Go Beyond Traditional User Intent With Micro-Intents

user pointing at computer screen

We’re going to assume you’re already familiar with the four major search intents—transactional, informational, navigational, and brand.  What you may not know is that as search engine optimization has continued to evolve, those intents have slowly started to lose relevance. To put it another way, a general idea of what a searcher wants is no longer sufficient. 

You need specifics. What precise content does someone with informational search intent want to find? At what stage of the buyer’s journey is a user with transactional/commercial intent? 

That’s where micro-intents come in. As noted by Search Engine Land, these subcategories of traditional search and user intents offer a better understanding of audience expectations. And that, in turn, can be used to create more targeted, higher-value content.

We’ve listed the different micro-intents below for posterity.  

Informational Micro-Intents

  • Entertainment. Entertainment-focused content is all about passing the time. It can take many different forms but is typically easily digestible. 
  • Definition. If you want an example of definition-focused content, you’re reading it. You came here because you wanted to know what micro-intents are. 
  • Expansional. This type of content is similar to definition-focused but takes a much deeper, more comprehensive dive. 
  • Enablement. Typically, enablement content takes the form of how-to articles and videos. 
  • Overview/Aggregation. Similar to definition/expansional, overview content takes a high-level look at a topic. Examples include infographics and listicles.  

Transactional/Commercial Micro-Intents

  • Comparison. The user is looking to buy but wants to determine which product/brand is the best before they do so. 
  • Category. The user has a general idea of the product or service they want but is still trying to decide on a specific solution. 
  • Product. The user is at the bottom of the funnel and is about to make a purchase—they’re looking to find out a bit more about a product or service before they finalize their decision.  

Brand Micro-Intents

There are actually no specific brand micro-intents to speak of. Generally, branded searches can be positioned under one of the other three categories. With that said, branded searches are typically looking for reviews, testimonials, or other information—anything that one would typically use to build trust. 

Navigational Micro-Intents

  • Support. The user is currently a customer and is looking for help with their product or service. This could take the form of instructional articles, a product-related knowledge base, or contact information for a support professional.
  • Website. Self-explanatory. The user wants to find a specific page, blog post, or social channel. 
  • Location. Similar to the previous intent, except that they’re looking for a location in the real world rather than online. 

How Do You Determine Micro-Intents? 

The good news is that micro-intents are no more challenging to determine than high-level intents. Simply pay attention to specific phrases or keywords, and use your best judgment. From there, it’s simply a matter of creating content that’s more directly targeted. Couple this with the information we provided on identifying keyword targets, and you’re sure to find success in your SEO efforts.

Author: Terry Cane

Terry Cane is a technical writer for SEOHost.net, a reliable and supportive SEO hosting partner.