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Determining Searcher Intent

     
11:41 pm on Sep 10, 2012 (gmt 0)



I spent the weekend studying the General Guidelines* for google's Search Quality Rating Program. Something that really jumped out at me is how much google is trying to incorporate searcher intent into the ranking of web pages. Looking at some of the assumptions they make assigning searcher intent to general queries in the guidelines made me think about how we can determine the actual intent of the majority of searchers for our main keywords.

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 wonder if anyone here has tackled this with any success?


*leaked document not verified
8:09 am on Sep 11, 2012 (gmt 0)



You may want to discover how visitors are using your website with heat map (hitmap) technology then optimize your site to increase conversion rates.
There's a feature in GA called in page analytics, where you can track user behavior on your site.
9:58 am on Sep 11, 2012 (gmt 0)



Thanks Zivush, however there is a difference between user behavior on a website and searcher intent. The searcher's intent is determined before they ever get to a website.
3:24 pm on Sep 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



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 frow of search traffic can all but dry up overnight ;(
3:51 pm on Sep 11, 2012 (gmt 0)



And the real kicker can come if Google re-classifies either a site or the query phrase itself.


That's one real good reason why it's so important to try and figure this out. Imagine being on a keyword that is constantly teetering back and forth, it might drive one crazy!

Personalized brings even another hurdle into the mix...

I was thinking that adwords could be used to get some rough data on a keyword. Develop a series of ads, one set that a person looking for information would click on and a set that a person looking to buy a product would click on. Rotate them and follow the CTR. Like I said, rough data, but a start.

Or, google could tell us what bucket they're putting keywords in...
3:11 pm on Sep 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I am confused. How can Google be concerned about user intent when we alreadk know that all their efforts are focussed on guiding the user away from the organic results?
 

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