Search Queries Categories
Search engine marketers need to be aware that search engines are tools, and the use of search box is fundamentally different from entering an URL into the browser’s address bar, clicking on a bookmark, or clicking on a link to go to a website. Search is also different from browsing or clicking on links on a web page. Because of this specificity, search traffic is generally of higher value to marketers than these other types of web traffic.
Here is the examination of the different types of search queries and their categories, characteristics, and processes.
Users perform navigational searches with the intent of going directly to a specific website. In some cases, the user may not know the exact URL, and the search engine serves as the “White Pages”.
These types of searches tend to lead to very high conversion rates for the company brand – In our example “Delta airlines”.
Informational searches involve an incredibly broad range of queries. Consider the many types of information people might look for: local weather, driving directions, a celebrity’s recent interview, disease symptoms, self-help information, how to train for a specific type of career… the possibilities are as endless as the human capacity for thought. Informational searches are primarily non-transaction-oriented (although they can include researching information about a product or service); the information itself is the goal, and no interaction beyond clicking and reading is required for the searcher’s query to be satisfied.
The searcher may not be ready to buy anything just yet, or may not even have a long-term intent to buy anything. However, informational queries that are focused on researching commercial products or services can have high value.
Transactional searches don’t necessarily have to involve a credit card or immediate financial transaction. Creating a Pinterest account, signing up for a free trial account, or finding the best local Japanese restaurant for dinner tonight are all transactional queries.
Research from Pennsylvania State University and the Queensland University of Technology shows that more than 80% of searches are informational in nature, and only about 10% of searches are navigational or transactional.
The researchers went further and developed an algorithm to automatically classify searches by query type. When they tested the algorithm, they found that it was able to correctly classify queries 74% of the time. The difficulty in classifying the remaining queries was vague user intent—that is, the queries could have multiple meanings.
In our company, which is focused on building iOS applications for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch, we are totally interested in very high traffic value from informational and transactional queries.