How smart has Google become?

Well in spite of that fact that apparently, its IQ is a paltry 47.28, as far as I can tell, it’s become pretty smart, at least in terms of its ability to surmise intent is concerned.  It’s almost like it can read our minds…or at least it’s trying to.

In SEO, there are 3 big things we deal with:
1. Impressions/ranking
2. Click Through Rate
3. Conversion

You can have a bottle neck at any of these stages and you have a problem. If you have a bottleneck at #1, your answer is keyword research and content.

If you have a bottleneck at #3, your answer is probably website flow, conversion page copy, CTA design, etc.

If your bottleneck is at #2, what’s the answer? I feel this one is more tricky because of Google’s basically uncanny ability to understand the searcher’s intent.

You might think one answer to a bottleneck at #2 would be to tweak meta titles and descriptions, as these are designed to inspire clicks. But changing meta description copy is something that Google may do for you, depending on the search query. So whatever you write may or may not be seen.

Here’s an example. I queried ‘Langley small bathroom renovations contractor’ and was returned with these results:

The description is copy from the page that includes the word “team”. If I try the same query without “contractor”, I see a description that includes copy from the same page, but pertaining to materials and execution. Makes sense. But neither description is what I wrote.

What I wrote was: Add instant value to your home with a sparkling bathroom remodel. Langley custom bathroom renovations for large and small projects, ensuite & shower upgrades.

What’s the solution?
1. Create separate landing pages for each type of query
2. Do nothing and let Google drive the most appropriate results (which is its job)
3. Focus on other aspects of SEO such as backlinks and off-site strategy such as community visibility

I think the answer is all 3 – but with more emphasis on #2 and 3. Creating more pages of content, unless specifically referencing the keyword in question to the exclusion of others runs the risk of confusing Google. If Google is confused about which page to serve for a particular query, SEO strength for all of them can become diluted.

Perhaps we SEO’ers should more often take a step back and let Google figure out the intent and serve the results as it sees fit. In this case, the same url was returned for both queries but citing copy that was appropriate to the intent of the searcher. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think there is anything to improve on there, as long as I have a default meta description included.

Let me know what you think in the comments!