though there are various ways of classifying the categories of user intent, overall, they tend to follow the same clusters. Until recently, there were three broad categories: informational, transactional, and navigational. However, after the rise of mobile search, other categories have appeared or have segmented into more specific categorisation. For example, as mobile users may want to find directions to or information about a specific physical location, some marketers have proposed categories such as "local intent", as in searches like "XY near me". And there is commercial search intent as well, which is when someone searches for a product or service to know more about it or compare other alternatives before finalizing their purchase.
See the Major types with examples below:
Informational Intent: Donald Trump, Who is Maradona?, How to lose weight?
Navigational Intent: Facebook login, Wikipedia contribution page
Transactional Intent: Latest iPhone, amazon coupons, cheap dell laptop, fence installers
Commercial Intent: top headphones, best marketing agency, x protein powder review,
Local Search Intent: restaurants near me, nearest gas station,
Many search queries also have mixed search intent. For example when someone searches: "best iPhone repair shop near me." This can easily happen with homonyms and such SERPs tend to be volatile because user signals differ.
- Keyword research
- Intent marketing
- Search engine result page
- Principle of least astonishment
- Mobile marketing
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