Understanding Searcher Intent

Nick Fitzgerald

You may have thought that once your keywords were locked in, it was just a matter of populating your site with those words and calling it a day. It’s just not so. In fact, proper SEO plans call for constant monitoring of keywords. This includes evaluating them for success and understanding what keywords result in what direct action on your site.

Even more niche is incorporating user intent into your keyword strategy. Searcher intent is using the search terms in order to drill down what the searcher is looking for. When a search engine algorithm is up to bat, it will analyze the words used in the search to intuit the intent behind the request in order to deliver the best results.

From a search engine perspective, you wouldn’t want to deliver the same results to a 10th grader writing a term paper as you would to a small business owner seeking a consulting service. Divining Searcher Intent solves this problem and understanding Searcher Intent in regards to SEO can give your site a big boost in ways that result in increased traffic, brand loyalty, or even tangible transactions.

Searcher intent IRL

We use searcher intent in face to face interactions all the time. We just don’t call it that. For our purposes, let’s say you run a record store in Chicago. If a customer comes into your shop, you may ask “What are you looking for today?” From there, the tone of the interaction becomes increasingly clear. You might get a “just browsing” reply. You’ll then know that this person is seeking information on a larger scale, perhaps more generally and aren’t expecting to purchase on that visit. You might give them an overall view of how your merchandise is laid out or where particularly popular sections are found. You also might ask questions that will help you better understand where their interests lie in order to help them get to an album they’re bound to love. At this point, it’s about being useful and building trust with the customer, strengthening your brand with them.

On the other hand, your customer may tell you they’re looking to purchase a specific album or are huge fans of a certain genre. From there, you can easily direct them to items of interest and focus on the immediate sale.

Searcher intent in regards to SEO is exactly like that. Really, most small businesses owners are already doing it, it just gets a fancy name once we apply it to internet or tech behavior.

Differentiating intent

Search engines break intent down into a few different categories.


To use our earlier example, you may assume that the person who answered “just browsing” is performing what we call an informational search. The keywords for an informational search tend to be much more general. A person might type ‘krautrock’ into their navigation bar and their results will likely be something really broad and informational. Wikipedia entries, definitions, curated ‘best of’ lists, these are all the top results in a one-word topical search. The searcher may even get more precise and search for ‘krautrock history’ or ‘what is krautrock?’ You’ll likely get those same results, but perhaps with more of a focus on articles or sites that chronicle the history of this genre of music.


Searcher Intent that is read as transactional by search engine algorithms will deliver an entirely different set of results. When you, as record store owner, asked your new customer, “What are you looking for today?” They replied, “a krautrock album.” You can see how this already feels like more of an intent to purchase. The search results delivered will be websites with articles that list of albums in this genre, plus they’re be an option to click on specific albums that will take you to further information and the option to purchase. A very clearly transactional is a specific album title or even “buy Future Days by Can.” That will give you a wide array of options to buy the product.

How you can incorporate Searcher Intent

You can increase your performance in informational searches by clearly answering the question that’s asked. Let’s say your record store is trying to do more online business and you happen to have an astounding krautrock selection. Reach this customer by ensuring that your digital assets reflect this! Spend time making krautrock one of your keywords and create posts or articles that speak to the history and generalities of the genre. Just like that customer that walked through your door, this is an opportunity to build trust and brand loyalty by becoming a resource.

Transactional searches require that you give clear and direct steps in turning a conversion. If this user is looking for a krautrock album, make sure that it’s simple for them to know that you have it and to purchase it easily. You can capitalize on these searches by having signup forms, submission forms or add to cart buttons very visible throughout your site.

Leave it to AuDSEO

Here at AuDSEO, we’re constantly keeping every aspect of SEO in mind so that you don’t have to. Let us take care of all your SEO marketing needs while you attend to the important work of providing the best hearing health care.