Defining Web searches as simple as 1, 2, 3

Web search might seem like a complex issue, but it really boils down to 3 basic kinds of searches: informational, navigational and transactional (related to buying something).

That's the word from researchers at Penn State University's College of Information Sciences and Technology and Australia's Queensland University of Technology who looked at more than 1.5 million queries from hundreds of thousands of search engines users.

The bulk of searches (80%) proved to be informational, with the other 20% split between navigational and transactional. The researchers used an algorithm that they say classified searches with a 74% accuracy rate.

"Other results have classified comparatively much smaller sets of queries, usually manually," said Jim Jansen, assistant professor in Penn State's College of Information Sciences and Technology, in a statement . "This research aimed to classify queries automatically.

The researchers' work is outlined in a paper titled "Determining the informational, navigational and transactional intent of Web queries" that will appear in the May issue of Information Processing & Management

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