What is Search Intent and How Do You Use it for Web Content?

A man in a plaid shirt using his laptop to search online.

Search Intent

Is a term used for the purpose of an online query or search. It is the reason someone is looking online for something. The visitor could be look searching for an answer to a question, or they could just be looking for a specific website to see. Maybe they’re looking to purchase something- whatever the case, the visitor has an intent to search for something online. Knowing an audience’s search intent can help create relevant web content.

Let’s start with the basics. The three most used search intents are for information, exploration, or transactional.


Many searches will include people looking for more information regarding a topic. This information could be about sports, education, research, scholarly, business; the list can go on forever. When people are seeking out information, they’ll typically type a question into a search engine. A popular search engine to use is Google. Google will then use this question to produce the most valuable content regarding the answer to the question. What’s considered valuable? Knowledgeable information. The more detailed and relevant the information, the higher the Google rankings.


Next, users will search a specific website. They already know where they want to go, and they will explore the website they are looking for. When creating a website name, make sure it is easy to read and remember for users. Make it suitable for your company or business. For example: if your website is sports-related, then make your name sports-related. Making the website name significant to what your business is helping users remember where to visit/shop.


Finally, the third search intent is transactional. People are searching the web with the intent to buy something. It could be for travel, insurance, clothes, health products, etc. The possibilities are endless.

A laptop screen showing a green checkout icon.

How do you make relevant content by knowing the search intent?

Easy, by using keyword intent. If someone is looking to buy something, then the web content better be using keywords such as purchase, buy, spend, shopping. Informational searches are a little different because they don’t have to have keywords like info or learn; you’ll need keywords regarding the topic being searched. For instance: suppose someone wanted to know about places to hike in Washington state. You wouldn’t necessarily need to put information on Washington state trails; you could just put best trails in Washington state.

It’s vital to write with intent when you do any content writing, whether for informational, exploration, or transactional. The audience needs the most accessible access and clarity when searching for things online.