Using Google To Understand Search Intent

Getting to grips with search intent is vital for any business looking to improve its online content strategy. Since the introduction of Google’s Bert update sites which have not understood or focussed on search intent have suffered considerably. In short, the Bert update improves the way Google understands and analyzes search queries, making search intent one of the (if not the) most important ranking factor. Search intent benefits also go beyond simply ranking in Google, it can improve conversions and outcomes on goals being set, as they better help you understand your target audience.

To help you understand the ins and outs of search intent, this guide explores everything you need to know about search intent and how you can utlize Google to understand exactly what they are looking for and what keywords align with audience intent.

Table of Contents

What Is Search Intent?

First thing’s first – what exactly is search intent?

Search intent or user intent is essentially the primary purpose of an online search. For instance, if a user wants to make their own tacos they may use the search term ‘easy taco recipes’, which is a different intent from someone who wants to order takeout tacos who may search ‘takeaway tacos’.

The topic may be similar, however, Google will pick up the specific intent and will show the user the answer they want. Google’s Bert update has improved search intent significantly, as Google will rank pages based on how well they fit the user’s intent.

What Is Fractured Search Intent?

You may have heard the term fractured search intent or mixed intent getting thrown around. This basically means that the keywords used in a search fall under several intents. For example, if you search for Apple, the search engine results will be mixed and may show the fruit, Apple the company, a name or even the city – the Big Apple.

To differentiate mixed search engine page results, Google utilises three interpretations; dominant, common and minor. If you are looking to rank for keywords with various search intents, it’s important that you consider the content intent rather than just the search intent. This can be achieved by focusing on the four different types of searches which will help you distinguish your products or services and the main intent.

What Are the Four Types Of Searches?

Here are the four main search types you need to consider in order to establish search and content intent:


A search with an informational intent is basically any user query looking for specific information, for instance, a definition or a recipe. This is one of the most common search types, as this enables users to find answers to numerous questions. 

Local search intent may also tie in with informational intent if local search intent keywords are used. For example, if a user is looking for a restaurant in a specific area they may search ‘Manchester restaurants’ which will enable them to narrow down their choices.


Preferential intent, commonly known as commercial investigation, is used to describe narrowed-down searches. More often than not, this is the realm of affiliate websites, due to the lucrative opportunity these search queries offer.

At this point, the user will have already found information from the original informational search and they have now moved onto researching specific products, companies and services to help them make a final decision on what they are searching for. For example, they may be looking for the best television or comparing SEO tools.


A user with transactional intent is typically looking to make a purchase and already has all the information they need to make the right choice. For instance, say they are looking to purchase new sandals, they may search ‘women’s sandals’ or ‘sandals shop near me’ for a local intent search. With a search like this, you should expect the first results to be shopping or paid results, as well as reviews and map locations.


Navigational intent is either when a user is looking for the directions to a specific location or for a specific website, web page or product. For example, they may search for a specific local restaurant’s menu, which will require local intent or the login page for their favourite music platform.

How To Track Search Intent

As there are so many different search types, it’s important that you keep track of search intent as this will influence the keywords you use as well as your content strategy. There are various ways to track search intent, including:

Find the Right Keywords

To ensure your website ranks, it’s vital that you find keywords that fit perfectly with specific search intent. At Digital Rainmaker, we use various keyword tools, which help us decide which keywords are the strongest, based on search intent, keyword difficulty and search volume. We also typically filter keywords depending on the type of search required.

Research the SERPs

If you are wondering how to use the SERP to influence your content strategy, then the first thing you need to do is compile a list of your primary keywords and conduct a separate Google search for each one. The top ranking results will reveal the primary search intent for each keyword which will help you repurpose your content and attract website traffic. 

Google’s People Also Ask function for search intent is also beneficial, as it gives you direct insight into what questions users are asking. If you are wondering how to use ‘People Also Ask’ for search intent, all you need to do is type in a keyword or query and you should find the ‘People Also Ask’ which will include some of the most commonly asked questions related to specific keywords.

Monitor Search Intent

SERPs are volatile, which means search intent can change at any given moment. This means you need to keep a careful watch out, as you need to make sure that your content aligns with the ever-changing search intent. Ahrefs offers a very useful way of monitoring search intent shifts over time, which they cover in this clip from minute 8:30.

Final Thoughts

Now you have a better understanding of search intent, it’s time to start thinking about your content strategy and how it ties in with search intent. At Digital Rainmaker, we have a team of experienced SEO and content experts who can help you significantly improve your rankings and profits by implementing an effective search intent content strategy that is guaranteed to increase rankings, boost brand awareness, drive traffic to your website and most importantly gain profits. 

To find out more about how we can help you achieve success online, book us in for a free consultation, which will help us get to know your business, while also enabling you to understand the benefits of working with an SEO agency.

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