How Can You Identify User Intent?

Knowing how to identify user intent helps your company reach its target audience in a more effective way. If you are wanting conversions instead of reaching users that will never engage with your company, learning how to narrow your audience can lead to greater conversions.Improving your search engine optimization, also known as SEO, is a great way to enhance your business. One of the first places to start when trying to optimize your business is looking into the user’s search intent.

What Is User Intent? 

User intent is also known as audience or search intent. This is figuring out how and what your target audience searches for. Search engines are great at this. When a user types something into Google, recommendations appear for what the search engine predicts that the user is trying to type. These aren’t just guessing, but they narrow it down through popular phrases others are searching for as well. Knowing those specific keywords is how businesses can use user intent to target the audience directly.

Different Types of User Intent

Everyone searches for something with a specific intent in mind. This could be to find a recipe or go to your favorite clothing brand’s website, either way, each person has an intent behind their search. There are three main intents when a user is searching. These are navigational, informational, and transactional or commercial.

know user intent

Navigational Intent

Navigational intent is when the user is searching for a certain website. These are brand keywords that tell the search engine exactly where to go because it is a name of a company. An example of this if you want to go to a certain coffee shop’s website, so you type in the business name. The search engine will then direct you specifically to this page.

How to Use Navigational Intent?

Using navigational intent is pretty clear because if a user is searching for your business specifically, they are very likely to find it. Competition may come up through competitive ads, but the user typically has the intent of wanting to find a very specific website. If you are a service or product though, adding keywords of other companies’ names to your targeted ads could make the user second guess what they are really wanting. This usually is only with a deal or another call to action (CTA) that drives a user in to your site.

Informational Intent

Informational intent is when the user is looking to learn something. They typically ask a question that starts with “how,” “what,” or “why.” An example of this is asking “how to make the best coffee?” The user asks a question, and it is answered.

user intent different

How to Use Informational Intent?

Using informational intent connects with on-page SEO. Search engines pull keywords from your website to make sure what the user can find what they are searching for. Heading and tags put on your website reinforce these keywords for the search engine. If you use full sentences in your headings of articles and other posts, it better matches what the user is searching for. This allows your SEO ranking to improve because you are saying exactly what the user is searching for.

Transactional Intent

A transactional intent is when a user wants to take an action. The action isn’t always making a purchase, but it can include anything a user could “do.” They might sign up for a consultation, write an email, or visit your store. Either way, your company receives an action from the user.

How to Use Transactional Intent

Using transactional intent is all about letting the user know an action they can take. You want to make a strong call to action by making it clear what will happen if the user selects your website over another. People use this when trying to compete with rivals. Companies could say phrases like, “free shipping,” “20% off,” or “subscribe now” to get users to click. To be most effective with transactional intent, you want to think about the landing page the users are seeing. In fact, 95% of users form their opinion of a website in under a second, solely based on design. This means your business needs to be clear and present itself in a visually appealing way to keep customers engaged with your brand.

consumer intent

How Does Knowing Intent Help Your Business?

Knowing how your users are searching puts you directly in front of consumers who will engage with your business. You don’t have to wait for your potential customer to find your website. Through keywords, you can form phrases and descriptions around each intent. Every kind of intent has a best and unique way to word things. You want to make sure that your business can reach through every kind intent. If you only focus on the transitional approach, you aren’t gaining trust or giving your user any additional information they didn’t already know. Most searches have an informational intent behind them, so providing that can help establish your credibility with the customer. If you can provide these small things, it can lead to bigger leads for your business.

How to Find Search Intent?

If you are wanting to identify your user’s intent, but you are having a difficult time knowing where to start, here are some tips for you.

Where to Start

When finding the keywords to look for, it is best to know about your company first. If you don’t know what your company’s mission is, figuring out keywords will be impossible. Everything in your business should be strategic, even knowing how to identify how users search the internet.

Next Steps

After you have asked yourself what you can provide to the user, look at what you can offer the user with different intents in mind. If your company can meet the user at each intent, it can help establish trust for when the user is ready to make a purchase. This requires phrasing things differently so one doesn’t come off too pushy or doesn’t jump out at the user.

Learning Keywords

Keywords are very important in user intent. They can help your audience find your business through what they are searching for. Looking at data from your analytics from your website can help figure out how your customers get from point A (searching) to point B (your website.) These analytics can be looked at through Google Analytics to receive a full rundown on the organic traffic coming into your website. There are multiple ways to improve how you find the keywords for your website. You just have to figure out which one works best for your audience.

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Other Ways to Identify User Search

Besides focusing on keywords that your audience is searching, there are other ways to find the intent behind the search. These include:

  • Taking surveys from your customers. These can be sent out in an email or after making a purchase, so your customers can tell you how they found you or give you feedback to improve on.
  • Using social media. You can ask directly on social media how and why people found your business. Users will typically tell you exactly what they want and how they want it. You can also ask through indirect ways to try and get an overall look at the consumers of your brand.
  • Listening to your company reviews. Looking at what others are saying about your business can be extremely helpful. They could offer suggestions on the way your website is laid out or by giving you praise for something your company does, either way, responding and acting from the reviews can help identify what users want.

How does User Search Benefit SEO?

User search and SEO go hand and hand. When you focus on getting your website in front of your audience through identifying how your users search, this benefits your SEO. It helps check the boxes of all of your on-page SEO. Adding the right keywords throughout your website makes your website more valuable and provides credibility to the search engines and the users. It also benefits your conversion rate optimization (CRO) which is similar to SEO. These two are hard to separate because with one comes the other. The difference is CRO focuses on converting website visitors to actual customers. SEO focuses on improving your website to show up high on results pages, while also making sure the user has the best experience possible on the website. The user intent is the first step in both these processes. Figuring out how your audience is attracted to your site can help your company make the improvements it needs to enhance the SEO and CRO.

know your users

Identify User Intent for Your Business

Don’t wait around for your audience to come to you! Target them by figuring out how they are searching. Once you have an idea of how your users reach you, your conversions will skyrocket. SEO Design Chicago wants your company to reach its target audience efficiently. Let us walk you through how we can help find the right audience which will improve your overall return of investment and company growth.


  • How does user intent improve SEO?
  • What is user intent?
  • How to understand user intent?
  • What are the common types of user intent?
  • How to create keywords for each user intent?


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