Search Types

The 3 Types of Searches

Why search intent is the difference between your online business success or failure

Think about this. When you enter a phrase into Google and then hit the Search button, what is your Intent? In other words, what are you trying to accomplish? Are you shopping? Or are you just trying to find out something like where to eat dinner tonight or how to check the tire pressure on your car?

You know the answer ­ it depends. The point is that you use keyphrases to do searches in Google with different goals in mind. So why should that matter to you as an online business? It matters because you’re trying to get in front of searchers whose Intent is to buy what you’re selling. To fully understand this, you need to understand the 3 types of Search Intents.


Generally, searches can be divided into 3 types:

  1. NAVIGATIONAL ­ This is a search done to locate a certain site or online resource. Here’s a good example. Did you know that one of the most common searches done in Google is ‘’? Yes, people actually put Yahoo’s address into Google’s search box instead of just typing it into the browser bar. They just want to go to Yahoo and that’s how they do it. That is a Navigational Search.
  2. INFORMATION ­ This is when you want to find out some type of information, whether that’s the address of a dry cleaner near you or a synopsis of a TV show episode you missed. You simply want to find out or learn something.
  3. TRANSACTIONAL ­ This is the one you’re after if you’re in business. These are the searches that are done when people are working toward a purchase of a product or service. These are the searches that pay your rent and they’re the difference between success and failure.

So what’s the big deal? It seems the only thing you need to do is target those Transactional searches and watch the money roll in, right? It’s not quite that easy. Keyphrases that would seem to be the most likely winners often fail to produce conversions. There’s a whole psychology on why that is that even our best marketing minds haven’t figured out yet. But they know it’s true.

One way you can use this knowledge of the 3 types is to eliminate obvious losers from your PPC campaigns by using Negative keywords. For instance, if you’re selling real estate, you’ll want to make sure you’re not appearing for keyphrases like ‘Real Estate Jobs’ or ‘Real Estate Courses’. Obvious, but they make the point. Those are not Transactional Searches.

Understanding the 3 search types and their focuses will also give you a better sense of what keywords to target or at least try out. It’s a skill or instinct that will grow the more you work online, but remember to always trust data over a hunch. It’s the only way to be sure.

As you gather data from SEO and PPC, you’ll be able to start drawing clear lines on what column the keyphrases you’re appearing for belong under. Then start focusing on those that are proving to be Transactional and stick with them. They’re your lifeline.

Contact us today about taking your SEO & PPC to new profitable levels

Article written by Jonathan Cook

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