User Intent: Understanding How People Search

By Sarah Radley


Intent: having intention or purpose 

In the SEO or search engine optimisation space, intent is the cornerstone of an effective SEO strategy because it underpins every effort to build website authority and improve conversion rates.



Why is understanding user intent important for ranking?

Simple, because it is goal-related. When users enter a query into a search engine they have taken an action to solve a problem. With the average adult spending over 27 hours a week online, that’s a huge amount of time users are seeking information, acquiring “things” and entertaining themselves.

In the competitive online accommodation landscape, search engine visibility is challenging. With OTA’s dominating page one search results, as well as sophisticated search engine technology utilizing machine-learning AI to determine search results, it is highly critical that hotel and accommodation property owners invest in SEO strategies that match visitor intent with highly relevant and convertible content.

How is User Intent applied to Hotel and Accommodation websites?


According to Search Metrics, user or search intent states what goal an internet user has when entering a search term into a search engine.

Google recognises user intent and strives toward displaying the most relevant content in search engine results to match users’ queries. Understanding intent therefore becomes a central factor in tailoring on and off page content and SEO to improve keyword rankings.


Key micro-moment stages in a traveller’s search

An SEO campaign that understands user journeying and integrates keyword and topic research into its content strategy and provides solutions at each micro-moment stage in a travellers search will effectively improve session traffic and direct booking conversions.  

  1. I-want-to-get-away. These are dreaming moments, where travellers think about escaping daily life. At this stage travellers are forming - where, when or how questions.
  2. Time-to-make-a -plan. These are planning moments, where travellers are evaluating preferences by seeking specific informing about destination, dates, travel, places to stay, accommodation as well as things to do and see.
  3. Let’s-book-it. These are booking moments, where travellers have the information, they need to confirm bookings.
  4. Can’t wait to explore. These are experience moments where guests evaluate their experiences while away.

Do – Know – Go Queries and Conversion

At each of these micro-moment stages, users undertake three types of searches: Do, Know, and Go queries which determines the type of results Google delivers.  

Do: Transactional queries

Do queries require users to perform specific acquisition-based actions such as purchasing a product or booking a service.  For hoteliers, providing clear booking incentives, transparent T&C’s and a direct path to booking engines will help drive CTR and booking revenue.

Know: Informational queries

Know queries find users seeking instant answers to an immediate need. For hoteliers, having SEO optimised copy that provides information to resolve searchers dreaming, planning and exploring queries becomes pivotal in driving traffic, rankings and booking conversion.

So what do guests need to know? According to a recent PwC’s Consumer Intelligence Report on hotel brand loyalty, business and leisure guests both consider room quality, hotel accessibility and location as important for brand choice. Interestingly, soft benefit micro-moments relating to personalised experiences are also considered important in supporting decision choice.

As such, on-page content strategies should contain relevant information that focuses on satisfying quality and convenience during their hotel stay to attract qualified book direct customers. This then makes it easier for search engines to recognize your content as valued by your readers thus boosting your rankings.

These can include:

  • Amenities, operation times, cleanliness and occupancy  
  • Quality and convenience of in-house food and beverage options
  • Local knowledge recommendations
  • Ease of check-in/check-out processes
  • Loyalty/Membership features/benefits
  • Guest welcome gifts or emails

Go: Navigational queries

Go queries are typically brand or known entity queries, where a user is looking to go to a specific website or location. For hoteliers, having optimised blog content that targets high-value competitor keywords that searchers have resonated with will drive website traffic and keyword rankings.


Don’t know where to start?

We’ve got your back! If you’re unsure how to identify target keywords, content topics and interpret data to understand visitor journeys, talk to one of our specialists today.

Fastrack can provide comprehensive campaign solutions to reclaim your sales from the OTAs, drive more direct bookings and increase revenue. 


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