The Week in Search is a weekly column produced by the Studio team to keep marketing professionals and ecommerce merchants up to date on changes in the search industry, and provide valuable context on what it all means. If you have questions or think we missed something, email us directly.

More Details About Google’s New Year’s Algorithm Update

SERoundtable is really good at consolidating disparate SEO chatter from all the forums and various comment threads. This week, they continued to track changes with Google algorithms and now SERP tracking software is showing changes to back up the claims.

Studio Takeaway: Still in chatter phase for us, not seeing any major dips or upticks.

Don’t Update Your Post Dates on Evergreen Content

For those who don’t know, evergreen content is a piece of content that is always relevant and not tied to a specific time or topic. For content producers, it’s long been a practice to regularly update your evergreen content, leave the URL as it is, and then change the post date.

This week, John Mueller set the record straight on what to do with your evergreen content.

Studio Takeaway: Not a huge change, but very good to know going forward. Though, I do wonder how Google is going to rank a post dated 5 years ago but still relevant when there’s a competing one with a more recent publication date. John Mueller responded to a similar question in Twitter, below, but I could see this topic coming back for discussion someday.

Bing Search Team Says SEOs Need to Shift from Keyword Research to “Intent” Research

In an interview at SMX this last week, Frédéric Dubut, a member of Bing’s search team said that as search engines get better at understanding human intent in search, SEOs will need to shift away from keyword research based on volume and focus more on user-intent. Here’s the transcript from SERoundtable:

“If you look at 2018, 2019 there’s lots of evolution in the field, of deep learning, natural language processing. Google announced recently they integrated their BERT language model in search results. And what that means for everyone is search engines are shifting from keywords to intent at an accelerating pace.”

“So if you imagine a few years ago, we were mostly based on keywords, then we are a QR based search engine with a little bit of intent sprinkled on. And what we’re looking forward to in 2020 is that search engines are going to be primarily intent-based, so we’ll understand the core intent better. We’ll understand what the documents mean better, and we’ll be able to do better matches.”

“For you in the SEO community. what that means, is that some of the current practices around keyword research are probably going to become slowly obsolete and you’ll need to switch to intent research as a practice. So this is super important.”

“2020 is the year where search engines are shifting to intent primarily.”

Studio Takeaway: On one hand, we agree completely. If you’re only doing keyword research based on the search volume, you’re likely doing you or your client’s site a disservice. At the end of the day, Google is a place where people find information, learn new skills, find things they need, and more. If you’re not optimizing for that intent, you need to get with it.

Google’s BERT update solidified the idea that content needs to be relevant to users and needs to address their needs.

Below is John Mueller’s response:

Other Interesting Links: