Search Intent - 6 Types that you Should Know

The great thing about Search Engines, especially Google Search Engine is that you can get the intent of the search with Keyword Research and monitoring tools. You don’t have to guess what your prospects are searching for. There are six categories of searches:

Intent of Search

1) Brand search: Is the most common type of search used in search engines. Your website and you social media accounts should rank for this category. Brand keywords include:

<Company Name>

<Company Name> <Product Name>

<Product Name> prices

<Product Name> features/technical specifications

<Product Name> guarantee

Let us take the example of a smart phone that I had recently bought. 

Brand keywords

As you can see from the visited URL, I didn't visit the Company's website but a third party review site to learn more about the product. But for starters, your company's website should rank for Brand keywords like the ones mentioned above before any other third party websites. If you are not ranking for the keywords mentioned above then you need to re-evaluate the site structure, content management system, the source code and .htaccess file(to check whether you have not set any rules that are hindering crawlability of your website). 

2) Research search: is the second most common type of search. We used this type of key phrases to find out what customers are saying about a product. The most common set of keywords for this search are:

<Company Name> <Product Name> review

<Company Name> <Product Name> sucks 

<Company Name> <Product Name> high price

<Company Name> <Product Name> poor/bad/great/good <feature>

Let us suppose that your prospect have heard rumors that your company(say Company Z) provides poor customer service, then they would start their research with the key phrase

"Company Z poor customer service"

If your product is valued at a high price then prospects would search and find out what other customers are saying about your product. More importantly, whether it is worth investing in your products?

Example: Software X high price

It is difficult to get visitors for research key phrases but understanding how prospects search will allow you to focus on critical metrics rather than just increasing the number of visitors to your website.

Research Search

3) Informational search: This type of search query might not immediately get you customers but will give you leads that you can nurture and convert to customers. Our recommendation is that all companies, from 1 man start-ups to mid-size companies to multi-million dollar companies, everyone should allot at least 8-10 hours every week on writing blogs. The blogs ideally should cater to information search that your prospects are using or on problems that your products/services are trying to solve. 

Typical Information search starts with "How to", "Ways to", "Tips to", "What is" etc.

If you are in the Business of providing 'Internet Marketing Solutions' then you have to educate your prospects with articles like: 

How to pick the right keyword matching option

10 Tips to Reduce Bounce Rate

4) Navigational search: Once you have built a brand, people would like to know your thoughts and approach on solving a problem in your niche. 

For example:

You know that you get a wide variety of products on eBay. Instead of visiting the website and using the 'Search Box' or the wide range of category pages, you will search for 

General Navigational Searches

You can see above that you get a sub-category(Goggles) and a brand(Reebook) for your "SunGlass" search

This search is normally used by a regular visitor. It is important that you don't ignore Navigational searches and optimize your pages for these search phrases. If you have done the basics right (Relevant Title/Keywords and Meta-Tag Description), users can easily reach your internal pages with Navigational Search. 

For Advanced searchers and SEOs the searches would look like:

Informational Search Example

5) Commercial search: gives hints on whether your prospects will buy your product. Lot of commercial key phrases overlaps with the Research Search but common commercial search will have specific feature themes in it. 

For Example: Suppose your 'Internet Marketing' software has one plan that help SEO professionals monitor 1000 keywords on 'Search Engine Results page', then Commercial search would look like:

Company X Plan A 1000 keyword limit

Company X Plan A keyword limit

Most commercial keywords would be about your niche and would focus on features. You have to understand that prospects starts with Research Search phrases like "Company X Plan A" review and once the prospect is educated about the various features under this plan, he will go one step deeper into the features.

Commercial search often results in visits to your product/service page. You have to use the copy accordingly. It should answer your prospect's question.

Commercial Search Example

Unfortunately for Samsung, they are not ranking(in top 10)  for the commercial search, but they have cleverly used a Samsung wave 2 Ad highlighting the Camera Feature 3.7" Full Touch in it (passing the answer to the potential customer). The good reviews that are ranking in the top 3 results will help the company get the sale.

6) Transactional search

The most profitable keyword category is the Transactional Search. People often assume that Transactional search means phrases that results in a sale like "Buy iPhone 4”, " Buy iPhone 4 <City Name> <Street name>", but that is far from true. Transaction can be:

1) Purchase

2) Sign-Up or

3) Download

1) Purchase Key Phrases: can be anything that starts with "Buy", "Get", "Discount" etc.


Buy iPhone4 

Get Loan at 5.5% Interest Rate

15% Discounts on Samsung Smart Phones

Discount Code for Samsung wave

2) Sign-Up Key Phrases can be anything that starts with "Sign-Up", "Newsletter Sign-Up", "How to Sign-up"

3) Download Key Phrases can be anything that starts with "Free <document type/Topic> Downloads, Download <type> or <Topic> Free/Download"


Download Whitepaper on Internet Marketing

Free Internet Marketing Downloads

Internet Marketing Downloads/Rapidshare/Megaupload

Transactional Search Example

As you can see, prospects will compare the prices mentioned in the search results and might pick one according to the meta-description provided. 

To optimize your pages and campaign to get more leads: 

1) Focus on how your prospects search. 

2) Perform keyword research in your niche. 

3) Find out how your competitors are attracting prospects to their website.

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