Types of Search Queries
In the world of eCommerce, searcher intent can be organized into three types of search queries: Navigational queries, Informational queries, or Transactional queries. These three types are outlined below:
People commonly search for a brand or company name, or a specific website. These are known as navigational searches. For example, people love to type “Facebook.com” into Google’s search box.
In the neverending search that is life, human beings are constantly seeking answers to questions, and this is where informational queries come in.
Words used in informational search queries are often a look inside the searcher’s mind. For instance, some queries are basic, like “how to start an LLC", “what is conversion rate optimization”. Others, like search queries including words such as ‘reviews’ or ‘quotes’ (“Tesla reviews” or “dental insurance quotes”), indicate that people are well past the discovery portion of the customer journey, and are most likely further down the sales funnel, researching social proof and listening to what others say before making a purchase decision.
These are the searches to do something specific like “buy dental insurance” or “wagyu beef for sale”. These commonly include the the words “get”, “buy", or “subscribe”. Transaction oriented search queries occur when the searcher has their credit card out and is ready to make a purchase.
Stages of a Basic Sales Funnel
These types of search queries represent different moments people have before making a purchase online and they align with the stages of a sales funnel.
If you’re interested in improving your website’s conversion rate, start by making sure your content speaks to individuals at every stage of the sales funnel by considering the Navigational, Informational, and Transactional queries they might be making.
In this stage, people are seeking information and knowledge on a topic. Examples can be tips, white papers, newsletters, checklists, infographics, press releases or blog posts.
The consideration stage is where people seek demonstration of solutions and expertise. Examples are webinars, case studies, reviews, testimonials, product pages, spec sheets, videos, or consumer information guides.
The decision stage is where people show signs of being ready to buy, and are simply looking for reinforcement and validation. Appropriate content assets for this stage are things like Free Trials, Demos, Free Consults, Quotes and Estimates, and are often located right next to the buy button.
The retention stage is where you continue providing helpful information about the product or service, essentially nurturing the client relationship. It’s also where you have the most opportunity to upsell and/or improve their average lifetime value of any given customer.
Every piece of content on your website needs to work in concert, helping visitors investigate further into the sales funnel with each call-to-action.
A Blog Can Help, Big Time
If you’ve been in business for any period of time, you most likely have an existing website and perhaps even a blog on that website. If, for some reason, your website is void of a blog, take a moment to consider why and reflect on this article about the importance of blogging.
Having a blog is the perfect vehicle to amass a corpus that assists in building trust, establishing your brand, and setting you apart from the competition as the go-to source for information in your industry.
Additionally, blog articles are meant to act as landing pages, or individual doorways into your website. When crafting content for your blog, consider at least one article for every level of search intent.
Improving Existing Pages
Focusing your content to searcher intent doesn't have to be relegated to a blog, however. You've probably got content on your site already, so you can optimize what's there in place of or in tandem with new content creation.
For this exercise, begin with the pages that drive the most traffic to your website. If you don’t know what pages bring you the most web traffic, look at your Google Analytics account and drill down to Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages.
Then, ask yourself “Do these pages have a high bounce rate”? Bounce Rate is the percentage of visitors who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page (regardless of the time spent on that page). Google monitors each of your website page’s bounce rate, downgrading your rank if it sees more people are bouncing off, indicating users aren't finding what they were looking for.
Ideally, you want the user to engage further with the website by clicking through to another page on the website, getting them closer to the target behavior.
Google wants to provide relevant, helpful, and valuable content, so a good bounce rate is essential. And, as you guessed, this all lines up with the search intent.
The spectrum of search intent is broad and varied. A great place to start is with keyword research. It can help narrow the expansive list of prospects down to targeted topics, and help guide blog post and dynamic content development.
An easy and straightforward approach to keyword research is be summarized by Rand Fishkin of MOZ in a recent Whiteboard Friday video.
This article only really scratches the surface of true search intent as it relates to improving your conversion rate. There are many things to consider, many tools to use, and a lot of data to sort through in order to do it right.
Consider this short read as a catalyst, suggesting different ways to approach the content on your site. Moving forward, consider all the ways to align your content with the people you want to attract and retain.