The user’s search is more important than the search term. In this article, we will find out why Search Intent can completely change the definition of SEO in the future.
We’ve heard about this concept over and over again, perhaps in SEO training articles or in videos posted on YouTube. John Mueller has repeatedly mentioned its importance in his hangouts, and all experts in this field summarize the future of optimization for Google. By all these explanations we mean the following:
This role is so important that it can be said that all algorithms, updates and any small and large changes in search results will eventually lead to an improvement in the user experience. In this article, instead of talking about what a user experience is (which almost everyone knows about!), We want to dig deeper and talk about the core of the user experience, Search Intent.
(Google officially released the BERT update in October 2019, which is actually the core of the user search target. Before you look closely at this article, we recommend that you read the important article on Google’s BERT algorithm to see the close connection Search with the latest Google update.)
Many people know exactly what a user’s search goal is and what they do, but the more challenging (and perhaps more unknown!) Issue is how to find that goal. This article will help you do 3 great things:
- Understand exactly what the user needs
- Once and for all, you put the user’s needs above any other goal
- You learn how to find the target user
Was it interesting for you to understand the purpose of the search? If you do not have enough time to read the rest of the article, we suggest that by watching the video below in 5 minutes (with a size of 50 MB) to gain an understanding of Search Intent and its impact on the future of SEO.
An interesting example to understand the concept of user need of search
To better understand this new concept, we ask you to imagine a situation where you are talking to your friend. Naturally, when listening, you do not look at individual words as meaningful parts. You listen because you want to understand what your friend is saying.
For example, if your friend says: How much I sweat!
You will find that this person feels warm
So to help him, for example, open the window or turn on the air conditioner
In the process, you were able to do something to relieve your friend’s feeling of warmth.
In fact, instead of focusing on the words, you focus on the meaning and purpose of your friend.
In order to be able to meet the needs of its users well, Google pays attention to the purpose and goal of the searcher instead of keywords.
That is, what does the user intend to achieve by searching for this phrase?
Want to read something from 0 to 100 or do you want to buy a product?
Just when you ask yourself these questions and find a logical answer to it, your site has the potential to answer the user’s needs.
(Meeting the needs of the user, which Google emphasizes a lot these days, is one of the hot topics in the user experience in SEO. In the article on user experience in SEO, you can get a deep understanding of UX from Google’s point of view.)
What is a search intent? Why does the future of SEO depend on it?
Meeting user needs is more than just keywords. Here, instead of keywords, Search Intent is more important.
Suppose a user searches for the phrase “buy a plane ticket to Istanbul”. Now Google has to see which of the following scenarios was the reason for the user search:
- Want to get acquainted with airline ticketing sites?
- Or collect tourism information about Istanbul?
- Maybe he is just looking to buy a plane ticket to Istanbul?
Assuming that the user’s only goal is to buy a plane ticket, then sites that link to the plane ticket purchase page instead of a comprehensive article and content are more likely to gain a foothold. So it can be concluded that it is the users who rank your content and not Google bots!
You may be thinking that until recently, everyone was shouting “content is king”! According to experts and recent changes in the core of Google algorithms, the foundations of this kingdom are no longer as strong as before:
If content is king, then responding to the user needs is the key to entering the content kingdom.
From the bottom of our hearts, instead of generating content, we ask you to delve deeper into the user’s needs and provide the user with what he or she expects by researching why the user is searching. (You can even go so far as to say things to the user that he did not think he needed at all!)
In addition, in one of the episodes of the SEO Mythbusting video series on its YouTube channel, Google emphasizes the importance of meeting the needs of the user. If you want to know more about these videos, we recommend that you visit the SEO Misconceptions page and get acquainted with SEO misconceptions in Google’s own language.
An interesting example of Google’s accurate understanding of user needs
To help you understand Google’s progress in Search Intent, here is an example. Do a Google search for “best place to travel”. The results that Google shows you are relevant to your search time. This means that if you are in winter, the results are related to winter, and if you are close to Eid, Google will show you the results related to Nowruz.
In the picture above you can see that Google according to the user’s search time (ie in summer), has higher links to summer related results. You may be thinking to yourself, “How stupid is this Google!” But this is not the pinnacle of Google’s intelligence; Because this smart search engine does not see everything in one dimension and due to the proximity of summer to Nowruz, it also gives you a result of places of interest in Nowruz. Why? To make sure all users get answers to their questions with a wide range of different needs.
How does Google understand the purpose of a user’s search so well?
Google used to be a search engine, but now it sounds like a smart computer that answers users’ questions intelligently. Google robots are not only smarter, they are adding to their knowledge day by day. But where does this intelligence come from?
Google’s algorithms are like humans and show human behavior. This means that these robots, just like users, read reputable reference sites such as Wikipedia and constantly add to their knowledge. The more information these robots have about the content that users are searching for, the more information they can provide to the user. The sites that Google uses to update its knowledge are known as the Knowledge Base.
In the image below, we can see how accurate and comprehensive Google’s knowledge graph is about Asghar Farhadi:
The ability to self-learn Google algorithms is a process that was practiced in Rank Brain. What made Google so smart at delivering search results? The answer to your question lies in the Rank Brin Algorithm article!
Visual guide to see Search Intent in action
In order to be able to keep up with the user and consider all his needs, it is better to forget the traditional method of retrieval funnel. The process of buying a product for the customer is no longer a linear and predictable process. In order to be able to penetrate to the depth of the user’s needs, it is necessary to respond to the user’s needs in various stages, from motivation to product purchase.
With a simple example, let’s leave the meaning of all these words to you. To do this, we need to add a little imagination to our work; Suppose we have a user named Mahsa who is planning to go on a foreign trip for a summer weekend. This motivation raises many questions for Mahsa.
- Which country is better for foreign travel?
- What is the price range of the tours?
- From which company to get a plane ticket?
These questions and ambiguities of Mahsa cause her to finally travel to Istanbul using the tour. Now, in order for you to understand the different stages, from the idea to meeting Mahsa’s needs, we have prepared this process for you in a visual way:
Step 1: Here a need arises in Mahsa. This idea and need makes him work and turn to different tools to meet his needs (for example, Google search, watch a video, ask a friend, etc.)
Step 2: Mahsa’s questions and ambiguities become purposeful in this step. In other words, he has made his decision and knows what to look for:
Step 3: This fictional character finally makes his decision and prepares for a foreign travel tour. But he wants to see what to do after shopping and before packing:
Step 4: Mahsa has made her main decision in this step and only needs a series of additional information that she needs during the trip:
What does all this mean? You probably never knew that a simple thing like traveling would have so many different stages! Here’s how to put one together for use with your seemingly simple “foreign trip” approach.
If you look closely, you will see that the terms that our fake character searches on Google contain more long keywords. These words, because they are long, refer exactly to the user’s purpose of the search, and therefore their use has a greater impact on user satisfaction.
(If you need more reasons and statistics to make sure long keywords can overturn your SEO, reading the Long Keywords article can give you many documented reasons.)
5 Valuable Tips for Success in the Age of Search Intent
Instead of focusing on the number of word searches and targeting short, general phrases, focus on the actual user needs.
Finally, we will summarize all the advice we can give you in this case in 5 cases:
- Be different: Google seeks to diversify content and bring new nature to search results. (That is, if everyone is talking about a stereotypical issue, you look at it from a newer perspective.)
- Understand the user’s purpose: The nature of the page should be commensurate with the user’s purpose of the search. (What exactly is the user’s purpose? Reading the article, buying the product or downloading the file?)
- Be an expert: Know your strengths and strengthen them instead of scatterbrained. (All work and no work! Be the best in one area)
- Don’t underestimate long keywords: By targeting long keywords, you know exactly what the user needs)
- Be responsive: Instead of selling more, focus on answering users’ questions. Customer confidence usually leads to sales on its own)
The bottom line: The concept of SEO changes over time
What we call today the most effective SEO technique will not necessarily be effective forever. Due to the constant change of the mechanism of Google algorithms, we have to be prepared for the big and small changes of Google. If Google does not tell us something and locks its black box doors, it is just a key that could be the solution to all these closed doors in the future. This master key can be summarized in two steps:
- Deep and step-by-step understanding of the user’s need and purpose of the search
- Provide the best results and answers for user needs
An intriguing experiment to challenge Google right now
Necessary equipment: a mobile phone + internet
Now that we’ve talked about Google search targeting and behavior, let’s take a look at this interesting topic and see how well Google really does in understanding search targeting. Suppose you want to read a few books on SEO but you do not know exactly what SEO books are about.
So pick up your phone and do a Google search for “SEO books”. Do the results that Google gives you show different SEO books on the same results page?
Can you run this challenge on desktop and mobile and see if the results are the same?
Share the result of this challenge in the comment section of SEO teaching Academy.