Types of search queries

December 24, 2021 - Reading time: 6 minutes

Having entered the phrase into the search line, a person wants to find the necessary information, buy a product, order a service, chat or watch a broadcast. Search engines, in turn, try to provide the most relevant pages of sites. In this article, we will look at the main types of search queries.

In 2017, Google disclosed the approximate number of processed requests: there are at least 2 trillion of them per year, or about 63 thousand requests per second, of which about 15% are previously unknown requests.

There are a lot of requests and their number is growing every second. But why and who needs this information? This article will be useful for beginner SEOs and business owners. For the first, it will help in drawing up the semantic core of the site and distributing requests across pages, for the second - for a basic understanding of what requests their site can appear in search results and to control their promotion contractor.

Request intent

To begin with, it should be clear that each request corresponds to a specific intent. What is it? The intent is the user's need. There are requests with a precise need, for example, "taxi washington". It is clear here that a person needs to call a taxi and get from point “A” to point “B”. But if he simply enters “taxi” into the search engine, then perhaps, instead of ordering a service, he wanted to watch the movie “Taxi”.

Search query classification

By frequency:

  • High-frequency (HF) queries are usually key in a niche and consist of 1-2 words. As a rule, it is quite difficult to bring them to the TOP due to high competition, especially in large cities. To advance to the first positions for such keywords, it is necessary to develop the site on all fronts: here is the technical part, excellent usability, and a high-quality link profile - in everything you need to be better than your competitors.
  • Medium-frequency (MF) queries give less traffic, but are also more targeted. Usually they include up to 4-5 words and lead to the pages of sections and subsections of the site. They have a higher conversion compared to HF requests.
  • Low-frequency (LF) queries are the most rarely requested phrases, usually consisting of 4-5 words. They are the easiest and cheapest to promote in organic and paid search. Many SEOs refuse such requests due to the fact that they will not bring a lot of traffic to the site. But you should always remember that they are the most converting ones.

By the competitiveness of the request:

  • Highly competitive (HC) requests
  • Medium Competitive (MC) queries
  • Low Competitive (LC) Requests

The competitiveness of the request shows how difficult it will be to move the page to the TOP of the search results. There is no specific formula for this indicator; each SEO specialist chooses the most suitable calculation method for himself (KEI, third-party services).

By geo-dependency of the request:

  • Geo-dependent. Are not geo-referenced within the query itself and the results are generated based on the user's location. A trivial example is “to cure a tooth inexpensively”. For a user from New York, an issue with New York dentistry will be shown, for a person from Chicago - with Chicago clinics.
  • Geo-independent. Queries without reference to a region (since this region is already specified in the query), the search results will not depend on the user's location. Examples of queries: “how to fix a refrigerator”, “how to cook a cheesecake” and commercial ones like “cure a tooth in DC” In this case, the issue for a person, wherever he is, will be approximately the same.

By business value:

  • Commercial queries are the most favorite queries in SEO-promotion of sites for goods and services. Examples: “iphone13 price”, “order contextual advertising” and similar. These are the “hottest” requests with high conversion, a person enters them into the search when he already knows the intention to purchase something. Signs of commercial inquiries:
    - There are marker words - “buy”, “price”, “order”;
    - There is a bundle of product/service + toponym - "Ferrari rental near me", "exotic car rental Dubai". As you see there is no need to insert extra words like your address or prepositions. Just what you search for and where – this is how you’ll get results on how to get the most luxury driving experience, what models are included into the sportscar category, and which VIP cars are now available for renting. The smart algorithm will search everything for you.
    - When analyzing SERPs in a search engine, almost the entire TOP will be occupied by commercial sites;
  • Information requests (or non-commercial) - requests that are entered without the desire to buy/acquire something. Examples: “iphone 13 pros and cons”, “how to set up contextual advertising”. Such requests will bring additional traffic to the site, and some of the visitors may become potential buyers in the future. In addition, through informational articles, you can show your expertise and gain trust in absentia.


  • Seasonal requests - requests, the frequency of which depends on the time / season. Example: “gifts for the new year”. Seasonality can be tracked using Google Trends.
  • Off-season requests - requests for goods / services, the demand for which is kept at the same level. Examples: “buy a watch”, “buy a hard drive”.

Other types of requests:

  • General queries are high frequency monosyllabic queries, for example, “coffee”, “book”, “laptop”. It is not clear from them what the user would like to know: the cost of a laptop in an online store or an article on how to choose one. For such general phrases, they are purposefully not promoted either in SEO or in contextual advertising , because in terms of the amount it will come out very costly, and the conversion will be very low.
  • Transactional requests are requests by entering which the user wants to perform a certain action. Examples are “buy a Christmas tree”, “download a Muse album”. Very often, transactional and commercial requests overlap.
  • Navigation queries are queries that are entered when they want to get to a specific site. Examples: “shop apple how to get there”, “zara address”.
  • Vital queries can be classified as a type of navigation query. They consist of only one word - the brand name, without additional explanatory words. The goal is to bring it to the official website of the company.
  • Media queries - queries to find media content. Typically these phrases contain the words “photo,” “video,” “clip,” and other markers.

The classification of search queries into different types is convenient not only for SEO specialists, but also for search engines, as it allows you to make the search results more relevant and form the most accurate answer to the query.

Author: Evelina Brown