On-Page SEO

Navigational Query

Shahid Maqbool

By Shahid Maqbool
On Jun 9, 2023

Navigational Query

What is a Navigational Query?

A navigational query is when a user searches for a specific website, brand or web page to navigate directly to it.

For example, searching for "Facebook login" to access the Facebook login page or "Amazon Prime" to go straight to the Amazon Prime offerings.

These queries include the name of the site, brand or page the user wants. They are used when the user knows the site and wants to get there faster than typing the full web address.

Navigational searches have very high user intent to go to that target site. So businesses need to optimize their sites to rank well for their brand and site-specific searches.

Why are navigational queries important?

Navigational queries are important for several reasons:

They indicate brand awareness

When people search for a specific brand or website by name, it indicates they already know about that brand. This signals existing awareness and potential loyalty.

For businesses aiming to further build brand recognition and commitment from customers, navigational queries provide valuable insights.

They can drive traffic

If a site ranks highly for its brand name search, those navigational queries will send visitors straight to that site.

Optimizing for navigational keywords can send highly-targeted traffic to your site. When your site appears at the top for a query aimed at finding you, it receives all those ready-to-convert visitors.

They provide insights into user behaviour

By analyzing navigational queries, businesses and organizations can gain insights into how users search for their brand or website.

This information can be used to optimize their website's search engine presence, improve user experience, and better target their marketing efforts.

They can impact search engine rankings

When a website gets a lot of searches specifically looking for its brand name or site, search engines see that as an authority signal.

This can boost a site's overall search engine rankings. Search engines infer that a site must provide significant value if so many people search for it by name to get there directly.

Is it possible to target navigational queries?

It's not really possible to directly target or optimize for navigational queries. These searches happen when people specifically look for a certain brand or site they have in mind.

Trying to rank for someone else's branded navigational terms doesn't provide much upside either. The search intent is very singular - to get to that brand's site.

For example, someone searching "Facebook" wants Facebook's site, not alternatives. So targeting that as a non-Facebook site likely won't get clicks or conversions.

In essence, you can't force or “steal” navigational traffic for other brands. Those queries represent hunts for specific sites, so the intent is fixed. Best to focus optimization on non-branded keywords relevant to your content.

Should I target the navigational query as an owner?

If you own a brand, targeting searches for your brand name can bring more visitors to your website.

One good strategy is to bid on your brand name and related keywords in paid search ads. This puts your website at the top of search results when people look for your brand. As a result, more people will find and visit your site.

This helps increase website traffic and makes your brand more recognizable. It establishes your site as a go-to place when people want information or products from your brand.

However, people doing navigational queries already know your brand. So relying only on those will not bring new visitors. It's best to also focus on broader keywords that new users search for.

How to prevent competitors from bidding on your branded keywords?

If you own a brand and want to prevent competitors from bidding on your branded keywords and stealing your business, there are a few strategies you can use:

Bid on your own branded keywords

If you bid on keyword searches for your own brand name, your website will show up first in the search results. This makes it harder for competitors to get people to click on their sites instead of yours. Bidding on your own brand name helps you keep visitors and sales.

Create compelling ad copy

When you bid on your brand name as a keyword, write compelling ads. Make sure your ads communicate what makes your brand special or valuable. They should also encourage people to click through to your website.

Improve your website's organic search presence

Optimize your website content for searches with your brand name. If your site shows up high in the unpaid "organic" search results, it's harder for competitors to outrank you.

Monitor your branded keywords

Check search results for your brand name regularly. Make sure your website still shows up at the top. Also look for any ads from competitors bidding on your brand name.

Monitoring branded keywords helps you catch competitors trying to divert traffic. It also lets you make sure you keep the top search result spots.

Take legal action

If a competitor bids on your brand name illegally, you may be able to sue them. If their ads break trademark law or infringe on your business's intellectual property, you can take legal action.

This may get them to stop bidding on your branded keywords.


The navigational queries matter for companies wanting an online presence. They are a chance to pull visitors straight to your website.

Optimizing for navigational queries can better your website traffic. It improves site visibility in searches for your brand. It also enhances the experience for searchers who know your brand name.

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