What is Search Intent?

In the not so distant past, the results Google populated was based on the keywords users searched for. They would show you results based on exactly the keyword searched for, even if it was a spelling mistake. As time went on, for the sake of relevancy and improving the user experience, Google became smarter and acquired more and more data to be able to propose results for users based on what Google thinks they are looking for, even if it includes misspellings.

what is search intent

Here is a simple example of search intent for a search for search intent. Google assumed we were searching for “search intent” so showed us results for that, as opposed to the misspelling of “seacch intent”.

So instead of just exact keywords, Google now shows results based on “search intent”. There are different types of intent that Google looks for, such as 1. when you are looking for information, 2. when you are searching for a specific site or result, 3. when you want to buy something, 4. when you are searching for something near you like a local shop (which can be based on more things than just your search like the device you are using), and finally, 5. which still can be the exact keyword (this can be things like a part number or article title).

So where does that leave us in the SEO world? Well you may hear things like Latent Semantic Indexing which are complex algorithms that don’t serve us much purpose in a solution perspective because we aren’t mathematicians or bot builders but instead can help us from an SEO strategy perspective in how to approach content building. The takeaway for us is that our approach towards SEO of being a human based content and business building exercise are more important than ever. And Google does reiterate this constantly with their emphasis on quality content (which was actually the basis for a few of their algorithm updates).