Many website owners today see sudden rises in traffic and rankings, and begin to feel giddy and excited.

But suddenly… after just a few days of being on the first page of Google’s rankings… you shoot back to the last spot on the 3rd page.

What Happened?!?

Well… to be put simply – if your website fails to meet a user’s search intent, you will not be serving the user properly. And Google will notice this.

Failing to recognize your audiences search intent can be a huge deterrent for traffic, and lead to huge losses if you aren’t careful.

In this article we are going to take a look at how to gauge your users’ search intent, and how to create great content that will back you up once users reach your site. The lessons learned in this article can lead to higher conversions, longer session times, and will help you maintain your rankings for longer.

Down low on Search Intent

What Is Search Intent?

Blue Corona defines search intent as so:

The search intent definition is the consumer’s intent, or real meaning, behind Google searches—the “why” of the keywords. It’s also known as a commercial or buyer’s intent.”

Basically, all it means is this: what the user is trying to achieve through their search. Whether that be through finding information or buying an item. Every search has some sort of intention behind it.

In order to understand this concept on a deeper level, we will need to dive into the 4 different forms of search intent:

Informational Intent

When the searcher is looking for information, like an answer to a question or a solution to a problem

Example: Sally was wondering when her deadline was to apply for college. So she searched up ‘university of calgary application deadline’ and found out she still had time to submit her application. 

Transactional Intent

When the searcher is looking to buy an item or service from a store or service provider

Example: John heard about a new product he was interested in, so he searched “acme lawn mower 3000 for sale” and found an amazing deal for it on Amazon.

Investigational Intent

When the searcher is researching product or service information with an intent to buy at a later time.

Example: Lacy heard about a new mascara line, but was unsure if she should buy the set right away. So she searched for reviews talking about the pros and cons of the product.

When a searcher is looking to navigate to a specific website

Example: Mark heard about a popular social media site he wanted to join. So he searched “facebook” in Google to find the website.

If you can optimize your website to line up with a searcher’s intent – you can do amazing things to your rankings and conversion rates. 

How To Determine Your Users’ “Search Intent”

Customer satisfaction is Google’s top priority nowadays, especially when it comes to search engine optimization. If your site fails to meet a searchers expectations – Google will see this – believe me…

So First things first – why are users coming to your website? Are they there to buy things or find information? Take a look at your website’s topic and how you are serving your content to your users. Are you running a blog or educational resource directory? What is the point of your website?

determining a users search intent

What Is The Purpose Of Your Website?

Many websites can get lost in their own identity with so much competition floating around. Don’t try to be too many things at once. You need to establish your site’s presence and be known for something unique.

If you are running an educational website giving out information about living with a certain disease or condition – make sure your posts are properly answering people’s questions quickly, and leading them in the right direction towards more information. The purpose of a resources website is to serve lots of information to people in an organized fashion.

Own an online store? Make sure your customers are reaching the products they want without being hounded by popups, signup forms or slow loading web pages. The purpose of your store is to sell products to people when they want to buy it, and the more hoops you throw in means less sales.

Successfully gauging search intent in your users begins at your customer satisfaction.

Are You Ranking For The Proper Keywords?

Many sites see their pages ranking for strange keywords, and within a few months they vanish from the rankings entirely. This is because of search intent. That website wasn’t lined up with what searchers were looking for. Google noticed that, and plucked them from the rankings.

You would be better off using a keyword research tool to see what your users are searching for, and how they are doing it.

Use Keyword Research Tools To Determine Search Intent

So what keyword tools should I use? Well, I personally use tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush to find all the information I need on the keywords I want to target. The software behind their keyword programs is simply awesome.

Now, we need to find the keywords related to your website.

using keyword research tools to determine search intent

Using a tool like Ahrefs keyword explorer tool will let you have access to a wide range of data behind your keywords such as keyword difficulty and monthly search volumes. You can also see phrase matching keywords and keyword ideas.

This is essential to gauging search intent. From here, you can see what users are searching for, their related searches, and all the data behind those keywords. This is great tool for determining why searchers are using these keywords, and the true intent behind them.

You should give it a try! You would be amazed at the amount of information and ideas you can garner from these tools.

There is one drawback to these tools – and that’s cost. However, some of them have basic free plans you can try or free trials. So you don’t have to fork up a ton of cash just to see if the tool is right for you.

How To Write Great Content That Meets A User’s Intentions

Once you have determined what the right keywords are for your website – you need to learn how to write great content around those keywords that serves the correct purpose.

Write detailed answers to questions, and make sure not to over-stuff your keyword. Your titles should also be related to the keyword. Take care to only create one exact matching keyword title in your H1 tag. This is very important.

Do NOT stray off-topic. You can write 3000 words of amazing content, but if you stray off-topic, and start talking about things that aren’t related to the original topic – you can lose your user even after you have answered there question resulting in a lost lead. That is a big no no!

great content writing means staying on topic

Create high-quality content that is fluff free. People don’t want to read through a bunch of marketing hooey, just give them the information they came here for and leave them be. They will appreciate the courtesy… believe me!

So try to keep the answer to your questions near the top of your article or post. Draw the user in further by agreeing with their problem, and offering different solutions/reasons to help them solve their conundrum.

You want to avoid a broad range of sub-topics/headings under your original topic. Keep your post/article/blog tight-knit and take them on a journey.

The different ideas you come up with can be written about in other articles, and shouldn’t be thrown in just to create a higher word count.


Many websites target the wrong keywords, and fail to serve the correct content to searchers everyday. This lack of awareness behind search intent needs to stop. Just because a website can garner traffic and bring in numbers doesn’t mean it’s succeeding.

Optimizing a website can be a tough job…. so make sure you are optimizing for the right things first and foremost. Getting caught up chasing keywords that can result in little-to-no results is a very common occurrence.

Target the proper keywords that relate back to your target demographics search intent. This will be the foundation behind your core content strategy.

If you need any help determining the search intent of the users coming to your site, or anything to do with SEO – give us a call today. Go Top Shelf is a professional digital marketing agency that specializes in white hat search engine optimization. We will properly gauge your user’s search intent and land you the traffic that is right for your site.

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