Google search intent is the desired action Google users want to do when they perform Google searches. The Google search intent can be broken down into three different categories, which include navigational queries, informational queries, and transactional queries.
Google has identified these categories to help answer questions about Google’s algorithm because it will show searchers what Google thinks their goal should be when using Google products.
For example, if someone uses Google search with the query “what is the distance between New York City and Los Angeles” Google will take this as a navigational query because the user wants specific information that only deals with finding out how many miles apart they are located in each city.
If someone searches for “Avengers or “who won the best picture at the Oscars Google will take this as an informational query because Google knows what the user wants is Google to answer a question for them.
If someone searches for [best restaurants in San Francisco] Google will take this as a transactional query because Google understands that when users type Google’s in search they want Google to perform a task for them such as finding restaurants near their location in San Francisco or by name or providing hours of operation, price range, and other information about the restaurant.
Google also has identified two additional categories that cover queries Google has not been able to identify into one of its three major categories above, which include navigational and relational intent. Relational intent refers to content people are looking for by asking Google to find it on the web or on Google’s own knowledge graph. An example Google gave for this query was the search, “how far is it from London to Paris.” Google knows these two locations are cities and can provide Google users with a direct answer that they would like Google to provide even though they didn’t exactly ask Google an informational question about how many miles apart they were located. Navigational intent refers to content people want Google to find and give them results based on what Google thinks the user wants. A good example Google used for this query is when Google returns results for searches such as [apple store] or [cnn]. Google believes their users’ goal is to receive information provided directly by companies such as Apple and CNN not just search engine listings of web pages Google has found or Google’s knowledge graph.
Google search intent is something Google has been working on for years and they continue to do so every day Google sees a new type of Google search query they haven’t seen before. Google will keep working on its algorithm to figure out how to best help users find the most relevant information in a Google search.