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Search Intent 101: What Ecommerce Sellers Need to Know
10/18/21 — 0 min read

By: Hanna Walther

The Basics of Search Intent for Ecommerce Sellers: Outrank the Competition and Win at SEO 


What is Search Intent?

The purpose of a search engine is to help people find what they’re looking for. Anyone who uses a search engine has the intention of discovering something, right?

This is known as search intent. 

Search intent is the primary goal a user has when typing in any given phrase or term into a search engine. 

A page that is designed to match search intent will typically outrank those that optimize primarily for search engines; Google’s #1 priority as a search engine is to satisfy search intent for its users.

Search intent can help businesses understand the ‘why’ behind any search query. It’s a valuable tool for businesses to create engaging content, rank based on relevant search terms, and help users find the product they’re looking for. 

The Four Types of Search Intent 

There are a few types of search intent, so let’s dive into what those are and how ecommerce sellers can use them to their advantage online. 

1. Informational


Many search queries are information-based, like ‘how to set up an Amazon storefront’ or ‘how to create a DIY home gym.’ These queries typically include terms like ‘what is’ or ‘how to,’ among others.

Those who are searching with informational intent are curious about a specific idea or want to gain more information about something. They are not in the buying phase yet.

For ecommerce sellers, this means you can be a helpful guide during the informational stage of buying. Creating helpful website content like blog posts, eBooks, videos, or guides containing relevant information will bring awareness to your business as an expert in the field and a trusted source.

It’s important to note that you have to create content that serves a specific search intent. So, for informational searches, you’ll want to write content that specifically explains how to build a home gym and target users with informational search intent. 

To create informational content that improves the user experience (and gets you a high 5 from Google!), it’s best to create compelling content that is enticing enough to not only click the link, but spend more time on your site, digesting relevant and interesting content. The more this happens, the more relevant your site becomes to Google for that particular search term. 

On your website, the best way to do this starts with a <title> tag that catches the attention of readers in the search results, explains what the article is about, and communicates the benefit of clicking on your link. While HTML tags used to be of huge importance to search, these tags don’t play as much of a role as Google shifts towards a User Experience focus. Keep formatting consistent throughout your content, but their main goal is to help readers find what they’re looking for.

2. Navigational 


Navigational is usually a query based on a specific website, like It’s safe to assume that someone who searches ‘Amazon’ is on their way to the Amazon website. 

For ecommerce sellers, navigational search intent means you want to make sure your website can be easily discovered online if someone types in your company name. Aim to rank first for your own company. It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many businesses fail to do this.

You should have solid landing pages for any products you sell. Prioritize the optimization of these landing pages using the products and company name in title tags, headers, and meta descriptions.

3. Commercial


Commercial intent means the user has plans to make a purchase in the future but is still in the research phase of the buyer’s journey. 

To continue with the home gym example, they are searching ‘best weight plate trees for a home gym’ or ‘which stationary bike is most compact for a garage setting.’ 

These searches still intend to make a purchase, but they need more information first.

For ecommerce sellers, commercial intent is a great opportunity to showcase your product and why it’s the best (and why they should buy it!) 

To win the sale, you have to make sure your product pages (or in Amazon’s case… your product listings) are optimized with relevant information to make it an easy decision for the customer to select your product to purchase.

4. Transactional  


Transactional differs from commercial intent, and here’s why. Anyone searching with transactional intent is on their way to buy something then and there. Buying mode — engaged! 

Whether they’re searching for a specific product or have a general idea of what they want, they’ve probably got their credit card in hand and are ready to click Buy. 

For ecommerce sellers, a transactional landing page should include a visual design that is appealing and easy to consume, with copy that is persuasive and makes their purchasing decision easy, and a CTA that entices them to buy. 

For Amazon sellers, a transactional search intent would be a customer simply typing the product you sell into the Amazon search bar, and your company coming up as one of the results. Make sure your product listing is optimized and watch the sales start to roll in! 

Why Does Search Intent Matter?

Search intent has improved the overall user experience of search engines; as algorithms get smarter, they prioritize the relationship between what search terms people use and what they click on. 

Search intent helps businesses create content that is relevant to users, and in turn, rank higher in search results. 


When they understand the various phases of the customer journey and what phase people are in by the search terms they use, businesses can design their marketing material (landing pages, websites, and the like) to cater to shoppers at different stages. Some may be doing initial research, while others are ready to buy.

In turn, this helps them nudge an information-collecting person to the next stage and eventually, to become a customer.

Google Search Intent vs. Amazon Search Intent

Google wants to satisfy the search intent on its platform, whether that’s discovering a new recipe, reading an informational blog post, or finding a product to buy. 

Their algorithm is known to rank pages higher that better satisfy search intent per keyword. Google wants its users to land on a result and get an answer to their search query on the same page.

Amazon search, however, is focused on selling. 

Amazon users are also much more likely to type in search terms that will lead them to purchase something, as opposed to learning the latest TikTok dance or how to cook up a 6-course meal.

Because user behavior is different on these two platforms, search is different too.

Google ranks keywords and pages based on user behavior (searching a term, clicking a page, the time they spend on a page, bounce rate, etc) 

Amazon’s algorithm, however, ranks strongly based on the sales history of a product. As we know very well, products with better sales rank better on Amazon.

How Can Amazon Sellers Optimize for Search Intent? 

The key difference between Google and Amazon search lies in the fact that Amazon is profit-focused — they’re trying to make the most sales possible at any given time. Because of this, Amazon’s ranking algorithm (A9) uses sales as the primary signal to determine the relevance of a product. 

Simply put: the more shoppers buy your product when they see it in search results, the more Amazon’s algorithm decides your product matches the search intent of shoppers searching those keywords. 

When A9 decides your product is more relevant for a keyword, your product goes higher in the search results. A9 functions primarily to match a shopper’s search terms with the most relevant product, based on the search terms they use and a few other things, such as reviews.

Product ranking is fairly simple — when a particular search term is used and a product is purchased, this signals to the ranking system that shoppers who searched that keyword want something similar to that product.  

The more sales a particular product receives based on a particular search term, the higher it will rank. Read more about product ranking here.

Here’s how Amazon sellers can optimize for shopper search intent on the platform. 

1. Increase Search Relevancy 

To determine your product’s relevance to a search term, Amazon measures how many shoppers buy your product after using that term. 

Lucky for sellers, Massview has Keyword Tools that help sellers to determine which keywords are the best choice for their product, and how many sales they need per day to rank higher.

2. Optimize Product Listings & Keywords 

A big part of ranking well on Amazon is done by optimizing a product listing. Because the search algorithm is looking for products based on specific keywords and terms, you need to have all relevant keywords included in each listing. It’s the only way Amazon will discover your product and get you the views you need to start making sales.

Easier said than done, right?

Massview’s Listing Optimization tool provides valuable keyword tips, including which relevant keywords you should add to your listing and keyword recommendations that will help your product page rank higher. 

Along with keyword optimization, the copy and formatting of your product listing matter. 

The product listing’s title should be no more than 200 characters and should include the top search terms you are targeting. The first five words of your title are also included in the listing’s URL, so make sure your best keyword is in there. 

The bullet points should include the product’s main features and benefits. This section should clearly spell out why your product should be chosen over the competition. 

Lastly, the product description should drive home the value of your product and how it can improve the customer’s life. Now is a great time to add FAQs, additional product information, and specifications.

3. Test Your Keywords to See How They Convert

Sellers can test the keywords they think will be most relevant to their product before actually trying to rank on them. Through Sponsored Product ads on Amazon, you can pay for your product to show up based on certain keywords. 

By testing the keywords you think will get you ranked, you can determine which keywords shoppers actually find relevant for your product, based on the clicks and sales you bring in. You’ll also gain insight into how shoppers search, and how to position your product better. 

The keywords that performed well in Sponsored Product ads are the ones you should try to rank on. You already have the data to back it up! 

Final Thoughts

We know Google’s #1 goal is keeping its users satisfied with their search results, and its algorithm prioritizes the websites that play “fair,” according to their SEO rules. 

Amazon takes the money-first approach to search by rewarding the products with the most sales (and highest converting keywords) with the #1 spot on its platform. 

Whether you’re an ecommerce seller on Amazon or you use other marketplaces like Shopify, search intent is a reminder that your content strategy and the way you position your products should always be with the end user (or customer) in mind. 

Creating useful, relevant content that helps people make informed decisions is the name of the game. How do you measure up?


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