Just when everyone grasped the importance of keywords, something bumped them down a notch. That something is ‘user intent’ – i.e. what exactly is a user looking for during an online search? Google and other engines try to answer this question when analyzing search queries. Thanks to the latest algorithms, the answers are astonishingly accurate.
Now don’t get the wrong idea. Keywords still carry weight in the world of SEO marketing. But instead of being a focal point, they’re a bridge to a higher level of understanding. That level is user intent.
When gauging intent, Google and counterparts utilize advanced technologies to understand content. Semantics, context, and other factors are evaluated to derive meaning from the material. Once meaning is understood, the content is matched with all relevant search queries.
Along with more accurate search results, other changes have emerged thanks to advancements in search intent science. One of the big transformations pertains to search wording itself. Formerly, keywords and phrases typically filled the search boxes. Now, however, queries are more conversational – which aligns perfectly with Google’s improved ability to understand text.
Another change is the long overdue devaluation of keyword stuffing. Once upon a time, you could drop keywords willy-nilly into your beloved creations -- and hope for an SEO boost. Sometimes, in fact, you could get away with it. No longer. The newly perceptive search engines know a sham when they see one.
Which leads to the most important transformation of all – a greater emphasis on quality content. With keywords playing a secondary role while intent takes center stage, published material must be rock solid. As they say, content is king. Only now it wears a bigger crown.
If you have questions or comments about user intent in SEO marketing, or about any other brand-related topic, feel free to send them our way.