The 3 Types of Search Queries


Alex Corral

Jan 21, 2016


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Search Engine Marketing

Deciphering Intent in Search

It does not matter if the avenue that you chose is organic search (SEO) or paid search (Google AdWords) — you need to be focused. I think that most of us can agree on that. The questions start to arise when we decide on what to place our search focus on. This can be a tough question when starting because you might not know what options you have. If you don’t know the options, then how can you even begin to decipher the world of search?

If you are hemorrhaging money, then you can disregard this article, but if you are looking to make sense of search, then you have come to the right place. At the end of this article, you will understand how to allocate your money. It will help you focus on the search terms that matter to your business. You will also be able to get started on a keyword strategy for your business.

How can you accomplish this, Alex? The answer is simple; You have to understand the user’s intent when they are searching. This area of search is known as semantic search, and it is growing at an exponential pace!

This is all that matters. If you can understand the intent of your customers, then you can leverage that to engage with them at any point during their purchasing process. It should come as no surprise that the most engaged customers are the most loyal to your brand. Repeat business, happy customers, and brand advocacy, what more could you ask for?

The 3 Types of Search Queries

In search, there are three different types of queries to choose from that allow you to understand a user’s behavior or potential intent. There are navigational, informational, and transactional queries that a user could put into their search box at any moment in time. They are as follows:

  • Navigational: This type of query is when the user knows what they are looking for and wants to navigate to that page or website. Intent is there, but creating a strategy with this could be tough. If you focus on enhancing your brand recognition, this becomes easier over time.  
  • Informational: The user is looking for information. They are typically in the research phase. If you have great SEO content that answers these questions, you can win customers over by targeting these terms. This is one of my favorite types of terms because, if done correctly, it turns into the gift that keeps on giving.
  • Transactional: The user is looking to make a purchase. They have done all of their research and (pretty much) know what they want. These terms can provide some of the most quantifiable ROI if used in conjunction with a killer PPC strategy!

Craft Your Strategy Around These Queries

So what does this mean for you? Well, for one thing, if you know the searcher is looking for information, you can craft your strategy around building a hub of information. You would need to make sure that you are producing high-quality, search optimized content. Transactional queries show the most intent because this is when the user is just about – if not ready to buy. As I mentioned earlier, a targeted PPC campaign pairs well with these queries. Navigational search requires a more holistic strategy but could be incorporated into your plan to bolster your brand. You could implement a plan with either of these, or a few together to boost your search efforts. A great place to begin is by analyzing your historical data. You would need to ask yourself, “What questions do my customers have, and what are their pain points?” These two questions alone can get you started on the path to figuring out your customer’s intent. If you are looking for more strategies, sign up for our newsletter or shoot us an email.

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