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Every search begins with keywords. Period.

It starts with the Search Box and is driven by the searcher’s intent.

Google Canada Search Box

First you need to know who your target audience is. And then… understand the searcher.

Search Queries: Know the three types

      1. Navigational
      2. Informational
      3. Transactional

(Adapted from: A Taxonomy of Web Search by Andrei Broder).

What Is a Navigational Search Query?

Navigational search queries are performed by web searchers with the intent of finding a website, or a specific web page. Search terms can include words, phrases, abbreviations and even domain names or URLs.

What Is an Informational Search Query?

Informational search queries are simply a search for information. The web searcher often has a question that requires an answer or wants to learn how to do something. Search terms tend to be broad with the search engines generating numerous relevant results.

What Is a Transactional Search Query?

Transactional search queries are those searches that have the intent of performing a specific action. Search terms can include exact brand and product names as well as action words (buy, download, subscribe etc…)

Understanding current search behaviours is also critical in 2014. How one searches has evolved greatly over the years.

So… taking the different types of search queries into consideration is important when building your keyword list.

But first you need to understand keyword types – and the differences. Not all keywords are the same.

Keyword Types: Know the difference

Organic Keywords vs. Paid Keywords

The difference between organic and paid keywords is cost. Search Engines send web traffic that you pay for via PPC (Pay-Per-Click) campaigns unlike organic traffic – which is free.

Branded Keywords vs. Non-Branded Keywords

The keyword difference between branded and non-branded is the inclusion of brand name (or some variation), or lack thereof. In other words, the web searcher knows you or does not. 

Seasonal vs. Non-Seasonal Keywords

This one is likely self-explanatory. Seasonal keywords target specific times of the year, whereas non-seasonal keywords are always relevant.

Before you go any further…

Keyword Targeting: What doesn’t work

Selecting keywords that are:

        • Too broad
        • Highly competitive
        • Low traffic volume
        • Don’t convert
        • Not used by searchers

Move beyond your keyword assumptions…

Keyword Research: It’s a MUST

Here are the steps…

        1. Brainstorm seed keywords (in-house)
        2. Research related keywords based on relevancy (& web searchers)
        3. Analyze the keywords’ search volume and competitiveness (keyword difficulty)
        4. Evaluate competitors’ keywords
        5. Develop a list of keywords to target
        6. Perform keyword integration
        7. Test, measure, modify – and refine your keyword portfolio

    This, of course is an ongoing process. Things change.

    In terms of measurement, think keyword conversions. Not rankings (but post-click analysis).

    How are your keywords performing?