Search Queries: 3 Types of eCommerce Strategies

The most popular classification of search queries suggests their division into transactional, informational and navigational. It was announced in 2002 and since then has been widely used by marketing and SEO specialists to understand customers’ behavior.

In the Google Search Quality Rating Guidelines there is an interpretation of this classification which makes it easier to remember.

Three types of search queries are identified as Do (transactional), Know (informational) and Go (navigational). The main problem is that most of the queries do not lead to sales, and it is absolutely logical. Let's learn some more about them.

Interpretation of “Do-Know-Go” Types of Search Queries

Transactional queries

“Do” or transactional queries mean that users have a clear understanding of what they want to do: find something, buy a certain product, download files, music, images, software, movies and so on. For example:

  • air conditioners Walmart
  • pizza delivery near me
  • rolex watches for sale
  • mp3 player download
  • magento download

When users with such requests choose a website, they may have different purposes: compare the quality of the products, compare the prices, delivery terms, and so on. The decision-making process can be very hard for some users, that is why they prefer to look through different website sections, visit other online stores to find all necessary information to make a decision.

These users are ready to make a purchase that is why the transactional or “Do” queries are often the most competitive, as they generate the most valuable traffic. Such users should be directed to the page where they can buy the product. Long articles, instructions or explanations can hurt. The more clicks a user has to do on the way to the desired action, the more likely they are to make this action on other websites.

Informational Search queries

“Know” or informational queries mean that users do not have enough information concerning something, so they need to find more details.

In this case, the user is interested in the answer to a certain question and they will try to find it. They will open all the websites on the Google SERP till they find a quality source of information that will help them to solve the problem. The informational queries can include a question such as when, where, how, why, etc. or implying these questions:

  • what is canonical URL
  • how to be on top
  • how to get rid of dandruff
  • summer vacation ideas

Also, such queries may contain the words like "instruction", "advice", "reviews", etc.

  • ways to get rich
  • iPhone 6 reviews
  • hoover carpet cleaner manual

If your semantic core contains informational queries, it is better to direct them to the internal pages with articles, blogs or news pages. That is what the users expect, they want to read, analyze, watch something, and not more. For e-commerce websites, this type of query may influence the company image and help to build a reputation or a trust level. We can’t say that it makes no sense to promote an online store according to such queries. They can be useful, but it is important to understand that this traffic has lower conversion and you shouldn’t expect a significant increase in sales.

Navigational queries

“Go” or navigational queries mean that users want to reach a certain website so they use search requests for easier navigation. It can look like Microsoft, Amazon, Magento ®, Shopify and so on.

Navigational queries are used to find any information on a particular site, so if they are not relevant to your site (there isn’t a certain company name in the query), it makes no sense to add such requests to the semantic core. Even if you have one of the TOP positions for the navigational query, the click-through rate will be very low. The user wants to do something only on the specific site and a search engine is only a navigation tool in this case.

Common queries

This type of query is hard to analyze. They can be both informational and transactional, and very often it is not clear what a user really wants to find. For example:

  • French doors
  • wedding dresses
  • sushi roll

If a user searches for “French doors”, it is unclear whether they want to see the design of the doors or make a purchase, or they are interested in “made to order” doors. The “wedding dresses” query is also unclear because a user may be interested in custom-made dress or wants to watch fashion models of wedding dresses or buy the ready one. The “sushi roll” query may imply that a client wants to know how to make sushi rolls, maybe they want to go to a restaurant and eat sushi there, or maybe they mean “sushi delivery”.

Common queries usually include one-word or short phrases without specification. Typically, the conversion of common queries is low and only certain percentages of them are informational.

To improve usability and website conversions, the common queries should be directed to the page that contains not only information about the product (service) but also an opportunity to buy, as the query may turn out to be transactional.

In the process of compiling the semantic core for an online store, it is important to take into account the target audience. The behavior of potential clients should be analyzed carefully to identify what queries can lead to purchases and generate a maximum conversion rate. Online stores need to focus on transaction queries as they are most effective for sales. Other types of queries are good to form reputation and brand image. In any case, it is necessary to understand what motivates a person to use a certain query and build the strategy according to their motivation.

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