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User Intent Demystified (with Examples) in 950 Words

Behind every Google ‘search’ is user intent.

  • A problem (reason for the search), and a
  • Human being (the user) looking for a solution to satisfy that ‘intent.’


  1. What does ‘user intent’ mean?
  2. What is the ‘importance’ of user intent?
  3. What are ‘best practices’ for user intent?

Let’s dive straight in and demystify ‘user intent’ using examples.

What is User Intent (with Example)

User intent (also known as ‘search intent’) is the main goal a person (the user) has when typing a query (keyword/s) into a search engine, like Google.


  • You are 12 years old and it’s your first day of high school today.
  • You must wear a tie every day or you will be sent home.
  • You want to learn ‘how to tie a tie’ and now!

Note: Nobody else is around to teach you.

Your Goal

So you head to Google and search “how to tie a tie quickly.”

User Searches Google with a Particular Purpose:

You are in a ‘big rush’ so click on the first result without thinking much.

But after reading the:

  • Steps
  • Checking the images

You quickly realise this is not the ‘fast’ solution you need.

User Search Purpose is Not Satisfied with First Result Clicked:

So you quickly hit the ‘back’ button on your browser.

Return to the search results and find exactly what you are looking for!

It’s a 46 second video (perfect because you are in a rush), and it says it can be done (quickly and easily) in under 10 seconds – perfect.

User Search Purpose is Satisfied with Second Result Clicked:

And if other users are ‘satisfied’ with this result (like you), then that ‘result’ is more likely to appear higher in Google search results, so all users can ‘benefit’ from it.

Importance of User Intent (with Examples)

Google’s #1 goal (why it exists) is to satisfy ‘user intent.’

And this is clear in Google’s Search Quality Raters Guidelines (most recent edition here).

Example 1 of User Intent Importance

Google Search Raters Guidelines have a strong focus on user intent.

And there is no need to read the guidelines in full, because as Brian Dean states in this awesome guide on search intentGoogle is ‘obsessed’ with search intent (so enough said).

But for those not familiar with the guidelines, they are a rating system (used by Google employees) to rate websites as either:

  • Good
  • Bad.

That is the ‘guidelines’ (at the simplest level), but for those wanting to know more – be sure to check out this beginners guide, by Search Engine Journal.

Example 2 of User Intent Importance

Google even breaks down user intent into different areas.

The fact that Google breaks down ‘user intent’ says it all.

Navigational, informational and transactional intent are the 3 main types (as defined in previous image).

And Google breaks it down in their guidelines, because it’s so critical.

Google Even Published A Full Report on Intent!

Example 3 of User Intent Importance

And last (but not least) Google published a report that shouts importance called: “How Search Intent is Redefining the Marketing Funnel.”

Because this report says, even if your content rocks, It will never rank high (in Google), if it does not ‘satisfy’ what matters, and that is user intent.

Identifying User Intent Quickly (with Example)

Brian Dean in this complete guide, covers best practices comprehensively.

And the complete guide: how to identify intent in search by SEMrush, is an awesome resource for knowing ‘everything’, when it comes to intent.

So no need for elaboration.

But, your first step (again as Brian Dean states), is never to write a word (and waste any time), before comprehensively understanding ‘user intent’ for a keyword.

And the best way is not to reinvent the wheel.

Simply go to Google (for example ‘deadliest spiders’).

User Searches Google with a Particular Purpose:

And check what is already ranking (in position 1 –  see example).

And position 2 (here):

And position 3 (here):

And then:

  • Read
  • Summarise
  • Analyse

Why (and remember this is art and science – like copywriting is) these results are ranking highly for that keyword.

  • Does it solve the problem quickly?
  • Does it solve the problem comprehensively?
  • Does it solve the problem quickly and comprehensively while injecting personality?

Those are always your starting questions, but if in doubt, you may need to probe deeper, with more high-level research on the topic.

And while the ‘top 3 results’ will most of the time provide ‘user intent’ answers, you sometimes may need to dissect other results on the first page.

This may be required where ‘user intent’ is mixed.

For example, where intent is a mixture of ‘informational’ (looking for information) and ‘commercial’ (looking to buy).

Adwords and Analytics, discussed in this resource, are 2 other great ways to determine user intent.

But for quick and easy remember: Go straight to the top 3 results in Google (where the money is!).


Enough said. Because these 3 reasons describe why it’s critical.

Fail to address it and potentially waste serious time. ‘Address it’ and be on the path to winning any SEO campaign!

That’s ‘user intent’ demystified in 950 words.

Over to You…

Do you agree with User Intent Demystified (with Examples) in 950 Words? Or is there something missing, or you would like to add?? Would love to hear from you in the comments – any feedback is greatly appreciated.

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