Why the search intent is more complex to classify

Analysing and modeling the user search intent goes beyond the simplistic categorisation of informational, navigationals, transactional and commercial. Users are quite complex and the purpose of their search can’t be easily inserted into the four boxes of categorisation that is common in most search platforms, articles and commentaries.

The search intent is usually conceived as the purpose behind a search. Keyword search data on third party software tools, Google Search Console and Google Keyword planner are a goldmine for data-centric marketers. The user intent should focus on the purpose, motivations and reasoning behind a search. There are user stories, prompts and triggers around the public and private  keyword data. Reducing use intent to general actions that suit us as marketers deprives us from gaining deeper insights as to why users are searching in the first instance.  

The concept of intention has been explored in the field of social psychology and this book establishes the difference  between intentional action and intention. Intentionality is viewed as the quality of actions, usually those performed on purpose. In the book, it is stated that the judgment of an action’s intentionality requires the acknowledgement of the intention of the agent.   On the other hand, intention is the mental state that precedes the action or that occurs without it.  You are safe to say intention is a prerequisite for intentional action or intentionality. For example, if a user types the keyword ‘UK house prices’ in a search engine like Google, one would classify that as an intentional action. The user did not subconsciously type that while sleeping or watching his or her favourite series. To evaluate this as an intentional action, some form of intention will have to be ascribed to it. The reasoning or mental categorisation that may have prompted this user and the outcome they seek. A lot of this analysis will be based on hypothesis or assumptions as it is almost impossible to conduct an interview on the user to find out why they’ve typed in such search terms. It is pretty clear to say that intentions focus on the ‘why’ and intentionality on the ‘what.’ The ‘what’ is often clear to see but to fully understand it, one needs to make some predictions regarding the ‘why.’