How Your Customers Use The Three Different Types of Searches on Google

three different types of searches on Google

The Three Different Types of Searches: What You Need To Know

SEO has changed so much since I designed, coded and optimized my first website in 2004. The evolution of Google being a search engine, to more of a referral engine, as I like to call it, was an experience to witness over the years. Hold on to your hat, it’s only going to change more. Did you know about the 3 different types of searches?

Today, search engine optimization, or SEO, significantly affects the bottom line of pretty much any company on the planet. Back in the day, SEO pretty much was all about just links and rankings.

Years ago, SEOs would be largely be responsible for getting websites found in search results for targeted, keyword rich, search queries. If you think about it, social media takes care of that sort of brand discovery in many ways.

I’ve always believed search marketing (SEO, SEM) and social media marketing (SMM) go hand in hand, along with a comprehensive and relevant content strategy, in and digital marketing campaign. That’s why VPDM is powered by a lucrative mix of content + search + social.

Today however, we’re going to focus on and learn about the 3 types of search your business needs to understand in order to maximize your SEO strategy and your website conversions.


It’s all about understanding how the search funnel and the sales funnel are similar and directly related.


sales and markleting funnel is directly related to different types of searches


What Are The 3 Types of Search?

I found it very interesting when researching for this post, that the three types of search are so similar to the different stages of the sales and marketing funnel. The three types of searches detailed below compartmentalize how people use Google search in that it’s either navigational, informational, or transactional.

This is similar to the sales and marketing funnel in that consumers follow this approach: need recognition and discovery at the top of the funnel, researching competitors and options is the middle part of the sales funnel, and finally making a design to purchase is the bottom end of the funnel.

navigational search

1. Top of The Sales Funnel – Navigational Search

If a user requires details and directions to solve a problem and they turn to Google, they are in the navigational search process. These types of searches involve people who need some direction to make a purchase decision.

Navigational searches use fairly broad keywords. Specifics don’t come in until the next two searches. People are in full research mode here.

+ What’s the SEO strategy?

If targeting navigational searchers and people in the very early stages of a purchase, you’re best to focus on short-tail, broad keywords. Branded keywords would be helpful if your brand was synonymous with your product and your strategy was going for an increase in brand recognition.

Publishing and sharing quality content, in various forms of easily consumable media, is the next step to foster brand recognition, build trust, and convert these searches deeper into your sales and marketing funnel.


2. Middle of the Sales Funnel – Informational Search

informational search

If you’ve ever shopped on the internet, you know that once you know what you want, Google can be your best friend for more discovery. You can find product reviews and read other feedback on various websites as well as social media platforms.

Informational search is the phase many marketers love. In this phase of search, users are researching products and services that they are legitimately interested in. They are looking for the best solution to their problem.

Your job is to find this info and create useful content to help solve their problem. For example, Top 10 lists, video tutorials, product benefit pdf’s, pricing information, etc.

+ What’s the SEO strategy?

In this case, you want to focus your keyword research on more specific, long-tail keywords and phrases, as well as all related phrases. Branded keywords are vital here as well. You’re going for more of a targeted approach with users in the informational search phase.

I find the key to attracting users in this phase is research. If you have some killer on-page SEO with educated keyword targeting, have your metadata up to date and optimized, including all images an links, you have an excellent opportunity to draw qualified traffic to your website’s products and services.

Create useful content made up of blog posts, e-books, tutorials, slideshare decks, and even podcasts. Optimize the hell out of each and ensure your content is always pushing people through your sales funnel.

Always be sure to check analytics during and after a campaign. You’ll want to see how many users consumed your content and whether they engaged with it somehow by leaving a comment, sharing it, or downloading an e-book in exchange for some key lead generation information they provided through a form on your website, before downloading the content.

This data on how targeted, informational users clicked through your site will help you understand this segment and create more content that they’ll find useful, so you can close more deals!


transactional search

3. Bottom of the Funnel / Ready To Buy – Transactional Search

People using transactional search are near the end of the sales funnel and ready to purchase. They have done their research, narrowed down their choices to a management short list, and now want to close the deal along with you.

Keep in mind that these types of users can be very easily converted with the right content, optimized using specific long-tail keywords and phrases related to your business and location.

+ What’s the SEO Strategy?

This gold mine of qualified, motivated, transactional search using people is sort of difficult to target simply because of the lower search volume. But as mentioned, they are motivated to buy and given the right content, or the right optimization, they will easily come across your products and services if you’re master how to target them effectively.

Determine all your customers pain points. Create quality content, using specific long-tail keywords. Do your research on those keywords and “blow them up” using your favourite keyword tool to discover many more related terms people are using when searching.


The Wrap

SEO has changed and that’s no secret. Today, the sales and marketing funnel is very much equally aligned to the 3 different types of searches performed on search engines every day.

Users who are in the “need discovery” stage tend to be users who use the navigational search method. They know they have a need, but they need to figure out how to solve it.

They need direction and therefore this search method works best for them.

Users who know pretty much what they want and are now choosing the best deal from the most qualified brand are know to use the second type of search method known as Informational search. These users need answers to narrow down their purchase choices.

Once they have decided and short-listed, they are ready to buy and are now performing transactional searches. Their queries are very specific and full of long-tail keywords and phrases.

This is a brand’s best opportunity to close a sale and sign up another customer.


What’s your SEO strategy of the coming months? Are you targeting the right users, at the right time, with the right message?

If you need help crafting a comprehensive SEO or Local SEO strategy, let’s talk.

I’d be happy to provide a basic SEO audit of your website and let you know how we can fix any issues, in order to help you reach your goals.


In the meantime, for regular SEO insights, please follow me on Twitter, circle on Google+, or connect on LinkedIn.


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