Transactional Web Search Queries   23 comments

In Transactional web search queries  the person searching the web wishes to perform some interaction aside from reading. Many search engine marketers tend to spend a great deal of time focusing on transactional queries because they want to target searchers who are ready to buy. On the surface, focusing on a specific point in the buying cycle might seem like a great way to save time and money. However, this strategy may cost website owners prospects and lifetime customers. Transactional queries are important to website owners and search engine optimization professionals because they both hope to capture searchers at a critical point in the buying process: right when they are ready to buy and provide personal information (such as name, address, phone number, email address, and so on).

Additionally, items such as videos, sound files, slide shows, games, and so forth can increase the stickiness of a site, encouraging site visitors to stay on your site longer and view more content. Popular and informative interactive items can also increase a site’s external, third-party link development, which has a direct impact on a website’s rankings.

Transactional Intent: It is sometimes tricky because searchers do not always type the activity they wish to perform as a keyword. Example,  a person might be interested in buying a smartphone but does not type in the word purchase or buy as query words.

As another example, searchers might want to watch a video but not type the word watch as part of the search query. Searchers can show transactional intent by using nouns (video, music, game) as well as verbs (download, chat, enroll). The activity might occur on an actual website, such as getting a quote for auto insurance. Or the activity might occur
offline, such as making a phone call to a local pharmacy to refill a prescription.

Nevertheless, an easier case occurs when searchers do type the exact activity they wish to perform. The words download, apply, search, and find are more commonly used than you might imagine. Regular keyword research often reveals the precise action that searchers wish to take, and these action words (usually verbs) should appear in search listings as well as corresponding landing pages. Web pages that satisfy transactional intent do have special features, as shown in the following examples.

(A) Buying products: Product pages on an ecommerce site should satisfy transactional queries. Since searchers with transactional intent wish to perform a specific activity, product pages that meet their expectations should include the
following items:

-Actual query words

-Words associated with the desired activity (such as Add to Cart,associated with the words buy or purchase)

-Clear call to action

-Enough graphic and textual information (such as a product photo, product description, and price) to close the sale.

All of this information should appear above the fold, so that site visitors do not have to scroll. In other words, searchers’ most desired information and desired transactional keywords should appear above the fold.

(B) Entertainment: Transactional intent does not automatically mean the desire to purchase a product or service. People also use the web for entertainment. Recent years have seen a global explosion in online video viewing, photo sharing,
and audio file downloads.

Here are a few reasons that many users dislike Flash videos:

-users have to watch a video before they see their keywords validated.                                                                                                 -videos tend not to be keyword focused.                                                                                                                                                             -site visitors never see their keywords validated on a web page.

After users click a link to a web page from a search engine listing, they generally do not want to watch a video (which might be an advertisement).

Search Listings and Transactional queries: In terms of individual parts of a transactional search listing, transactional listings are similar to informational search listings. The URL is less important to searchers because the information and the associated activity is the main target, not necessarily the URL.

For a transactional query, the two most important items in a search listing are the (1) title-tag content, and (2) the page snippet or meta-tag description. If the activity words play, set, and try appear in the listing description, it encourages
searchers to click the link to the website.

Transactional query indicators: Your Web analytics data and keyword research data can help you determine
which query words show transactional intent. Some transactional query indicators include:

-Specific interaction verbs (buy, find, search, download, play, view, log in, register, enroll, subscribe, join,   apply,contact, chat, and so on).
– Nouns that are associated with some type of activity (games,movies, music, recipes, slide shows, demo, tour, quote, calculator,software or the software name, and so on).
– File extensions for non text files (.jpg for photos, .mp3 for music, and .mpg for videos) and file compression (.zip for
Windows computers and .sit for Macintosh computers).

Optimizing for transactional queries:

-The primary call to action should be painfully obvious to both site owners and searchers. For example, if you want
searchers to download a fi le, the word download should be part of the hyperlink, and that hyperlink should look clickable.

-Include desired activity words in the title tag on key pages. For example, if you offer a specific search page on your site, then make sure you use the word search or find in the title, heading, URL, and description of the page. Likewise, if you have a login page on your site, such as an email login, make sure you use the word login in the title, heading, URL, and description of your page.

-Don’t assume searchers want to take an action without initiating it themselves. In other words, don’t start playing a video or sound file unless the searcher specifically indicates that he wishes to watch the video or listen to the sound file.

-Focus groups are not always the best source of information for feedback on interactivity and multimedia because the focus group leader, not the user, guides the interactivity. Furthermore, a focus group typically shows initial reactions to an interactive feature, not long-term effects.

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23 responses to “Transactional Web Search Queries

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