A Search Query or Web Search Query starts a user’s interaction with the search engine. By definition, it’s a set of words that a user enters to retrieve result pages (SERPs). In several online marketing jargons “Keywords” and “Search Queries” are referred to interchangeably. However, there are some subtle differences between the two.
There is a very interesting fact about internet traffic; more than 90% of web traffic is generated through SERPs and more than 84% of searches take place on Google. So it’s fair to say that Google is the King of Search Engines.
So how does the user search-engine interaction proceed? Well, here’s a scenario. Consider yourself to be an apparel store owner who wants to increase sales. You start by keying in a search query like “how do I increase apparel sales.” Queries like this one may make you come across why digital marketing as a way to boost sales. So you are informed about it. You find this marketing form worth a look so you decide to research more. You may enter a query like “ways to grow apparel business digitally.”
You come to know that you can learn digital marketing or even hire an expert or a company to work for you. This is where you get interested to know more. So your queries can be “learn digital marketing”, “digital marketing experts” or “digital marketing companies.”
Finally, when you decide to learn or hire, your queries can be “best digital marketing institutes near me” or “best digital marketing companies near me” So, eventually by entering a few queries you are able to find a viable solution for your stagnant apparel business.
If we analyze further, queries mentioned above can be classified as i) informational, ii) navigational or iii) transactional as we discuss further.
Informational: Are queries searchers use with intent to gather information on a topic of interest. They can be used to gather small pieces of information like largest river in the world, or tallest mountain of the world. Informational queries can also be used to learn a method to do something like to make a dish, or to gather broad and general information about anything such as cars, dinosaurs, tigers, etc. In the example above, the query “how to increase apparel sales” is an informational query.
Navigational: Are queries searchers use to find specific types of web sites, for instance, “car makers in India,” or “online grocery stores in India.” In the above example “digital marketing companies” is a navigational query. Such queries can also be employed when you fail to remember the name of a specific website like the website of Delhi Public School R.K. Puram.
Transactional: As the name suggests, these queries are issued with an intent to purchase a product or service. Words like buy, purchase, download, order, etc, are often used with these queries to explicitly convey the intent to buy a product. In addition, there are queries that implicitly imply a transactional intent. For instance, in the example above, best digital marketing institutes near me” or “best digital marketing companies near me” are transactional queries.
Since Google rules the roost, so to speak, when it comes to the search engine space, queries issued on this search engine can have various advanced operators. As Google lists millions of results in a single paginated SERP, how about narrowing down the search to only list more relevant results?
For example, an allintitle: best aerobics instructors near me, will only list pages that have one or a few words from the word combination, best aerobics instructors near me, somewhere in the page title.
However, to have pages with exact string of keywords in the page title filtered, just have best aerobics instructors near me in parenthesis. So the query looks like allintitle: “best aerobics instructors near me.” This will narrow down the results even further.
Search engines, especially Google, present results on the basis of what they comprehend about the query they get from users.
For transactional queries results generally open up required online store to make the purchase. For navigational query, users get the URL of the specific web site he is looking for. Informational queries open blogs, how-to pages, or knowledge-base articles about the topic being researched.
Search engine developers are now integrating paid results along with organic results in almost every search query SERP to generate more and more revenue. Users get more ads and shopping results for transactional queries than organic results. For navigational queries, results may feature Google Maps. For informational queries, results may feature Google Images, Google News, etc.
Knowledge Graphs, also known as Special Content Result Blocks (SCRBs) integrate most relevant content from the top few websites listed in SERPs to give users enriched experience and availability of information without even a single click. Users may issue broad queries like Yamaha FZS bike, which can be transactional, informative, or navigational as the user may wish to get any type of information from such queries.
There are a range of results that users can get by issuing these three types of queries. So, it’s logical for businesses to prepare their content keeping all these search types in perspective. A few giveaways for businesses are:
Businesses should work diligently on these pointers to make their brands stand out among competitors.
To sum everything up, queries are broadly classified as described above. Search engines try to comprehend the search queries in accordance with these types and display results accordingly. So businesses should develop and market their online properties keeping these query types and their relevance in search engine results in perspective.