Revisiting “Navigational,” “Informational,” & “Transactional” Searches in a Post-PageRank World

Revisiting “Navigational,” “Informational,” & “Transactional” Searches in a Post-PageRank World by: Tom Anthony

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN



New considerations

Google’s addition of Know Simple indicates that Google understands that the Do-Know-Go categories are no longer broad enough for the modern search landscape. However, I believe that, even with the addition of “Know Simple,” the model could be improved upon.

SEOs have traditionally used the navigational / informational / transactional framework to classify the searcher’s intent. We believe that a large part of this (maybe not all) can be captured by considering how user intents may change and be better served when they’ve been conducted via an Intelligent Personal Assistant app.

The last couple of years has seen an explosion in the functionality and usage of an increasing number of personal assistants:

  • Apple Siri – Built into every iPhone. Now also “Proactive” in a fashion similar to Google Now.
  • Google Now –Technically, the name refers to a certain set of functionality, but people are increasingly referring to the “assistant” app and its functionality with this name.
  • Microsoft Cortana – Originally just in Windows phones, but now available for Android as well. Microsoft has a great research team and are working hard on Cortana.

CONTINUE TO READ From the Beginning to the end

Future and wrap up

It seems inevitable that search is moving away from just being about web search and 10 blue links, and so it seems inevitable that we’ll need to update our models to keep up. The original navigational / informational / transactional categories were designed for the web, and the model proposed above was built to allow us to extend that model into this new world.

The original framework was used by SEOs to help us understand and categorize queries and to help educate and persuade clients. This new framework allows us to do these same things, but expand them to cover searches done via Intelligent Personal Assistants.

I would love to hear from everyone on in the comments on whether you think there are more opportunities to improve this model. Distilled’s R&D team is working on better understanding how to do SEO in a world of Intelligent Personal Assistants, so be sure to watch this space!

About Tom-Anthony — Tom is Head of R&D at Distilled, which focuses on a variety of areas, including spending time looking at technology trends. He is currently writing up his thesis for a PhD in Artificial Intelligence.  Follow him on Twitter:@TomAnthonySEO or Google+, or read his blog.



A taxonomy of web search by Andrei Broder



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