Make Sure You Know These 4 Types of Search Queries Before Starting a Keyword Research For Your Business

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Make Sure You Know These 4 Types of Search Queries Before Starting a Keyword Research For Your Business

Search queries are one of the essential components of SEO. As any SEO expert or anyone who knows about keyword research would agree, finding the right words and phrases for your SEO or content strategy is integral to its success. But there are different search queries, all though they may look the same to the untrained eyes. Whether you’re taking the DIY path or counting on an SEO agency to optimize your content, you should know about the following types of search queries:

  • Informational
  • Navigational
  • Transactional
  • Commercial

It’s no secret that the keyword selection process can be tricky. Things change so fast in the search marketing world, and understanding what your prospects are searching for is valuable information. Therefore, this post covers the four main types of search queries and how knowing them can help you during keyword research.

Let’s kick off by looking at how to identify each one.

Learning to Identify The Types of Search Queries

Much of the talk in the SEO world centers around how to target the different search queries. But before you focus on targeting, it’s vital to learn how to identify them. Look back in history, and you’ll find several SEO experts who used specific words to infer the type of search from the query. Such terms are called modifiers.

For instance, assuming a query contained modifiers such as “purchase” or “sell,” you can get a sense of the purpose of that specific search query.

Hence, the trick lies in knowing which modifier to spot. Obviously, people don’t use the same words when searching online. So even if you’re an SEO expert, you’ll need to learn more about each type of search query.

1.  Informational

Before the internet became the hub for marketing and business, it was first used to share information. The internet has seen several innovations since its early days. But millions of users still rely on search engines like Google to find information using informational search queries.

What are Informational Search Queries?

Informational search queries are words and phrases used by people to find information covering a wide array of topics online. For instance, if people search for “who is an SEO professional,” then they performed an informational search because the primary purpose is to find the meaning of the term “SEO professional.”

The results of these searches are interesting because people do not only get the most appropriate search results on SERP. Instead, Google also displays a relevant answer on the first result page, as the image below shows.

Informational Search Queries
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How to Target an Informational Search Query

Monetizing informational queries is challenging. However, the best approach to targeting this type of search is by creating top-shelf SEO content that offers users nothing but relevant, original, and updated answers to the query.

As you might have guessed, Wikipedia is one of the best sources of information covering a vast array of topics. Hence, it ranks quite high for most informational queries. If you intend to rank for any specific informational search queries, then do the following:

  • Write blog post centered on providing tips
  • Publish how-to videos
  • Write long-form, step-by-step guides
  • Include infographic in your content

Overall, you need to get creative when creating informational content to differentiate your content from the competition.

2.  Navigational

Another interesting aspect of search is the way people use it just to get around the internet. Not all people browse the web trying to make a decision. Some already know what they want and only want to get to the right website. This is where navigational search queries come into play.

What are Navigational Search Queries?

Navigational search queries are search terms used by people to find specific web pages or websites. Let’s say someone wants to sign up to Facebook. Instead of directly typing the website URL into the browser address bar, many people will search Google for “Facebook” or even use the search queries “Facebook signup.”

Navigational Search Queries
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Navigation searches are some of the most popular uses of search engines today. News flash: “YouTube” and “Facebook are among the top searches on Google. As you might have guessed, these two are navigational search queries in this case.

How to Target a Navigational Search Query

Realistically speaking, there’s not much you can do to target a navigational query unless people are actively searching for your domain, searches, or brand name. The nature of navigational search queries is such that their intent is direct and focused.

Users perform navigational searches knowing the exact result they want, and anything else will be irrelevant to them. In some reports, Google used the term “go query” to classify these types of searches. The tech giant also decided to cut down the number of results displayed for navigational brand queries to seven results on the first SERP.

Tip: If anything, the first and most crucial step is to own the rights to your brand’s navigational queries and optimize them for search.

3.  Transactional

Digital marketing and the internet now play a central role in the global retail framework. Today’s internet is the number one medium for completing business transactions like transferring funds, making investments, banking, and of course, buying and selling. All searches related to such activities fall under transactional queries.

What are Transactional Search Queries?

A transactional search query is primarily used by people to complete any of the transactions mentioned earlier, such as complete a purchase. Generally, they may comprise product and brand names like “Apple iPhone 11 Pro.” On the other hand, these queries can also be generic in cases like “silent air fryer” or “order pizza near me.”

Transactional Search Queries
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It’s easy to see that all these examples show instances where the search is getting ready to complete a transaction (purchase) in the not-so-distant future. These queries have a subset called vertical searchers that covers searcher of transactional nature but focusing on a specific niche or industry. Examples are restaurant, local, flight, or hotel searches.

How to Target a Transactional Search Query

You want to use a two-way method here. Firstly, you need to focus your organic content, such as local SEO strategies and optimized product pages, on transactional queries. Doing this will ensure that your business, its products, and services will pop up anytime searchers want to make a purchase within your industry.

Next, you want to consider employing PPC to target transactional search queries. It might sound tricky at first, especially if you’re not an SEO expert, but here are some reasons to give it a try.

  • Google draws a lot of attention to product listings and sponsored ads.
  • They offer the highest chance of delivering high ROI due to their relevance.
  • Sponsored results make up a considerable portion of SERP for transactional searches.


4.  Commercial

Like every other industry, the commercial landscape has witnessed a major transformation due to the advent of the internet. Consequently, marketers and businesses of all sizes of currency rely on the internet to reach customers through paid advertising. Hence, the need for SEO agencies and companies to choose words for paid advertising campaigns.

What are Commercial Search Queries?

Simply put, commercial search queries are search terms used in paid advertising strategies. If an online business will consider any given query to be commercial depends mainly on the niche the site or brand occurs. For instance, if your site sells hotel reservations, the search query “request a ride” isn’t a keyword to include in your paid ad campaign.

Commercial search queries
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How to Target a Commercial Search Query

If you own a site that provides your audiences with free tips and advice on traveling but generates your income from ads, targeting commercial search queries in this niche is a good idea.

A quick tip for targeting this type of query is to search any relevant keyword in Google and find out if any paid ads from your competitors appear in the results. Analyze any results and determine how to structure your ads using these commercial queries and outperform the competition.

Optimizing For Different Search Queries in 2021

Experience is the best teacher, and one of the lessons it teaches most marketers and SEOs is the importance of intent. Understanding intent comes in handy when you try to drive more qualified traffic to your website. Essentially, this means targeting the four types of search queries and optimizing your content for them.

There are multiple opportunities to attract leads and direct to your business from informational to commercial searches, especially if you’re using an SEO agency. Mind you: there are best practices you can use to rank for each of these searches. Therefore, your priorities will affect your choice of keywords.


Learning to identify and understand the intents of the different search queries is an indispensable part of the keyword research process. It makes your research all the more effective, and the results will speak for themselves.

By executing successful keyword research at every level of your sales funnel, you learn about and answer any doubts and questions from your prospects while guiding them toward conversion by creating the right type of user-centric content. Remember to consult an SEO expert or SEO agency when in doubt at any point of your keyword research. Until then, happy keyword researching!

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