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One of the most important elements to building an online marketing strategy around SEO is empathy for your audience. Once you grasp what the average searcher, and more specifically, your target market, is looking for, you can more effectively reach and keep those users.

Search engine usage has evolved over the years but the primary principles of conducting a search remain largely unchanged. Listed here are the steps that comprise most search processes:

  1. Experience the need for an answer, solution or piece of information.
  2. Formulate that need in a string of words and phrases, also known as “the query.”
  3. Enter the query into a search engine.
  4. Browse through the results for a match.
  5. Click on a result.
  6. Scan for a solution, or a link to that solution.
  7. If unsatisfied, return to the search results and browse for another link or...
  8. Perform a new search with refinements to the query.


We like to say "Build for users, not search engines." When users have a bad experience at your site, when they can't accomplish a task or find what they were looking for, this often correlates with poor search engine performance. On the other hand, when users are happy with your website, a positive experience is created, both with the search engine and the site providing the information or result.

What are users looking for? There are three types of search queries users generally perform:

  • "Do"   Transactional Queries - Action queries such as buy a plane ticket or listen to a song.
  • "Know"   Informational Queries - When a user seeks information, such as the name of the band or the best restaurant in New York City.
  • "Go"   Navigation Queries - Search queries that seek a particular online destination, such as Facebook or the homepage of the NFL.
When visitors type a query into a search box and land on your site, will they be satisfied with what they find? This is the primary question search engines try to figure out millions of times per day. 

The search engines' primary responsibility is to serve relevant results to their users.

It all starts with the words typed into a small box.

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Mithilesh Joshi