3 Types of Search and How to Approach Them

Google processes over 40,000 queries every second, which amounts to trillions of searches every year. To better understand your audience you need to understand their intent when they press “Enter” in Google’s search bar.

Analyzing search queries can help you decide which type of content suits your blog/business the most. Generally, it’s common to distinguish three types of search queries: transactional, informational and navigational.

Google simply calls them: “do”, “know”, “go”.

Here’s a breakdown of each of these queries and how to approach them when producing content.

1. Transactional query

Transactional or “do” queries are type of queries where a user is looking to accomplish a specific action. Usually, user’s intent is very clear and he’s ready to buy something, download something, or register somewhere. Generally, these users are at the end of a sales funnel and have their credit card nearby.

A good example of a transactional query would be “iPhone X discount”. This query indicates that the user is looking to buy an iPhone and save money by using student discounts. Or here’s another example that came to mind.

Example of a transactional search query

Example of a transactional search query using A2 Hosting.

These type of search queries are the most valuable for businesses, because they require very little effort in persuading user to make a purchase. In addition, transactional queries are usually the most competitive, because of how commercially valuable they are. Transactional queries are suitable for large e-commerce websites like Amazon, eBay, or Best Buy.

Affiliates often abuse transactional queries by ranking low quality “review” websites for a quick profit bringing very little value to both the owner of the product, and the customer.

If you own a product, or offer a service you should create separate pages optimized for transactional queries. You can use this simple formula to generate a list of highly profitable keywords: [product/service] + transactional query.

  • [product] + discount, coupon
  • buy, purchase, order, cheap + [product]
  • [product] + review, scam

While the latter can also fall in into the informational category, it still has commercial intent. User is ready to make a purchase as long as the product delivers on its’ promises. To persuade him you should include a review section on your website to eliminate all doubt in his mind.

2. Informational query

Informational or “know” queries amount to 80% of all search queries processed by Google according to this study. They are easily distinguished from other types, because of everyday value they bring to our lives.

“What’s the height of the Eiffel Tower?”

“Who was the second astronaut who landed on the moon?”

“How to make fluffy pancakes?”

All of these are informational queries, which are extremely difficult to monetize. However, targeting these type of queries are crucial in building relationships with your potential customers. Here’s an example of an informational search query.

Example of an informational query

Example of an informational query using Donald Trump.

Your only option here is provide genuinely valuable search-optimized content across multiple mediums which addresses questions users might have. Here are some examples of how to approach this type of query:

  • Create valuable articles which provide solutions, or answers to specific questions.
  • Produce valuable videos which explain how to do something.
  • Create infographics which illustrate a concept, or visualize a problem.
  • Build an online tool that solves a problem, or makes a difficult task easier.

In other words, informational queries are the land of limitless creativity. If your business does not have a blog, I recommend you start one immediately. A blog will help you build brand awareness, authority and trust among your customers. It’s a way to stand out by simply being unique.

3. Navigational query

Navigational or “go” are type of queries with a specific and clear intent. They are used to find a website, brand, or business. For example, if a person enters “Facebook” into the address bar, he’s clearly looking for Facebook, not anything else.

In fact, the three most searched queries on Google are “facebook”, “youtube” and “google”. People prefer logging in to these websites by searching Google rather than using bookmarks, or typing the URL directly.

Example of a navigational query

Example of a navigational search query using YouTube.

Navigational queries are generally brand specific, which means if you’re not the owner of that brand there’s not much you can do about them. However, if you own that brand make sure your page shows up first in both organic and paid results.

Branded keywords have significantly higher conversion rates and bring larger profits on every ad dollar spent.


There are three types of search queries: transactional (“do”), informational (“know”) and navigational (“go”). Distinguishing them helps understand user intent and approach them accordingly.

In addition, you’ll be able to discover untapped traffic sources, profitable keywords, and turn information hungry users into potential customers. All while building brand awareness, authority and trust.

Do you have any questions on the subject? Do you have anything to add? Ask me in the comments below!

David Pixel

Entrepreneur, blogger, amateur designer and founder of PixelProfits. Loves mountain biking, enjoys white wine and music. Hates Estonian weather.

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