A recent Google report indicated that yearly searches topped one trillion in 2015. This implies that the billions of queries conducted by millions of people on a daily basis provide a way to learn, evaluate businesses, and make purchases based on the type of content they find. In fact, a single post could change the opinions of a customer base in just a few seconds, which goes to further emphasise the importance of content marketing in any online marketing campaign.
But what exactly are the thoughts behind these searches?
While every marketer may be aware of the importance of creating valuable content, not all of them know how to customise their content so it aligns with the intentions of different search categories. Actually, there are four search categories with unique characteristics:
· Navigational searches – usually involve finding correct and accurate information about a certain item, and often direct the user to a specific website.
· Informational searches – encompass all types of searches in order to find out something, and involve the use of “how”, “why”, “what”, etc.
· Commercial searches – these types of searches are informational but usually with the intention to make a purchase
· Transactional searches – usually conducted with a definite intention to take a specific action, and may involve searching for the address of a restaurant so you can dine there, or signing up on a dating site, or purchasing an item online.
Ideally, content marketers should target transactional search queries with local SEO strategies, optimised product pages, and even PPC to target specific search terms. However, informational queries constitute about 50 – 80 percent of search queries, and websites that prefer to drive a conversation rather that offer informational content may be missing a huge opportunity to capture the search market share.
Types of informational content
There are basically two kinds of informational content: evergreen and time-limited.
Most blogs fall within this category, especially those that involve an opinion piece on a trending topic, a summary of a recent event, or even commentaries on recent news, but the information will be outdated in a few weeks or months. That said, this kind of content is ideal for gaining attention and links.
This describes the type of content that will remain relevant for years, and is best suited for gaining rankings for specific keywords. The most popular type of content in this category is “how-to”, though the popularity of this type of content in sites like ‘WikiAnswers’ and ‘eHow’ may make it unsuitable for some sites.
So, how do you create your informational content?
Evergreen-informational content does not have to be based on “how-to” questions. It can also be explanatory, like “why-questions” to help you gain rankings for certain keywords. Explanatory content can help drive sales by guiding the reader on best practices. Informational content created for “what” searches may be harder to gear toward producing a sale, since the information sought is very specific.