Searcher Intent Shifts Over Time, So Does Google’s Query Interpretation


John Shehata, the global VP at Conde Nast, asked a super interesting question about how Google Search adapts to how searcher intents change over time. In short, it seems Google is smart enough to understand queries different over time as searcher intent changes over time.

John Shehata asked on Twitter “when does Google consider a phrase a valid query and not something else? Let me explain: searching for “News SEO” always generates “SEO News” for the majority of SERP results. Is it demand, content supply, etc?”

John Mueller of Google responded first saying “I don’t know.” And then he offered a theory, saying “I imagine the intent shifts automatically over time. Like [christmas trees] can mean “information about trees” in July, and “where to buy” in December, “how to get rid of” in January, and “christmas tree news” if they run out, again.”

John Mueller seems to say that Google will “automatically” shift how it understands query intent over time, as seasons or events change.

Bill Slawski added “just like a search for Hanukkah before the event is probably one looking for gifts or celebration, and one taking place afterward is more likely for the history of the event. Timing can make a big difference.”

This makes sense but it would be super cool to know how Google handled this, wouldn’t it. I guess this is the type of question that cannot be fully answered on Twitter.

Here are those tweets:

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Note: This was pre-written and scheduled to be posted today, I am currently offline for Simchat Torah.



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