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What Are Users Searching For?

Posted on 4.09.2008

A research study from Penn State revealed that roughly 80 percent of searches are "informational" (looking for a specific fact or topic), 10 percent are "navigational" (looking to locate a specific website) and the remainder of searches are "transactional" (looking for information related to purchasing a particular product or service).

The researchers analyzed more than 1.5 million queries from hundreds of thousands of search engine users. "This research has broad implications for search engines and e-commerce if they can classify the user intent of queries in real time. This is why we wanted a computational undemanding algorithm," said Jim Jansen.

So what's the takeaway for Web professionals?
I've long been a proponent of a four step "communication" process that focuses on raising awareness, educating consumers, building trust and making the sale. The paper (Determining the informational, navigational and transactional intent of Web queries" presented by Jansen and Penn State work well with this approach and it lasers in on how we as business owners should be focusing our promotional efforts -  fostering consumer reviews, engaging in SEO and SEM for branding and producing content which informs and educates prospects.

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