Informational, Transactional & Navigational: How Different Search Engines Affect How Searches Work

An info graphic about the information, transactions, and navigation all affect search engines differently

So, you think you’ve got a killer online marketing strategy? You’re up-to-date on the latest in SEO, you’ve got PPC and Facebook advertising campaigns galore and you’re writing thoughtful and relevant blogs to promote your brand. That’s great! But if you’re still not seeing the results you want for your business, maybe it’s time to dig a little deeper into what categories of searches consumers are making and how their use of various search engines can affect the success of your online marketing strategy.

An Overview of SEO Search Categories


Transactional searches are also referred to as the “do” searches. These types of searches are related to a specific action that the searcher is hoping to take. The user is hoping to either buy something, sign up for something or download something.


Navigational searches aim to get the user to a specific destination (i.e. a website). Also called the “go” search, navigational searches typically have only that one specific website destination in mind, and thus are very direct.


Research shows that about 80 percent of all searches are informational searches while the other 20 percent are navigational or transactional. With these searches the user is looking to know something. He or she is hoping to find some piece of information.

Understanding these three types of searches is important in online marketing and SEO, as it can help you streamline your keyword strategy for one of these end goals in mind: do, go or know. Going even further beyond search categories, next it’s time to look at how different Internet browsers can influence the effectiveness of your marketing strategy and what types of searches work best with each.

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What Search Engines are Consumers Using & How Does This Affect Marketing Strategies?

Internet search engines are programs that help users search for keywords on the web and find the information they are searching for. Today, the most popular search engines are Google (over one billion monthly visitors), Bing (350 million monthly visitors) and Yahoo (300 million monthly visitors). Each search engine is built differently, which means that an SEO strategy that works really well on Yahoo might not be the best on Google.

There are some similarities in how these top three search engines operate. All three put emphasis on the importance of link building. The more high-quality links to your website, the more your website will be seen. Geographic location incorporated in the keywords is also important, as this helps improve local search. Finally, all three make room for paid search, which can be an effective way to improve web presence and get more clicks to your website.


What About the Differences?

Keywords do work differently between Google and Yahoo/Bing. Google seems to have a better ability to recognize the content around keywords and how search keyword meanings might be affected by current events and synonyms. On Bing and Yahoo, keywords are taken much more literally, so using a very clear and direct keyword is best. Google and Bing both feature answer boxes on a section of the search results page, which serves to give basic information regarding the search keyword.

So, do these differences affect your strategy for how to target the best SEO results for different categories of searches? For informational searches, it seems that Google and Bing tend to be more useful to consumers by pulling up that handy informational box to the side of the results page. However, this box typically will pull information from Wikipedia or other websites that get the most clicks and are deemed the most reliable. That means that you may have to work extra hard to get your informational content to be seen. You should do your best to build more high-quality content, including blogs, step-by-step guides and more in order to get your website ranking higher on the page for informational searches.

For transactional searches, PPC tends to be a good approach. Users performing transactional searches are more likely to be ready to spend money on a service or product, so directing them to your website where through paid search campaigns can really pay off. Navigational searches are pretty simple: either you own the website they’re searching for, or you don’t.

Want to Learn More?

Let our SEO and online marketing gurus help you update your marketing strategy for a better web presence. Contact us today! And don’t forget to Pin the image below to save this for later!

Informational, Transactional & Navigational Searches: How Different Search Engines Affect How Searches Work

Author Sydney Rayl

A fourth generation Jayhawk, Sydney Rayl has a degree in Creative Writing and French. After graduation, she put her degree to good use as a high school English teacher in France, where she enjoyed croissants aplenty. Turn The Page snagged Sydney shortly after she returned from abroad, and clients enjoy the extra dose of “je ne sais quoi” she injects into all her content, from blogs and website pages to social media campaigns.

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