3 Types Of Search Queries & How to Target them in SEO

By Digitrio

Post Date: 24 August 2022

A search query is a block of text entered into a search engine using a variety of keyword combinations to produce a list of results (referred to as a SERP) containing various details that are meant to help the user find the answers they’re looking for.

Search engines answer users’ queries, and “search” plainly refers to a “search engine.” Users have questions, and search engines provide them with answers.

For instance, instead of typing the URL into a browser’s navigation bar or using a bookmark, a user might type “youtube” into Google’s search bar to locate the YouTube website. The highest-ranked searches on Google are really “Facebook” and “youtube,” both of which are navigational queries.

Search Query Types

Search Query Types

Roughly 3.8 billion searches are performed every day on Google but they can be e grouped under 3 types of search queries.

  1. Navigational Search Queries
  2. Informational Search Queries
  3. Transactional Search Queries

Understanding what each of the search queries means can help us understand the search intent and what kind of information they are looking for which is essential when it comes to SEO and how it works.

1. Navigational Search Queries

Navigational Search Queries

Navigational searches are searches that are done to reach a specific website. If, for instance, you can’t recall the precise URL for the Apple website, you may simply type in “apple.”

In this case, users are already aware of where they want to go and are using a navigational query to find the desired website. Instead of typing the exact URL of the website, the user enters a known search phrase when utilizing a navigational query. Such inquiries frequently contain a brand-specific phrase and could also contain navigational jargon.

How to Target Navigational Search Queries in SEO

When users use this form of query, they are already aware of the page or website they want to browse. There is an intention and it is very challenging to develop an SEO strategy with this and target it unless it contains your own brand name.

Thus, generally, there is not much you can do to target them.

For your own brand keyword within the search query, your website should be already ranking well on it unless it engages black hat SEO instead of white hat SEO practises.

If you are looking to target another brand, you might be better off using SEM vs SEO as the efforts required simply do not justify the SEO benefits you will reap from it.

2. Informational Search Queries

Informational Search Queries

Informational queries are those that are entered to learn more about a specific subject rather than necessarily to transact, eg “What is SEO” or “why SEO is important to businesses“.
The user is trying to find out information and typically, they are still conducting research.

How to Target Informational Search Queries in SEO

The best way to target informational searches is with high-quality content that provides helpful information relevant to the query.  When done correctly, it can help to educate your potential customer, gain trust and at the same time communicate the values of your services or products that are related to it.

Here are some of the ways you could target informational queries in your SEO:

It is extremely critical that you craft the right content type to provide the answer to it and especially so with the latest Google’s helpful content update for informational search queries in order for your site to do well on the search engine result page. (SERP)

3. Transactional Search Queries

Transactional Search Queries

A transactional search query is a query that indicates the user’s search intent to complete a transaction, such as making a purchase or looking to inquire into services. Those search queries might include terms like “buy”, “order”, “purchase” or even specific location-based like “Singapore” or “Jurong”. Some examples of those are “Buy apple iPhone”  or “SEO Singapore“.

In all the examples, the searchers are well-informed and (almost) sure about their goals and what they are looking for. These terms can offer some of the most quantifiable ROI if employed along with effective SEM campaigns.

How to Target Transactional Search Queries in SEO

The best way to target transactional search queries is by making sure that your products or services provide clear differences in your unique selling propositions (USPs) and enticing offers that will allow the searcher no reason to refuse to buy or choose from you.

  • A 2-pronged approach of SEM & SEM can also be used here as these kinds of search queries are the most profitable in terms of ROI
  • Enhance your Content with USPs/Enticing offers & Information  as that can make the searchers’ job easier and select you if you offer what they are looking for

Plan Your SEO Around These Search Queries

Buyer's Journey

Now that you know more about the different types of search queries,  let’s look at how you can plan your SEO’s content around these search queries during each stage of the buyer’s journey.

Buyer’s Journey

The term “buyer’s journey” describes the sequence of steps a customer takes from the start of the research period to the moment they purchase a product or service. There are typically 3 stages in the buyer’s journey:

  1. Awareness Stage
  2. Consideration Stage
  3. Decision Stage

It is important to understand the type of search queries and how they are tied in at each stage of the buyers’ journey.  This is essential for our success in SEO as it helps us understand what kind of information/answer they are looking for.

1. Awareness Stage

Informational search queries – At this stage, the searchers are just doing education research to better understand and frame the problem that they are facing.

The search queries might be as such:

We want to create content that aims to provide those answers to better educate the users that what you provide can be one of the solutions to what they are looking for.

2. Consideration Stage

Informational search queries – At this stage, searchers have a better understanding of the issue is researching to understand all the available options that can solve it

The search queries might be as such:

We want to create content that aims the help them decide that what we offer can help to solve their problems.

3. Decision Stage

Transactional search queries – At this stage, searchers are already firm on the solution or brand and are finalization their decision on it.

The search queries might be as such:

Navigational search queries –  Searchers might have also decided on a brand and are just searching for it.

The search queries might be as such:

We want to enhance your main services or product pages that aim the help them with their decision-making while also communicating to them the unique selling propositions of your products/services.

Difference between Keywords and Search Queries

Keywords vs Search Queries

Another term that often got thrown into the mix is “keywords” and is often confused even among marketers.

It is essential to understand what is the differences between keywords and search queries.

A keyword is like the core term of the search query – it’s an subset of the search queries while search query is the actual word or string of words that a user type in to the search box.

Keyword are used different depending on whether it is in SEO or SEM:

  • In SEO, we target these keywords by optimizing on-page content (Having our keywords URLs, title tags, body copy, image file names, meta descriptions and so on), by building backlinks with keywords within in as the anchor text and etc.
  • In PPC or SEM (Paid search), we target keywords by bidding on them and using them in our ads and landing pages.



Users don’t care about keywords and are unaware of them. All they want is a response to their question.

If you want to grow your business online and do well in the search results, you need to appear in related search queries by targeting/creating the right content type along each of the buyers’ journey.

Only then, you will be able to do well in term of ranking related to the search queries that users are searching on, which will in term drive more traffic, leads or sales to your business.

Contact us today for more information on how we can help to make sure you are targeting the right content pages to each of the search queries.

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