What is Navigational Search Intent and How to Optimize for it in 2022?

The concept of search intent has been around for almost two decades now, but it was largely ignored for a long time.

Marketers have been paying more attention to it in recent years, though.

In this article, you will learn what navigational search intent is and how to optimize for it.

Let’s continue!

What is search intent?

When we open up Google and type in a keyword that interests us, there’s a reason behind that action.

This reason behind searches has been coined “search intent.”

When we type a keyword into Google we’re either looking to “go” somewhere, “know” something, or “do” something.

So, the three types of searches queries are:

Some marketers recognize the Commercial search intent on top of the three other search intent types that falls somewhere between the Informational and Transactional search intent.

Recently, marketers started to classify search intent based on the problems users are having and the solutions to those problems.

To learn more about this advanced search intent classification and search intent in general, check out my article on this topic.

Also, feel free to check out this article on the benefits of optimizing content around search intent.

What is navigational search intent or navigational query?

Navigational search intent is the desire to “navigate” to online pages through search engines using keywords as opposed to typing in the full web addresses.

Here’s a navigational query example…

Let’s say you wanted to navigate to the Twitter Support page.

First, you’d have to visit the Twitter homepage.


Second, you’d have to look for a link to their support in the footer of the homepage.


And third, you’d have to deduce that Twitter calls their support “Help Center” instead of just “Support.”


Now, that’s not an amount of work that can be compared to working in a coal mine, but there’s a much simpler way of reaching your destination.

You could simply go to Google and type in “twitter support.”

And the first result would point you to the Twitter Help Center.

This is what’s called Navigational Search Intent.

In other words, you don’t have any other desire but to navigate to the Twitter support page.

How to optimize for navigational search intent

The truth is, you can’t really do much with the navigational search intent outside of your own domain.

Users tying in navigational queries into search engines in a vast majority of cases are only looking for a link to get them to the page they need to reach.

Still, what you can do is make sure you get the rank#1 spot on Google for all the variations of your brand’s name.

In general, Google is usually good at recognizing navigational search intent and connecting users with the correct domain.

There is one more thing to keep in mind when it comes to navigational queries and the SERPs.

And that’s the advertisement slots.

It’s not unheard of for businesses to bid on the navigational keywords of their competitors.

Let’s take a look at a concrete example.

AWeber is an email autoresponder solution and a good one at that.

If you type in “aweber” into Google, AWeber will naturally get the rank#1 spot.


Three of AWeber’s competitors with the highest bids got the three advertisement spots that appear above the rank#1 spot in the SERPs.

So, AWeber gets the rank#1 spot but appears under three of their competitors, which doesn’t look amazing for AWeber.


What does this mean for AWeber?

It means they’re losing a percentage of the clicks to their competitors.

Obviously, they’re not bothered by this.

They probably figure out that this is only a navigational keyword and people who type “aweber” into Google are pretty set on their decision to reach AWeber’s website.

On the other hand, their competitors obviously decided that the advertisement alone plus a potential click here and there is worth the money.

Should you bid on navigational keywords you’re already organically ranking for?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question.

It depends.

To find out the answer to this question, you will have to do some calculations.

This article suggests that, in a lot of cases, this is indeed profitable.

But there are lots of variables to consider and only you have the complete data necessary to make an educated decision.

The decision to bid on your own navigational keywords largely depends on whether your competition is trying to do this or not.

If they are, you might consider doing the same.

Don’t shy away from actually testing this out if you have to.

You can set a modest budget that won’t break the bank and get concrete data points.

How to optimize for navigational search queries

Creating content that organically targets navigational keywords outside of your own domain is a waste of your time.

The chances of your content appearing on the first page of Google for such keywords is slim and the chances of someone with a navigational search intent actually clicking on your content are even slimmer.

It’s a different story altogether when it comes to your own business and domain.

Your content should be present for all the possible navigational keywords around your business and your domain.

Here are a few navigational keywords to create content around:

  • Location of
  • Near me
  • Locations near me
  • Directions to
  • Cost of
  • Price of
  • Hours of
  • Reviews
  • Testimonials
  • Brand name
  • Brand Login
  • Brand Contacts
  • Brand References
  • Product or Service name


Navigational search intent is to reach a page through keywords rather than typing in the full web address.

Targeting navigational keywords outside of your own domain is a waste of time and effort.

Targeting navigational keywords of your own business and domain, however, is much more important.

You want your content to be present for all the navigational queries around your business and domain name.

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