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Determining Commercial Intent


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#1 GeoffreyF67

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 10:32 PM

I was reading this document...actually I've read it a few times now...

http://research.micr...SER_INTENTS.pdf

And my eyes keep glazing over - LOL.

What I'm attempting to find out, is the following...

Is it possible, without search engine data, to determine the commercial intent of a query like this document is talking about or in some other way?

In other words, if you only had access to scraped results and none of the time, query count or other information that the SE have, could you implement this?

G-Man

#2 Black_Knight

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 11:50 PM

Good to see you again, G-Man. :)

It is perfectly possible to determine a lot about intent, and motive, from a user by the method they use, either in keywords, or even by other referral data. It is simply about context and empathy at heart.

This is something I've addressed previously right at the heart of selecting keywords (e.g a discussion about conversion rates and landing pages). The search phrases people use often contain a lot of useful information that speaks of likely intentions and the most valuable keywords are (for me) the ones that do give that extra clarity of intent.

Of course, keyword selection is more about saving money (not buying expensive leads you can't convert) than about making money. To use this 'intention principle' to make money, you need to be capturing the referral information and serving more specific information based upon the clues of intent it gives.

Let me draw your attention to an older article of mine called "Landing Paths: Reinventing Landing Pages" and then expand upon the basics stated there with the unstated parts.

In the article, I mainly discuss landing paths as they can be implemented on a static site. However, a lot more can be done with a dynamic site, (you probably know I favour dynamic over static almost every time), in terms of adapting the presentation on the fly to the user exactly as a human sales person would do.

It has to be layered, so that more general referrals are sent to pages that help refine their path, while more specific referrals are sent straight to the path that best matches.

Selling is all about speaking directly to your customer's needs and desires. That is just as true online as offline, but somehow there are too many non-empathic geeks and not enough good sales people involved in most web development. ;)

Find ways to determine wht your potential customer's needs and desires are, both from referral data (keywords or even simply what engine/site they came from, etc) and from having links that guide people into revealing what their foremost issues are and collecting and using that selection data where almost all current sites do not.

If I ask which of three things my reader wants more information about, I should be collecting the data on which was his/her first choice (and therefore which is presumably the most important consideration for this particular customer).

A commerce site should not be trying to create the one perfect all-purpose pathway like a physical store does. Instead, it should tailor the perfect pathway for each customer which is determined as they walk it, a thing the real-world stores cannot do, and where the web offers a whole new world of possibilities.

#3 EGOL

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 11:52 PM

Grab the query term, send a robot to look at the top three .com sites in the SERPs, check for shopping cart code or affiliate URLs, if yes, then probably commercial.

#4 GeoffreyF67

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 12:00 AM

Ooh. Excellent! Muchos Gracias!

Scraping is my thang so I'll probably go that route plus it's really easy to implement :)

G-Man

#5 victor363

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 09:42 PM

I definitely agree that it is possible to gauge intent from keyword queries. And on the flip side of the coin, it is possible to gauge where the user is in the purchasing process (i.e. do you need to educate them more or are they ready to purchase a product). To exploit this marketing information to the fullest, you must embrace the fact that sales and marketing go hand in hand with e-commerce sites and should be planned simultaneously.

While it does take a degree of empathy and common sense to gauge intent from keyword queries; this tool can help. It allows you to view anonymous AOL user's keyword history and browsing history chronologically. I would recommend it as a form of due diligence though, as the best way to understand keyword intent is from your own common sense.

#6 GeoffreyF67

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 09:45 PM

Everyone's got some great ideas!

I think that Egol's was most on the money for my situation but that's cuz he's known me for years and what I have been doing.

To be more specific, I tend to create hundreds of thousands of keyword specific pages.

To do the type of research that would normally be done on a ecommerce site - well, let's just say it ain't gonna happen anytime soon.

However, if I can pick the right keywords *before* I generate the pages then I've done my job well because I don't have as much to get indexed, not as much competition on what I did choose and will hopefully make more money by choosing keywords with commercial intent vs keywords that are merely navigational or informational queries.

G-Man

#7 EGOL

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 10:20 PM

In that case, you should scrape to find sites with price information and prioritize them by amount $x.xx << $xxx.xx or by dollar sign density.

#8 victor363

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 10:31 PM

To be more specific, I tend to create hundreds of thousands of keyword specific pages.


More power to you if you can do this! Just be wary of duplicate content and the sandbox.

#9 Black_Knight

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 12:54 AM

Geoffrey, for your needs, I think you're going to be creating 'keyword groups' on your end that group common indicators together. A little bit like I did with the color-coding of modifying keywords in this post for example.

The mention of words like 'store', 'buy', and 'buying' are all clear indicators of a pretty immediate intention to buy, meaning this person may already have their credit-card in hand.

Words like 'cheap', 'discount', 'price', and 'cheapest' also indicate a commitment to buy, although obviously by a user who's still shopping aound a bit for the best deal, and may convert best with some neat guarantees and assurances.

Words like 'compare', 'comparison', 'review' and 'guide' indicate that the consumer has yet to settle on a particular product, and maylater still want to shop around for price on whatever product they settle on, but the searcher is giving thought to ownership, since they are trying to determine which is the 'best' for their needs.

Obviously, with specific markets/products in mind, you can add in other words that indicate a likely position in the 'shopping process' that people undergo, and again, tailor a dynamic template that will better serve the needs of someone using each specific 'type' of keyword group.

Of course, another group of keywords are the 'disqualifiers', such as mention of a country/location you might not be able to serve, mention of the word 'free', perhaps mention of the word 'pictures' or 'images', and so on. Serving the visitors that are unsuitable with something like paid links to more appropriate sites for their needs can be a nice added revenue stream that actually helps both parties to save time.

#10 Ruud

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 07:32 AM

Since you enjoy scraping ... why not use Microsoft's own tool? :)

The beauty of the tool is that it attempts to determine the commercial intent not only of a qury but also of a specific URL.

There is really some good work in Microsoft adCenter Labs.

#11 Black_Knight

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 07:46 AM

Interesting idea for sure with the MS tool, but it certainly isn't ripe for use yet.

"property in [city/town]" comes up as non-commercial, for just one of a dozen examples. Yet this phrase is common to both home-buying and home-rental markets, and can be a significant big-money keyword for either market here in the UK.



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