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How do we do search query categorization?

In our previous articles, we talked about pulling search query data of our website from Google Search Console.

There are often too much query data and we need to do query categorization for easier analysis.

But how should we categorize and analyse the queries?

First, we need to understand how people search in search engines.

Depending on where searchers are in the customer lifecycle, they might use different kinds of search terms to find our website.

Someone in the early stage of the cycle might search using generic terms, e.g. smartphone, laptop, camera, etc.

As people become more familiar with available products and move toward the buying stage, they might search for specific brand names.

Customer Life Cycle-Aloha

A complete keyword strategy is to balance the use of brand and generic keywords in our website content and Ad campaigns to capture searchers in different stages of the customer lifecycle and increase conversion opportunities.

Therefore, we suggest doing query categorization by classifying into four groups:

  • Brand

    This refers to pure brand terms, e.g. Nike.
    Those who search brand terms should at least aware the brand and may know about products and services of the brand already.


  • Brand Plus

    This refers to brand term plus a qualifying phrase such as products, reviews etc., e.g. Nike running shoes, Nike basketball shoes, iPhone X review.


  • Generic

    Searchers probably just compare products of different brands or they do not have buying intention and are just looking for information, e.g. men running shoes, sport t-shirts


  • Unknown

    Not related to the company and its products, we can ignore these irrelevant queries

Many marketers put keywords into brand and generic buckets to assign different objectives, e.g. some are for driving sales while some are for increasing brand exposure and awareness and enables them to allocate specific budgets based on performance forecasts.

Also, by regularly capturing new query data from Google Search Console, we can categorize and look for new potential keywords for optimizing website content and Ad campaigns.

Search query classification ultimately helps us drive more quality traffic to our website and increase revenue.