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Different Content Works For Different Search Queries

Content strategies for different search queries

Despite Google dealing with around 100 billion queries every month, all of these searches can be broken down into three categories: navigational, informational and transactional. To rank for each kind of search query, you’ll need a different content strategy.

What are navigational searches?

A navigational search is one where the user knows exactly where they want to go – it might be a business/website name or it might be directions to a physical destination. Tellingly, the two most common Google searches are both navigational: “facebook” and “youtube”.

Content strategy for navigational searches

While you’re never going to rank for either Facebook or YouTube, it’s important that you’re the top result when someone searches for your business name. If you don’t currently come up top for your name, a short term fix is to take out some Google Ads until your website rises to the top.

To get your own website up there, consider the main SEO ranking factors and how well optimised your site is. Your business name should be prominent on your site, but two places that it’s commonly forgotten are in the title tag and in the alt text of the logo.

Another common navigational search is something like ‘civic web media facebook’ or ‘civic web media twitter’. If you’re signed up to these sites then your account should come up automatically, but if you’ve decided against using any of the popular social media sites then you can still get these searchers coming to you. A blog post explaining why you’re not on that site (and how people should get in touch with you instead) can help you rank and give searchers an answer to their question.

For searches about physical directions, making sure your business can be found on Google Maps and that your site has your address (and instructions on how to get there if it’s not obvious) can help.

What are informational searches?

One of the biggest benefits of the internet is all the information available on it, and users regularly want to learn something. This type of search may not directly lead to a sale, but it gives you a chance to get noticed, build your brand and show off your expertise.

Most searches run on Google are by people looking for information, with Search Engine Land suggesting the figure may be as high as 80% of all searches.

 Content strategy for informational searches

There are two types of content you can provide for informational searches: time sensitive and evergreen.

Time-sensitive information is highly sought after but goes out of date quickly, so needs to be constantly updated or replaced. This type of information would be useful for monthly events, yearly reviews and news articles.

Evergreen content never goes out of date and once you have it you may never have to touch it again (although sporadic edits can improve conversions). This is one of the main advantages of starting a business blog – work you do now may bring in visitors for months and years to come. Examples of this type of content includes how to guides, product reviews and case studies.

A lot of this content can sit on your main website, but setting up a blog allows you to create content on a regular basis without making your site too cluttered. The more useful content you have on your site, the more searches you’ll rank for and the more likely you are to bring in traffic.


What are transactional searches?

A transactional search is performed by someone who’s ready to spend money. It can be something generic (eg “new cars”), specific (eg “new jaguar F-Type”) or something that points them to a seller (eg “jaguar dealership newcastle”). Similar searches may include words like “buy”, “order” or “for sale”.

The person is ready to buy and if you can get them on your site there’s a good chance they’ll buy from you.

 Content strategy for transactional searches

To rank well for transactional searches you need to make sure that you have all your products and services on your website. While having them all listed on one page may get you an occasional hit, separating them into individual pages and giving each one unique descriptive content will give you better results. Because you may not be able to cover all possible search terms for an item on one page, creating blog posts about your products can help you rank for similar phrases.

Paid ads also work well when targeting transactional searches.

A number of factors, such as your industry and your offerings, will dictate a large part of how you should create your content strategy, but knowing about the three different search queries can get you started.


Image: “Google Classic” by Duncan Hull is licensed under CC BY 2.0


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