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How To Write For User Search Intent

Search engine optimisation was hard enough without having to throw more vague terminology into the mix, but user intent, otherwise called search intent, is critical to the overall success of your SEO.

Search engines are past merely ranking webpages based on their keyword density and the sheer volume of backlinks. These crawlers are capable of recognising why the user is searching for those specific terms and generates results accordingly. This ensures a more relevant experience for the searcher and means that you, fellow copywriter, have to work that much harder to place yourself at the top of the SERPs.

In this blog post, we’ll examine the types of user intent, how to write SEO-friendly content for them, and give you top tips for how to get one over on your competitors. Helpful, right?


  • Transactional Queries
  • Informational Queries
  • Navigational Queries

Google categorises search intent into three main groups: Do. Know. Go. Let’s start with our first type of user intent.

Do: Transactional Queries:

These searches are typically from people wanting to buy a product, book a service, or find a specific company/brand. These people have a direct interest in purchasing, so it’s vital to include the right keywords to match the searcher’s motivation.

How To Write For Transactional User Intent:

If you have an e-commerce website, then you’ll need to ensure your SEO is on point for every product page and informational page. You may be using plug-ins to do your search engine optimisation for you, but they aren’t always accurate, so it’s important that you regularly check all meta titles, meta descriptions and alt text for higher rankings on search engine results pages. Site maps with accurate information are a crucial part of an e-commerce site, too.

You want to make sure you are sticking to white hat SEO techniques, find out more here.

Top Tips For Optimisation:

Drive straight to accurate product pages. Make your customer journey to the checkout page fast and seamless. Keywords with discounts/promotions/a hook offer fair better.

Know: Investigation Queries:

These are from searchers who may have the intention of finding out more information about a particular product solution, industry, brand, or service, but are not quite at the active buyer stage. They are researching, reading reviews, and learning.

How To Write For Investigation User Intent:

Get to grips with the questions people are asking in your industry and niche. Actively pursue long-tail keyword research and write content that contains those keywords. You must provide knowledge and value, so that the searcher learns something from your site and ultimately, it ranks.

Top Tips For Optimisation:

People that are searching for information, will be wanting to gain expert knowledge, quickly. Bullet points of keywords and important factors. Don’t go too heavy with jargon and keep in mind your list of long-tail keywords. Remember, you’re trying to answer the specific question that the searcher has here. Start titles with How To’s, Why’s, The Best’s.

Know: Informational Queries:

These can be a person trying to find broad information about a topic. A mobile user attempting to get information right there and then, about a micro-moment. These searches often carry a time-sensitive aspect to them.

How To Write For Informational User Intent:

Aim for short blocks of text that briefly describe a particular topic. Your aim here, is to get your content to position zero, otherwise called featured snippets.

Top Tips For Optimisation:

Again, long-tail keyword density is important, but the user probably isn’t looking for an essay. Breaking up your text into various subsections could be beneficial here. For example, if you’re writing a recipe blog post, beak up the text into ingredients, method, nutritional information and always add links to relevant recipes that pair well with it. Much like investigative searchers, are looking to be educated.

Go: Navigational Queries:

These searches are typically known for being related to a particular location, action, or website and are often branded.

How To Write For Navigational User Intent:

Make sure your Google My Business Page is all set up and functioning correctly. Users with navigational intent will be looking for directions, local websites, reviews, and opening times, so it’s vital that you update your business listing regularly. In addition, creating listings on local directories, like Yelp and strip Advisor will be beneficial, also. Not to mention adding a valuable backlink to your site from a trusted webpage.

Top Tips For Optimisation:

When conducting keyword analysis, filter your results to specific countries, regions, or even towns and cities to get a more accurate picture of what people around your area are searching for. Include these keywords in your listings and on relevant pages on your website.

Okay, but what about searches that fit into more than one of these categories?

How do search engines interpret and rank sites when a search has multiple meanings?

Dominant interpretation: What most users mean when they search for that term. The search engine effectively looks back at what most users clicked on, bounced on, or purchased from/interacted with and displays links that have proved to be popular in the past.

Common interpretation: Cover all bases and display links of all potential search interpretations. This may result in inaccurate results, but the search engine has previously exhausted other attempts to rank valuable content.

Minor interpretation: A search that can’t be met by the above two interpretations will be interpreted with local information, instead.

Hopefully, from this article, you’ll have learnt just how important understanding and writing for user intent is in order to rank in the correct places. And you might feel more confident writing for those particular searches.

If you still have questions about the search intent of your visitors, or you don’t have time to create content yourself, drop us a message today.
To find out more about how to create SEO-friendly content, click here to view our SEO guide.

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