One of the first and most important things to understand when working with SEO or Search Engine Optimization is determining what your customers will be searching for in their search queries to find your product or service. What keywords or phrases make sense with your specific business? If you are a paper company they might be searching keywords like “office supplies” or “Office Depot”. If you are a construction company you might search for “lumber” or “Home Depot”. These are both situations in which the user is searching for the same information but they imply slightly different intent.

Understanding the searchers intent is key in being able to develop and market your product or service online effectively. When people are searching for something using a search engine it is usually very specific. This type of search is valuable to marketers because the user did not just end up on their site by chance, like they would from clicking an ad link while browsing another site. There are three different categories in which search queries tend to fall under; Navigational, Informational and Transacational Queries. Understanding these queries can help to define keywords that will get users to your site. We will discuss each of these in further detail.

The 3 types of Search Queries

Navigational Queries

Navigational queries are searches where the user knows the site they want to get to but may not know the URL. An example of this would be someone who searches for Twitter instead of going directly to their site through the URL or a bookmark. These types of searches tend to have higher conversion rates because in a lot of cases the user is searching with intent to directly interact with the site and potentially that interaction could lead to a transaction.

Informational Search Queries

Informational queries are probably the most widely used type of search. The range of searches in this category is extremely broad. In this kind of search the primary intent of the user is to gather information. An example of this could be anything from “What time is it in Hong Kong?” to “What is the largest mammal in the world?” These searches are less likely to lead to conversion in any way because the information itself is what the user is looking for. More than likely, the user who searches for the largest mammal in the world is not looking to purchase said animal, but rather just read or learn about it.

Search Queries

Transactional queries do not always lead to a transaction as the name would lead you to believe. Instead they are searches that have a higher potential in leading to a transaction occurring. This can be anything from searching a local sandwich shop for lunch or signing up for an online account at H&M. You can see that both of these searches have a greater chance of leading to a conversion than an informational query would.

Adaptive Search

Another way to determine a users intent is through the use of adaptive search. Adaptive search can help navigate the user to what they are looking for based on what they last searched for. An example of this would be someone who searches for horseback riding and then searches for Northern California. The results in the second search would likely pull information for horseback riding in Northern California. This adaptive search helps google to better understand the users needs and almost anticipate what they are searching for. To learn more about adaptive search and how you might be able to use it for your site, check out

Carlie Perkins