Understanding How People Search on the Internet

Awad Nadeem
Awad Nadeem
Digital Marketing Consultant

One of the most important keys to a successful SEO strategies, is the understanding of how people use search engines.

Below you will find 3 main ways that people use to search online:

  1. Navigational Queries

This is a search query with an intent to visit a specific site or page. So for example people would type: facebook.com, then wait the search results to click on Facebook.

Some other examples would be:

  1. Informational Queries

An informational query is a question looking for an answer. Google handles around 3.8 million searches per minute across the globe! That is around 5.6 billion searches per day. Some example of such queries would look like this:

  • How to build a website
  • What is the time in New York now
  • Best 55”TV

Although some of the questions wont be that simple, search engines would return links to websites providing those answers (and often a combination of a partial answer from the search engine and then informational resources).

  1. Commercial / Transactional Queries

These queries are typically driven by an intent to buy. This intent can be quite loose, or the beginning of a journey towards a purchase, or can be much more urgent in their requirement.

Examples of such queries could include:

  • Best SUV
  • BMW 3 series price
  • Gas BBQ special offer
  • Bedrooms price

Now looking at those types of queries, the question is: how does google or any search engine classify those queries?

Go, Know & Do

Google classifies these queries as go, know and do and whilst exact figures are hard to come by, the general rule is as follows:

  • Go: navigational queries = 10% search volume
  • Do: transactional queries = 10% search volume
  • Know: informational queries = 80% search volume

It’s important to note here that 80% of the search volume is typically these informational searches, yet most businesses focus only on the 10% of commercial queries. Giving some thought to the know queries allows you to position your business in front of customers at the beginning of the journey that may well start with a search for information but slowly progresses towards commercial intent.


An important part of your SEO strategy should always be understanding the ways in which potential customers search for your products and services.

If you would like to learn about SEO in general, please visit our blog. If you would like to set up a consultation session for your business, please visit our website, and contact us for more information.