Google, in every sense of the word, is a powerhouse in the internet and technology scene. The search giant has made breakthroughs after breakthroughs when it comes to online searches and the results of said searches. The company has been at the forefront of using machine learning AI to optimize its searches for pulling off some truly phenomenal feats.
A small fact that might raise some eyebrows, is that Google makes 3200 changes to its algorithm.
That is a huge number. And to win the SEO game, you need to be up to date with all the changes that are happening and be on top of all the small tweaks and major algorithm updates.
One of the newer breakthroughs is that Google can now understand the ‘intent’ behind a search. This opens up many possibilities to overall better user experience for all users.
Gone are the old days of keyword matching; the future is way more contextual and intent-based search with faster and better websites are set to dominate. That is why if you want to win SEO in 2020, one factor you absolutely need to consider is optimizing for search intent and code optimization.
We take deep-dive about these two major factors but first let’s start with some context on how this came to be.
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Whoever has dabbled on just how Google works may have some basic idea of how it does what it does. Google basically indexes web content and shows you results for your searched query by looking for keywords.
That is to say, when you search for a term on Google, it will look for content that matches those keywords and show you those results. But fast forward a couple of years into the future, it is now way more complex than that. Machine learning and AI has taken the company’s search prowess to new heights.
Intent-Based Search Is In
With major advancements it made with its machine learning algorithms with RankBrain, Google can now effectively understand what the intent behind a query was and show relevant results for the query.
When people search for something on Google, not only does Google know exactly what they meant but it can also give you relevant bits and pieces of information. This will be the new thing to look out for when optimizing your content moving forward in 2020.
Search intent is categorized into four major categories:
These are the queries where the searcher is looking to navigate somewhere on the internet. For example, searching for YouTube or Facebook with the intent to go to those sites through Google.
This category is pretty self-explanatory. These are meant to be educational and searchers are usually searching for something they want to learn about. Like a definition or how something works.
This is for when the searchers are looking to buy something online. Some keywords here would include ‘buy’ or ‘order’.
This category includes queries where the searcher is looking into different products and are exploring the options that are in the market. The intent behind these is to gather more insight and make an educated purchase.
What Should You Do to Optimize for The New Era?
The obvious course of action for any marketer and SEO professional at this point will be to optimize content for the intent behind the keywords themselves and just solely for the keywords.
But you should also double down on the keyword research and gain insights on what the intent for those keywords could imply. Based on that info, you can tailor your content for that specific intent and have your content show up in higher rankings in SERPs.
If the search intent is a commercial investigation, then create a vs. list or product comparison content. On the other hand, if the intent is informational then it should be a long-form content that creates value for the reader. This opens up another topic for discussion for us.
Long-form content usually does better.
Readers want to land on a page and expect to find all the information they need on a single well-written piece of content. That is convenient for them and gives them value. We see long-form content do better in rankings because they tend to be more in-depth and have way more useful information for the reader; this is the exact reason long-form content usually have more backlinks.
Optimize site for the mobile and speed
Moving forwards, markets and business owners should also work on optimizing their code base for faster and more fluid websites. User experience has played has been a huge factor for readers and customers.
When it comes to websites, the customers expect the website to load as fast as possible and the wait time.
This factor will be a crucial player for SEO moving forward in 2020. Sluggish websites that deliver bad user experience will be penalized, which can bring their ranking down significantly.
In conclusion, the SEO scene is perhaps one of the fastest-changing landscapes. With so many tweaks and updates made by search engines every day, the only way to win at the game is to be updated with all the latest happenings that are taking place. Optimizing for the latest algorithms and search behavior change will help you get a better ranking in SERPs, which is a priceless asset. The better the ranking of your page, the more possibility of achieving better business value and more awareness for your product or service.
The main takeaway from this is that you need to optimize your content for the search intent rather than just the keywords themselves. Add in a robust and responsive webpage to go with the effort, and you should be set on your way in achieving higher SERP rankings in 2020!