Navigational Query: What Is a Navigational Query?

A navigational query is an internet search with the intent of finding a specific website or web page. For example, the search query “facebook” is navigational because the intent is to access Facebook. Think of a navigational query as an alternative to typing a full URL.

navigational-query-facebook-example

Can I target navigational queries?

Unfortunately, unless you own the brand the searcher is looking for, you’re not going to get much return on investments in navigational queries. Why? Because the intent of this type of search is extremely clear: the searcher wants to visit Facebook (or YouTube, or Pinterest, or whatever). Your chances of redirecting their search journey to your website or product are just about slim to none.

However, not all searches that appear to be navigational are so. For example, the search query “facebook” could certainly be entered with the intent of reading the latest news about the social media platform. Therefore, if you’re a news outlet or your company website features a blog, articles you publish about Facebook stand a chance of ranking organically on the first SERP. To learn more about how you can do this, read our material on search engine optimization (SEO).

So, what if I own the brand behind the navigational query?

Bid on it. Make sure you’re at the top of both the paid and the organic results.

Now, it may seem wasteful to pay for keywords when you’re already the top organic result, but this is actually a highly profitable move. Indeed, branded keywords tend to drive more clicks and conversions. Plus, think about how it would look if your chief competitor snagged the #1 paid spot for searches containing your brand name.

What are the other types of search queries?

An informational search query is broad word or phrase with the intent of finding more information about it. For example, “baseball” is considered an informational search query because the searcher is most likely aiming to learn more about baseball. Demonstrably, there is often little to no commercial intent behind these searches.

navigational-query-baseball-example

So, how can your target informational search queries? As they are difficult to monetize, the best approach is the unpaid route: SEO. If there is an informational query relevant to your business, you can use content to drive relevant traffic to your site. For instance, if you own a concert venue, create a blog on your website and write some posts about the histories of different musical genres. Then, when someone searches “rock music,” they find your blog. Ideally, they’ll be interested in an upcoming show and buy some tickets! You can read more about the SEO practices you need to master here.

A transactional search query is one that shows commercial intent. In other words, consumers use these queries when they’re looking to purchase a product or a service. For example, a search for “espresso machine” most likely comes from someone looking to up their caffeine intake. In these situations, paid search is your best bet. When a searcher is commercially driven, they are considerably more likely to click on a sponsored result than an organic result. Plus, ads give you a lot more options in terms of catching the searcher’s attention and driving them to your site. You can write an awesome headline, include a picture of your product, evoke an emotional response in the ad copy, and so on.

Speaking generally, of course, a healthy balance of SEO and PPC is the best way to go.