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maybe they are just trying to find out which pages on a site are the best for the query when there are multiple possible pages by a/b testing
how can an affected site clarify the ideal page
why the choice they are being given seems so unclear to them
what can you check
Taking a wild guess, you've been diligently using that convenient free analytics conversion tool to measure an identify the 'buyers' for a while, if not you, then, the majority of your website peer group probably is, so I not sure I understand why its difficult to see how this happens
backdraft-my sales went bye-bye over the weekend as well and have not returned. Traffic and the like are the same just no conversions. I, too, feel like there is some "switch" that gets flipped. We can go all day w/o an order, then get all of our orders for the day within an hour and just like that it's over again.
We were on pace for our best year ever BUT if this keeps up...
The more thought I've put into it the more hurdles I find the would make it difficult to come up with pure data to determine searcher intent from this side of the search engine.
I've come to the same conclusion. It takes an immense data-mining effort to do this, with a lot more data than one - or a hundred or even many thousand websites can accumulate.
One rough breakdown of user intent is informational, navigational, transactional, with the question of local intention (or not) folded in to various degrees. Google's been at work on this project for many years and they still don't get it right all the time. I also think that Google's breakdown is much more granular (and possibly personalized) than this top level taxonomy.
One interesting facet of Google's work with user intent is that it also requires automated taxonomies to be created for various web pages and websites. So Google's job requires classifying the various queries, classifying the websites, and then matching them. In many cases, queries also seem to need a mixed set of results, at least for now.
The only practical steps I have been able to come up with are in the keyword research I do for a website. Before I even think about targeting a new keyword, I always check the Google results (including the suggestions!) to get a feeling for how that phrase and its relatives are currently classified.
If Google sees it as having one intent but the website is of a different nature, then that keyword phrase may be a lost cause for a given website. And the real kicker can come if Google re-classifies either a site or the query phrase itself. A healthy flow of search traffic can all but dry up overnight
Determining Searcher Intent [webmasterworld.com]
Please - this thread is for analysis, and simply reporting on your conversions is not analysis! Let's dig into the data and get a handle on what's happening.
I'm sure this is pointed at me
except that you do not rank for those people who will actually buy except during those periods when you traffic actually converts.
One thing is for sure, I'll keep that data under my hat from now on. Have fun diagnosing and chasing your tails!
I don't think it really applies to this problem.