SEO: SEARCH INTENT AND ITS MANY FACES
What is Search Intent
Search Intent, also known as Keyword intent or User intent, is what the user intends(or intuitively expects) to find on the search engine results page( SERP ) after they have entered a query.
Let’s say you are a user, and you want to figure the quickest way to join the circus. You deploy a search on google for “Quickest way to join the circus”. It shows you many links for how to join, but most of them are long roads that will take you years. But on one website you see a quick route that would only take six months. So you stay on that page, read it, and engage with it. If enough people do this following a search for the same query, that website will soon find itself ranking #1 on the SERP.
The Importance of Intent
SEO IS intent.
Of course keywords, credibility, and authenticity all matter on how you rank on the SERP. But google’s most primary challenge is to give its user a seamless experience. And you can bet they will use their considerable resources and high technology to achieve this.
There is nothing worse for a search engine than not recognizing the intent of the user’s search.
Google is an SEO specialist’s greatest friend as well as their greatest nemesis. It’s often touted expansive and ever-changing algorithm presents the truest challenge of SEO work- Matching search intent with results on the Search Engine Results Page(or SERP).
There is no denying that a website’s position on the SERP will directly contribute to business volume.
If your business was a house, then the content(and its resulting SEO) is the water that holds the cement together. Except your business is actually a plant- and it needs constant watering.
How do we discern Intent
As it turns out, 99% of all search terms fall under 4 different intent categories:
Data also suggests that search intent changes constantly. Nobody knows what the future of search is. Add to that google’s ever-dynamic search engine algorithm- makes SEO a tough nut.
So if a business is selling a product online(which would be a commercial endeavor), the practiced logic is to construct long and short tail keywords around what words people would search for. Essentially the content creator is left to guess what keywords a searcher would use. Pen-swinging marketers from big corporations have already cornered most SERPs with extensive blog production and keyword stuffing. This coupled with the inherent uncertainty of search makes establishing a SERP presence an uphill task indeed.
But it is not all doom and gloom for the creative marketer in this story. There is an inbuilt dues ex machine here- Google.
As mentioned twice here already, google’s algorithms are ever-changing and use deep learning AI technology to dynamically discern the intent of a user, as well as the relevance of a website in any particular search scenario.
How do you counter a deep learning algorithm that indexes your website based on search intent?
You deploy your own deep learning algorithm at the production level. You reverse engineer intent using hard data. To do this, the content production process has to be refined and data-driven. Check out Instoried’s content analysis tool that uses Natural Language Processing and AI to augment your writing.
Google does say that they prioritize fresh content, but that just means that you need to have a well developed content strategy that is updated regularly. But it also means that someone starting from scratch or building an online presence can have a fighting chance- As long as they figure out Intent.
-by Havaz Mhd