If you were to look at the average search engine user, their search history would boil down to three basics types of search—informational, transactional and navigational. An informational search is when they are looking for information, perhaps the answer to a question. Transactional searches are when a user is looking to take action, they’ll use words like “buy” or “download” in their search query. Navigational searches are when a user searches by brand or product name.
All three of these search types are important and your site has to be optimized for each one of them. Informational search is usually the easiest to optimize your site for. It’s just a matter of selecting and incorporating the right keywords on your site’s pages. Navigational search occurs when all your other marketing efforts are working together to help build your brand visibility. But I see a lot of sites fail to fully optimize for transactional searches.
A user who is conducting a transactional search is nearing the end of their buying cycle. They have conducted all the research and are ready to make a purchasing decision. You want your site to be the one they purchase from! Oftentimes a user conducting a transaction search isn’t looking for a specific company or brand; they are focusing on the product. For instance, they search “buy women’s running shoes” instead of “Nike women’s running shoes” or “best women’s running shoes.” “Buy women’s running shoes” is a transactional search. “Nike women’s running shoes” is a navigational search and “best women’s running shoes” is an informational search. You want to make sure your site shows up for “buy women’s running shoes.”
Users conducting transactional searches are often more willing to comb through the search results then those conducting informational searches. They might click through several pages of results until they find exactly what they are looking for.
A great (and simple) way to optimize your site for transactional searches is simply to include call-to-actions throughout your page content and site components like Meta tags and descriptions. If your website sells computer software, incorporate phrases like “Download a free trial of our X software today!” Other buzzwords like “buy,” “order,” “purchase,” “sign up” and “try” make great call-to-actions and can help your site rank for transactional searches.
Attaching these call-to-action words to your targeted keywords is also a great way to turn a competitive keyword into a long-tail keyword. While the number of transactional searches may not be as high as the number of informational searches, those users conducting transactional searches got money to spend and they want to spend it! Make sure this highly targeted visitor finds your site!