It is the first month of the year and the SEO community is already buzzing about intent research. It all started in November 2019 when Frédéric Dubut of Bing, in an SMX East Conference, discussed how “SEO should consider relying on Intent Research rather than Keyword Research in the Year 2020.”
When the same question was posed to John Mueller in a 7th January Webmaster Hangout, his view on the subject was somewhat similar to what Frederic had said.
John Muller said “I didn’t see that, but I think, in general, that there’s probably always going to be a little bit of room for keyword research because you are kind of providing those words to users. And even if search engines are trying to understand more than just those words, showing specific words to users can make it a little bit easier for them to understand what your pages are all about. So I don’t see these things going away completely, but I’m sure search engines will get better over time to understand more than just the words on a page.”
What is Intent Research?
Intent research is all about understanding the intent of the user when he searches for particular keywords and what he wants to achieve with that search.
Let’s understand it by an example, suppose if someone types “buy stocks” in Google. The results we see mostly consist of blogs about stocks instead of platforms that can help them in buying stocks online, which is exactly what the user intent is.
However, once search engines start identifying the exact intent behind the user’s search query, Google will be able to provide optimized search results rather than displaying search results based on the keywords present in the content of a particular webpage.
What does that mean for SEOs?
SEOs have traditionally been doing keyword research to improve the rankings in search. They have been curating content around those keywords for many years. If that goes out, SEOs will have no choice but to switch to the new ways of doing keyword research, which is not all that different from the current one, except that they will need to dig deeper than what the keyword says.
However, the real question everyone needs to address is to what extent does keyword research need to be done in relation to intent research for good rankings.
So be ready for the change, folks.
Even Google is using machine learning to better their natural language processing abilities and understand the intent of the search words used. This further adds to the fact that intent research will be crucial in the coming years.
You can also learn more about the Concept of Natural Language Processing.