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Optimize Your SEO Campaign for Navigational Searches

April 21st, 2009 | | Basic SEO Tips, Usability

In my last post, I mentioned how title tags should include the URL and company name.  Those tactics are the fundamentals of on-page optimization.  But every SEO action item, even the fundamentals, have deeper layers of targeting and segmentation.  Today’s post will dive a little deeper into how those fundamentals can target a specific segment of users by optimizing for Navigational Searches.

What Navigational Searches Are

Navigational Searches are when a company name or URL is typed into a search engine instead of the address bar.  For example, if a company was named ConglomCor Pastry & Soda Company a navigational search would probably include searches such as

“Conglom Cor Pastry”
“Conglom Pastry Soda”
“ConglomCor Pastry & Soda”

Navigational Searches not only are used to find a company’s website, but also to find specific parts of a website.  Habits of Internet usage are getting more diverse.  People are expecting web pages to have certain things such as company history, latest products, deals and news.  Navigational searches for this type of search for my example company would be:

“Conglom Cor latest deals”
“Conglom Cor Offers”
“ConglomCor Pastry News”
“ConglomCor Soda Coupons”

The Value of Navigational Searches

Does optimizing for Navigational Searches make sense?  This depends on the brand awareness a company or product has.  Optimizing for a name that is not known doesn’t make sense if no one is typing it in, but once branding starts to take a hold of your campaign, it would be good to fill in some navigational SEO gaps.

Using your analytic software, such as Google Analytics, should give you a list of keywords that people are using to find your site.  If that list contains your company name, URL and/or products, it is important to realize that people are finding you using navigational search.

For example, a website I work on has the following breakdown:


While the big blue section makes me giddy, it’s actually the data behind that section that makes your next step for SEO critical.  In my own list of keywords that were used to find this site, the top 5 phrases were actually variations on the company name.  Since this website is relying on Local SEO coinciding with other media such as Radio, TV and Direct Mail, the Local SEO is benefiting from the constant branding.

How to Incorporate Navigational Search into your SEO Plan

Adding Navigational Search to your site can be summed up into a few items:

  • Put URL or Company Name in Title Tags
  • H1 Tags should be clear on what the page is (deals, news, discounts, history)
  • Website copy should enforce the keywords used in their respective H1 Tags along with the company name

Once you optimize for Navigational Search, you’ll be able to capture traffic from another segment of Internet users – the Navigational Search Users.

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