What is Query?


Query can refer to either a database query or a search query. Database query is a standardized statement that either displays some information from the database or performs some action upon the data in the database. Web search query is the text that a user types into search engine address/search bar.

Database query

Database query is a request for displaying/modifying information, delivered using the system of signs of a formal machine language, a.k.a. query language. The two main types of database queries are SELECT and ACTION queries. SELECT queries display some information from a database table or a number of tables, as a rule in a form of a table, similar to a Microsoft Excel table. An ACTION query can create, append, update and delete tables, as well as perform other actions.

Query language

Query language is the system of queries that allows working with database tables. The most popular and well-known query language is SQL (Structured Query Language). There are many other SQL languages that have the potential to display data not only in form of tables but in form of graphs and other complex forms of displaying data. Among other SQL languages, the most well-known ones are MySQL, SQL Server, MS SQL, OracleSQL.

Web Search Query

Web search query is a query that a browser user types in the search browser field. Such queries require no special formatting. This simple query is executed once a user presses the ‘Enter’ key. Then, the search engine determines the most significant results based on the algorithm it uses and displays the SERP (search engine results page) to the user.

There are three main types of web search queries. They are:

  • Navigational queries find this or that website that the user wants to open. This is still a query that makes search engines perform some action (URLs are not search queries). For instance, to open www.youtube.com, a user may type ‘youtube’ in the search bar and this will be a navigation query. The most popular queries in the world are navigational ones, and they are ‘facebook’ and ‘youtube’.
  • Informational queries provide a wide set of different web resources to let users find the information they need. For instance, if you type ‘what is a query’, a search engine will bring you a number of web pages that you may want to eye-scan/read. In this case, a user is not looking for a website, but rather for an answer/tip/piece of information. If you run a blog, you need to use SEO tools to get more traffic to your website through organic search.
  • Transactional queries are the ones entered with a intend to make a purchase. It can be something like ‘Sony VAIO buy new york’. Search engines will grasp a clear intent of making a purchase in the query, and will offer the websites that actually sell the desired laptop, rather than provide information about it. In this case, you’ll also likely to see sponsored ads on top of SERPs.

Related terms: SQL, database, MySQL, browser, search engine.

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