Search Intent For SEO Writing: The 3 Intents And How To Optimise For Them

Search intent is an often forgotten method of writing for SEO targeting – Search intent for SEO writing is super important to keep in mind for every article you write.

I’ll go through my method for search intent focused writing in this post, which I’ve also put on Medium and Facebook.


First of all; what is search intention? Search intention in it’s most basic form is the reason behind the user’s query. Which then becomes the ‘profile’ of content that Google and other search engines will suggest to the user.

You might know that Google works off relevance. It’d be no good if search engines recommended content purely based on the creation time or length of the article. This then becomes the crutch of SEO.

How can I make Google see my website and recommend it in the search results?

You’re in the right place though, I’ll go through everything you need to know to make your next post align perfectly to the user’s intention.

Why Search Intent Is Important For SEO

As I mentioned before, Google and other search engines operate on a basis of relevance. Their crawlers work their way through your content and will score it based on some criteria.

Why would Google suggest results that don’t align to the search intent. Google wouldn’t suggest BMW‘s main car page if the search query was: ‘Top 10 electric cars’:

Search Intent For SEO Writing - top 10 electric cars

Instead, you get mainly independent but still high profile car magazines and publications.

What this should be telling you is that whilst you can’t really cover off every search, you can at least make the content you produce super focused and useful. This will get you to rank higher in the search results – meaning you get more traffic to your website.

The 3 Search Intents

Search engines generally categorise all search queries into the below intents:

  • Informational
  • Transactional
  • Navigational

What on Earth to these mean?

Informational Intent

This intent comes from the search query wanting to learn something. Top 10 lists, FAQs or Wikipedia are all good examples of results for people with informational intent.

And this is reflected in the actual content of the results – Wikipedia isn’t trying to use affiliate marketing to make money, they just have very details content so that the search query can be answered.

An example of an informational search query would be:

How many tires does a car have?

Transactional Intent

Transactional means that the people making the search query is looking to buy something. The results would typically be an online store looking to sell a product or service.

An example of a transactional search query would be:

Where to buy tires?

Navigational Intent

To me, this is the least useful category to fall into. It means that someone is looking for a specific website or service.

The only example I can think of for this would be:

Halfords Tire Fitting

This search clearly shows the user trying to find a specific webpage.

Search Intent For SEO Writing: The Problem

The problem with the above search intents is that they don’t really give enough information to have a fair playing field. Often leading to companies with more money to through into ranking, winning.

No matter how many ‘Top 10 electric car’ posts you produce, it’s very unlikely that you’ll beat the likes of Top Gear, Autocar and What Car?

The same goes for searches around VPNs or personal finance, they are dominated by a few large players and are almost impossible to crack into.

What can be done?

I tend to focus on the type; format and angle of my posts to get the best results possible. Search engines love originality and can tell when you’ve just copy and pasted something and reuploaded it to your blog. This is especially true with images, instead of quickly grabbing some stock images from Unsplash, try taking the picture yourself or get creative!


The type is easy for me, it’s blog posts. But this could also be: videos; landing pages; or product pages.

When you know what you want to rank for, look at the top results that already display. This will give you a better idea for the sort of content that will actually rank. If all the results are for specific manufacturers, then you might find it harder to rank with a generic article.

For example, if I search Google for ‘Best shovels’, all the results go to blogs or publications versus a specific product page:

best shovels????

From this, you can gather that Google won’t show a specific shovel from one manufacturer. The search is informational and information shall be given!

The best way to rank for this sort of search is to write personalised posts around your own experience with the product or service. Give your own opinion, with your own images and paint your own picture.


Again, this is fairly simple for me as I mainly product step-by-step how to guides, although my opinion does often creep in!

Other formats could be: reviews; comparisons; or lists.

Again, from the image above for the best shovels – you can see that the dominating format are lists. They provide a number of different products and compare then in a clear list format.

From this, you can take that the searcher wants to have a number of options along with varying opinions rather than a single product page.


This is the unique aspect of each search result. Whilst there’s no clear trend in the shovels search, you could argue that each post if trying to create their own article.

Instead of trying to rank just for ‘best shovel’, they might instead be trying to rank for an easier keyword like ‘best shovel for gardening’ or ‘best shovel for sand’.

This provides a unique reason for someone to click on their result rather than getting lost in a sea of results that all offer the same thing.

By far the simplest and somewhat lazy way to create a new angle is to use ‘2024’ or whatever year you happen to exist in. This shows to the searcher that your result is new and potentially the most relevant to that moment in time.



So I’ve covered the three search intents along with three ways to get a better grasp on how to rank higher for them.

It’s important though to draft, write and publish and article with a singular goal in mind. Trying to mix the intents into a single article leads to the intent not being clear, leading to search engines being more reluctant to rank you higher in the suggested results.

TLDR, use the below phrase to better remember the 3 intents.

Give info to formational; sell to transactional and direct for navigational

If you want to see my full process for writing these articles, check that out here.

Thanks for reading, I hope you learnt a lot.

Enjoy! 🎉

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