Intent research vs. keyword research

In 2020, Frédéric Dubut of Bing told us: “Keyword research are probably going to become slowly obsolete and you’ll need to switch to intent research as a practice.”

Barry Schwartz asked Google’s John Mueller about Dubut’s statement. Here’s what Mueller said:

  • “There’s probably always gonna be a little bit of room for keyword research because you’re 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 about and can sometimes drive a little bit of that conversion process.”

So, is keyword research obsolete yet? In 2023, there definitely has been a significant shift in the way SEOs think about user intent, or the search intent behind a query. But keyword research is still far from obsolete.

Read all about it in Google’s John Mueller on intent research vs keyword research for 2020.

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2019: if you have hundreds or thousands of pages, removing URLs one by one can be time-consuming. What tocan you do? Use temporary sitemaps, according to John Mueller. 

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Google removes addiction treatment ads from UK search results

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2016: The latest images culled from the web, showing what people eat at the search engine companies, how they play, who they meet, where they speak, what toys they have and more.

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2015: Some users were missing their Google Now cards, which they rely on to see if there will be traffic on the way to work, how cold it may be or other useful information for their day.

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2015: Google moved the Reach and Frequency report out of the Dimensions tab to the Campaigns tab.

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2015: Google France added the “Je Suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”) badge on its homepage, honoring the lives lost during the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris, France.

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2009: Timeframe gave advertisers a new budgeting method that automatically adjusted the daily budget based on traffic to reach a set dollar budget as per the calendar month.

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2009: Police tracked the girl’s cell phone with GPS and then confirmed her whereabouts in Virginia, using StreetView.

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Yahoo’s Yang Outlines Vision For An Integrated, Open Yahoo 2.0

2008: Search appeared to be a piece of the overall approach but not the core here; community and trusted content sources are emphasized.

Sony In Video Deal With Google & Viacom Deals With Five Competing Online Video Providers

2008: Sony announced a deal to provide Google’s YouTube five-minute clips of some of their most popular TV shows, including “Married With Children” and “Newsradio.”

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2007: That time when Matt Cutts’s Wikipedia’s page almost got deleted.

Court OKs Narrow Use of Competitor Trademarks in Search Ads & Meta Tags

2007: A U.S. District Court ruled that the use of keyword-triggered ads and keyword metatags using trademarked terms cannot confuse consumers if the resulting ads/search results don’t display a competitor’s trademarks.

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From Search Marketing Expo (SMX)

Past contributions from Search Engine Land’s Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)

These columns are a snapshot in time and have not been updated since publishing, unless noted. Opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

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About the author

Danny Goodwin

Danny Goodwin is Managing Editor of Search Engine Land & SMX. In addition to writing daily about SEO, PPC, and more for Search Engine Land, Goodwin also manages Search Engine Land’s roster of subject-matter experts. He also helps program our conference series, SMX – Search Marketing Expo.

Prior to joining Search Engine Land, Goodwin was Executive Editor at Search Engine Journal, where he led editorial initiatives for the brand. He also was an editor at Search Engine Watch. He has spoken at many major search conferences and virtual events, and has been sourced for his expertise by a wide range of publications and podcasts.

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