Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

Online Commercial Intention

Microsoft AdCenter Labs

In evaluating keywords to optimize your page for, frequency of search is clearly critical. You don’t want to optimize your site for keywords that no one ever searches for. Focus and competability are two other factors we use in evaluating keywords.

Microsoft has a new tool in their AdCenter Labs section that has potential to further improve keyword selection: Microsoft OCI — Online Commercial Intention. Here’s how Microsoft describes it:

Web page searches display two levels of commercial intent: informational and transactional. This tool can detect customer intent to acquire information or to purchase products based on their search queries or recently visited URLs. For example, if a customer searches for “canon digital camera”, it is likely that they want to purchase a canon digital camera; therefore, the online commercial intent is strong, with a confidence level larger than 0.5.

Informational intent has to do with searching for (duh!) information. Commercial intent means the searcher is looking to buy a product or service. For most of our clients, we’d want keywords with a high commercial intent score. For web sites providing mostly information (like Wikipedia) they’d want a high informational intent score.

We’re looking into whether the new Microsoft tool is robust enough and convenient enough to build into our client keyword evaluations. Why not try it out for yourself?

  1. This keyword tool is no longer available from MSN.

    I have made a replacement tool if you would like to try it out and leave me some feedback. You can access it for free while in BETA over at

    • Too bad you only permit five uses per day in the free version.

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