Web Search Queries Understanding the Different Types and How to Target Them


When it comes to search marketing, understanding the different types of web search queries is crucial. These queries are the words and phrases that users type into search engines to find the information they need. By understanding these search queries, you can better optimise your website content to target the right audience and improve your search engine rankings.

In this article, we will delve into the three main types of web search queries: navigational, informational, and transactional. We will explore what each type entails and provide tips on how to effectively target them with your site content.

What Is a Navigational Search Query?

A navigational search query is entered with the intention of finding a specific website or webpage. Users type these queries to directly access a particular site instead of entering the URL into their browser’s navigation bar or using a bookmark. Examples of navigational queries include searches for popular websites like “YouTube” or “Facebook.”

How Should You Target Navigational Search Queries?

Targeting navigational search queries can be challenging if you don’t own the website that users are looking for. These queries have a clear intent, and users already have a specific site in mind. However, some navigational queries may not be as straightforward as they seem. For instance, someone searching for “Facebook” might be looking for news or information about the company.

To target navigational search queries effectively, it is essential to ensure that your website appears as the top result for your own brand or company name. This can be achieved by optimising your site for your brand keywords and investing in both organic and paid search strategies. Branded keywords tend to drive clicks and conversions, so it’s worth considering paid advertising even if you rank organically for them.

Informational Search Queries

What Is an Informational Search Query?

Informational search queries are broad queries that cover a particular topic for which there may be thousands of relevant results. Users enter these queries when they are looking for information or answers to their questions. Unlike navigational queries, informational queries are not focused on finding a specific website but rather on obtaining relevant information.

How Should You Target Informational Search Queries?

Targeting informational search queries requires a different approach compared to navigational queries. Google recognises the difficulty in monetising informational queries and has introduced the Knowledge Graph to address this issue. To effectively target informational searches, you should focus on creating high-quality SEO content that provides valuable information related to the query.

While Wikipedia is known for providing basic information on a wide range of topics, there is still room for other authoritative sources to cater to informational queries. Here are some strategies to target informational search queries and drive traffic to your site:

  • Create comprehensive articles, blog posts, or guides that answer specific questions or provide in-depth information on a particular topic.
  • Optimise your content for relevant keywords and phrases to improve its visibility in search engine results.
  • Offer unique perspectives or insights on popular topics to differentiate yourself from competitors.
  • Use visual elements like images, infographics, or videos to enhance the user experience and make your content more engaging.
  • Establish your brand as a reliable source of information by consistently delivering high-quality and accurate content.

By focusing on providing valuable information and building awareness of your brand, you can attract users who are seeking answers to their questions. This can lead to long-term benefits, as these users may consider your offerings when they have relevant needs in the future.

Transactional Search Queries

What Is a Transactional Search Query?

A transactional search query indicates the intent to complete a transaction, such as making a purchase. These queries may include specific brand and product names, generic terms, or keywords like “buy,” “purchase,” or “order.” Users conducting transactional searches are often at the final stage of the conversion funnel and are likely to make a purchase soon.

Transactional search queries can also include vertical searches, where users are looking to make a transaction in a specific industry. Examples of vertical searches include local searches, restaurant searches, hotel searches, and flight searches.

How Should You Target Transactional Search Queries?

To effectively target transactional search queries, we recommend adopting a two-pronged approach that combines organic content optimisation with pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. Here’s why:

  1. ROI in paid search: Transactional queries are highly likely to deliver a return on investment (ROI) in paid search. Users searching for specific products or services are equally likely to find what they need through sponsored ads as they are through organic results.
  2. Visibility on the search engine results page (SERP): Sponsored ads occupy a significant portion of the above-the-fold space on the SERP for commercial and transactional queries. If you want to ensure visibility above the fold for transactional keywords, PPC advertising is a viable option.
  3. Enhanced features and options: Sponsored ads and product listings offer various features and options that can enhance your visibility and attract user attention. For instance, you can include product images and take advantage of Google’s ad formats to make your ads more clickable and eye-catching.
  4. Click-through rates (CTR) for high commercial intent queries: Studies have shown that people tend to click on paid results over organic results for queries with high commercial intent. This could be due to the prominence of sponsored ads on the SERP, the attractiveness of new ad formats, and the difficulty users face in distinguishing between ads and non-ads.

While PPC advertising is effective for transactional search queries, it’s important to note that organic results still receive the majority of overall clicks, especially for non-commercial queries. Thus, it’s advisable to invest in both PPC and organic content strategies to maximise your overall traffic and conversions.


Understanding the different types of web search queries is essential for search marketers. By identifying and targeting navigational, informational, and transactional queries, you can optimise your website content to reach the right audience and achieve your marketing goals.

When it comes to navigational queries, focus on owning your brand’s navigational query and ensuring your site appears as the top result. For informational queries, create high-quality SEO content that provides valuable information and positions your brand as a reliable source of knowledge. Lastly, adopt a two-pronged approach for transactional queries by optimising your content and leveraging PPC advertising to maximise visibility and conversions.

By aligning your content strategy with the different types of web search queries, you can improve your search engine rankings, attract relevant traffic, and drive conversions for your business.

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