Search engines are part of every person’s daily activity online. When looking for any kind of information, going into Google, Bing or Yahoo is the first step they take. We usually don’t think twice: We launch Google for example and go from there.
There are three main ways people search, according to their objective. We’ll take a look at what these are.
This type of query happens when people know the site or company they are looking for but don’t necessarily know their web address. They type the name of the company or website into the search box, and the search engine almost surely returns the site they’re looking for in the top three results.
For instance, if you search for Amazon on Google, the first result you get is, as expected, Amazon’s website.
This type of query occurs when you’re looking to complete a task. Typical examples of this are opening an email account, or buying something. The searcher has something specific in mind, and is looking for a way to do it.
Staying with Amazon as an example, say you’re looking to buy a new Kindle reader. The search for the word “kindle” is enough to direct you to Amazon’s site where you can get the newest device. And once you’re on their site, they will do a good job at convincing you to buy, rest assured.
Informational queries are, as the name indicates, related to information gathering. Typically, the user is looking for an answer to a question. Examples are: Checking the weather, health related questions, looking for theatre schedule information, and many others.
Here is the results page when I’m checking the weather for Lisbon:
Note that I didn’t have to leave Google to get the answer. I was presented with the information I was looking for without even clicking a link. These are called “instant answers”, and are integrated into the search results page.
Do you recognise these kinds of searches on your daily activities online? We do all of them. It just depends on our specific goals at the time.