What is Contextual Intent in relation to SEO?

We are going to uncover the reason why all digital marketing experts need to be aware of Contextual Intent and how its importance in relation to SEO will grow over the coming months. 

Contextual Intent

What is Contextual Intent in relation to SEO?


The pace of digital marketing and in particular SEO is quite incredible, so coining a phase within the industry before anyone else does take some serious industry understanding. As such, a cutting-edge buzz-word like “Contextual Intent” needs to have a full explanation.

In today’s insight, we are going to uncover the reason why digital marketings need to be aware of Contextual Intent and how its importance, in relation to SEO, will grow over the coming months.


What is Contextual Intent?

AI has been around for nearly 2 decades now. It is built for the purpose of helping and not to take away our jobs. The inclusion of AI into search engines has prompted a number of scaremongering headlines in the industry and is already changing the results we are getting on the SERPs. Indexing has become old hat and even though Mobile First Indexing was only recently launched the reality is that it too, is quite dated. What Search engines are now doing now, is using the information we have provided them with over the years and delivering a contextually “estimated” result. Terabyte upon Terabyte of data is processed daily to fine-tune these results and the use of feature snippets helps these engines to narrow down the user intent in a contextual manner.

The resulting formula reads like this:

Search terms + User Intent + AI + Feature Snippet AND OR Voice Search = Contextual Intent.


What impact does this have on my SEO?

Good SEO is all about being there, being useful and being quick this is the holy trinity of satisfying User Intent. User Intent is part of the Contextual Intent equation and being there in the right context is now impacting your SEO. Being able to answer search questions on page rank Zero (feature snippet), guides the user and enables them to drill down into their search intent, this is search-engine-AI in action. In principle, AI is collating the information gathered from this exercise and using this intelligence to second guess what it is you’re actually searching for. Similarly, when Google Home, Siri, Alexa or any of the other voice search engines ask for clarification of a voice search, this too is collected and used to second guess the real search intent. The resulting SERP is the one gained from Contextual Intent and consequently the latest holy grail for SEO.


What should we be doing to influence this?

The old adage, “content is king” scores highly when answering this question. Producing content that provides the answer to the user intent and understanding the context of how the search terms they use to arrive at this intent, is vital. Think, keyword research on steroids.

As one of the Industry SEO gurus, Bill Slawski said earlier this month, “When someone searches for pizza at lunchtime, they likely aren’t looking for a history of Pizza, but rather a slice or two.”

Creating content that places you in position ZERO means, therefore, you need to produce feature-snippet-worthy content. Here’s a lengthy but very useful article from MOZ to guide you through the process.



Contextual Intent is an AI enhancement of user intent. It aggregates a number of different digital data elements to produce a quicker and more pleasurable user experience. By satisfying it, you’re going to improve your rankings on all of the major search engines, increase the traffic coming to and remaining on your site and thereby positively influencing your bottom line.