The Four Types of Searchers

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To be successful with paid search advertising, it’s very important to understand the different ways people use search engines. This is very useful for planning your campaigns, and can help you be much more successful in reaching the right people.

Search engine users can be categorized into the following four categories:

  • Buying searchers
  • Shopping searchers
  • Navigational searchers
  • Informational searchers

Be sure to plan and structure your approach around these categories. For each one, you want to think carefully about how much exposure you want, and how much you are willing to pay for it.

Buying searchers
The searches with commercial intent are the most beneficial to the AdWords advertiser. You will want to think about what keywords have the most commercial intent. For example, if you are a photographer looking for freelance work, the keyword phrase “hire a photographer” would make sense — it has a lot of commercial intent.

Shopping searchers
Shopping searchers are considering doing business, but they’re not sure. They want to know what their options are, what prices are, etc. They might be willing to do business immediately if they see the right offer or deal. It is perfectly fine to advertise to shopping searchers, but in a less aggressive way. For sure, you don’t want to pay as much per click, and should keep your bids lower than for searchers a higher degree of commercial intent.

Navigational searchers
Navigational searchers are people who know the website they want to end up on, but instead of typing the website URL into their browser, they search certain words and then click on the link when they see it. For example, if I wanted to go to Coca-Cola’s website, I could search “Coca-Cola website” and Google will give me the link. Sometimes it makes sense to target navigational searches in AdWords. For example, you might want to target people looking for your own website, or your competitors’ websites.

Informational searchers
Most searches on the search engines are informational searches, meaning they just want information about something— they are not looking to do business. Does it make sense to target the searchers in AdWords? Sometimes it can. In fact, this is an approach that is ignored by too many AdWords advertisers. Informational searches can create an opportunity to get exposure and establish a relationship with potential customers. However, you will not want to bid high for this type of click.

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