• http://www.brickmarketing.com nickstamoulis

    Hi Shari – I agree with you, the search engines do have much work to do for a better job to clean up navigational, informational and transactional searches…

  • Stupidscript

    The only way a PPC buyer might segregate their bids to capitalize on the various search classifications is by working within their own historical traffic data to define and then classify the terms used by those who visit their sites. In the business I support, legal services, we see that short tail queries (“attorney”, “lawyer”, etc.) are nearly always informational, and long tail queries (“beverly hills defense attorney”, “criminal defense lawyer in los angeles”, etc.) and brand name queries are nearly always transactional. Undoubtedly this is not the case in all industries.

    Your statement at the beginning of this article that commercial intent “encompasses all three types of queries” … which by definition makes the three classifications virtually indistinguishable (they are ALL transactional, if commercial intent can be assumed from any of them) … is curious.

    Perhaps I am misunderstanding your point. It seems to me that commercial intent would be restricted to ONLY transactional classification, with informational and navigation classes being composed of discrete, non-commercial queries … for the purposes of gathering information or for navigating … not for performing transactions.

    I fail to notice any difference in how the search engine SERPs are presented in this regard. Although it would make sense that they are attempting to divine and classify queries, the SERPs are always a mix of informational, navigational and transactional links … unless the search is for a product number or name, in which case the SERPs become much more transaction-oriented.

  • Shari Thurow

    Hi Stupidscript-

    I do appreciate your comments.

    Well, normally I don’t do this as a response, but I am going to. It is clear to me that you are misunderstanding the 3 different types of Web searches. My new book, When Search Meets Web Usability, will help you understand query classification much better. Trust me….you are misunderstanding more than you might realize. Do not take it personally. Most people don’t understand them.

    For example, you are stating that “beverly hills defense attorney” is nearly always transactional. No, it is an informational query, clearly an informational query. Brand name queries? Those tend to be navigational queries because users usually want to go to a specific Web site.

    If you want to know how search engines modify listings to accommodate these query types…well? That information is in the book, in multiple chapters. That is why I wrote it, because search engine marketers really don’t understand searcher behavior, query formulation, and query classification. They honestly believe they do, though.

    And, with all due respect, I do not agree with “the only way a PPC buyer might segregate their bids…” statement. My firm usability tests all of the time. I’ve seen many, many inaccurate cause-and-effect conclusions based on Web analytics data only, keyword research data only, PPC data only, etc. My gut feeling is that this is a subject you just don’t understand, but should.

    Again, I do appreciate your comments.