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iamlost

Re-finding Search Behaviour

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Shari Thurow made my day with her latest Search Engine Land article Optimizing For Re-finding Search Behavior.

Lately, one search behavior keeps popping up: re-finding behavior. I commonly see re-finding behavior for web search, image search and video search.

 

...

 

Re-finding involves content that has been located and/or viewed previously, and it is a more direct process than an initial discovery. Re-finding involves both recognition (is this the content I am trying to relocate?) and recall (where did I see this content before?)

 

Re-finding behavior is more common than many search engine optimization (SEO) professionals might imagine. Log files, keyword research tools and web analytics data rarely reveal specific re-finding keywords that direct observation, usability tests, and field interviews provide. All too often, I observe keywords that SEO professionals might believe show informational or transactional intent. Upon further observation, I see many of these keywords being used to re-find desired content. And re-finding, as a querying behavior, clearly indicates navigational intent.

 

As it turns out I am doing many thing correctly to take advantage of re-finding behaviour. But I did them for other reasons. I learned something new and valuable today. :rolleyes:

 

Thank you Shari Thurow and all others who share their perspectives, findings and analysis.

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There is a lot to this in terms of automation, and you can tie it user accounts.

 

For user accounts:

 

1. YouTube for example allows you to save videos only when logged in. Very neat benefit and a very good counter to the what-i-need-to-sign-up-to-yet-another-thing syndrome users experience.

 

2. Yell.com takes this a useful step further. If you're not signed in, they keep track of a handful of your recent searches (I think 10 or 15 - of that order). If you sign in, you get to save something like a 100.

 

3. Yahoo! has a great little beta test running called Searchpad. It's a digital notebook to help your searches.

 

All these point in one direction: Let the user re-find what they spent ages finding. I just wish airlines websites did this more often. How many times did you find that perfectly-timed flight combination and then lost it when you checked another combo?

 

In terms of automation: well you need to be watching your traffic in real time. For example, when you see a page that a user browsed to, make sure it's indexed by your search engine. Maybe even give it a link or two in some kind of "featured pages" section to give it a boost in the SERPs.

 

These are very simplistic examples to just get you thinking. I have no doubt some evil genius idea is lurking deep in your mind that is really worth something! Let it out!

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I have no doubt some evil genius idea is lurking deep in your mind that is really worth something! Let it out!

 

Do evil genii share?

AYBABTU!!!

 

Muahhhh!

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Do evil genii share?

 

That's not what I meant! I wanted evil genii to let it out on the SEs. Rip 'em an automated dose of evil.

 

AYBABTU!!!

Oh we need an emoticon for this one. We must.

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Oh we need an emoticon for this one. We must.
Gee, if I know what that meant, I could look for one.

 

Help. :)

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Thanks for the explaination Pierre but I couldn't begin to find an emoticon for that. It's a bit too abstract for an emoticon me thinks. :eek:

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I just wish airlines websites did this more often. How many times did you find that perfectly-timed flight combination and then lost it when you checked another combo?

 

I think that the flight was still there... they just jacked the price up about 20% because you didn't buy immediately.

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Some further reading for those that find this topic interesting is to be found in Jaime Teevan's papers Re:Search Engine (enabled javascript required).

 

One example from 2007:

History Repeats Itself: Repeat Queries in Yahoo's Logs, pdf file 17.8KB, Jaime Teevan, MIT.

People often repeat Web searches, both to find new information on topics they have previously explored and to re-find information they have seen in the past ... Our study demonstrates that as many as 40% of all queries are re-finding queries.

 

A lot of meat on that digital cellulose.

Yes, I can mix and mangle metaphors with the greatest of ease. :)

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So, should we cookie people who arrive via search and display a box... you recently viewed... this, that, these, those?

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So, should we cookie people who arrive via search and display a box... you recently viewed... this, that, these, those?
Worth a test IMHO. Easy to track the engagement too.

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