Glossary
Back to List Back to List

Search Intent

Search Intent, or search intention, refers to what a user hopes to achieve by performing a search on a search engine.

Also called user intent or audience intent, it represents the explanation of why a person opened Google and performed that search with that specific query.

Every search performed online is driven by a concrete need: searching for information about current events or a specific topic, requesting services, purchasing products, or viewing a specific website.

Understanding and anticipating the need that drives the action and interest of online users is of paramount importance in order to deliver useful and relevant content, and the analysis of user intent has become a key element for SEO, because understanding what drives a user to search online allows one to present content that effectively responds to that intention, thereby improving the visibility and effectiveness of one’s website in a way that better meets the needs of their target audience.

Classically, 5 types of intent are identified:

  • Informational – The user wishes to acquire information on a topic, whether general or specific, with the ultimate goal of expanding their knowledge. Queries may be simple and straightforward, such as “who is the president of the United States?” or “how much is 2+2,” or they may require a more detailed answer, as in the case of “how does blockchain work?” They are not always phrased as questions.
  • Commercial – These are commercial survey queries: the user’s intent is to gather data and information before making a purchase choice, to make an in-depth study of the features of services and products for future purchases because they have not yet made a final decision about which solution is right for them. Examples of these queries include “best 4K televisions,” “which is better iphone or samsung galaxy,” “SEOZoom review,” and “best restaurant in Rome.”
  • Transactional – They target a concrete action on the part of the user, which can be either the acquisition of a product or service (free or paid), a software download, registration to a newsletter, or something else. The user who performs this search is ready for action and transaction (not only economic in nature), is ready to do, as in the case of “buy macbook pro”, “cheap samsung galaxy”, “dazn price” or “download winrar”.
  • Navigational – These are searches performed by a user who is looking for information in a specific context or on a particular site and who already knows the name of a product or brand; usually, they offer as a result the official pages of the referring websites, because according to the search engines the user already has in mind the site on which he intends to navigate and therefore their task is simply to accompany them, obviously providing additional alternatives. Examples are the queries “Facebook” or “Twitter login” and, in general, branded keywords.
  • Local – The user is looking for a resource that is geographically close to their current location (or a stated location). However, analysis of these searches often reveals a broader commercial intent, so they may overlap with commercial searches. Examples of these searches are “plumber near me,” “cheap hotel nearby,” or “best restaurant in Rome.”