The search acquisition funnel begins with understanding the searcher. Searchers themselves provide very little that indicates their intent. Search queries are an average of three words long and nearly 25 percent are only one word.
Fortunately, we have a great deal of data beyond the queries themselves to help us derive potential intent. Search engines track searcher behavior and by looking at what searchers click on and what they search for next, search engines can learn a great deal about what someone might mean by those one to three words.
We can see much of what the search engines have learned just by looking at what content search engines rank highly for a particular query.
As we've learned, search engines also make a great deal of search data, demographic data, and psychographic data available that can provide detailed insight into the intent and motivation of potential customers.
One way search engines derive intent is by classifying queries into intention categories. Each search engine group queries slightly differently, but for our purposes, a good classification system is:
Navigational—With this type of query, the searcher is looking for something specific. These are often one word queries that have a high likelihood of a single meaning. Many, but not all, navigational queries are branded. Some examples are [Volvo] [amazon.com] and [Twitter Vanessa fox]. Approximately 18 per-cent of search queries are navigational.
Commercial (also ...