SEO and Intent 2020: Shocking New Study Reveals True State Of Search

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A newly released industry study by leading digital marketing agency Ignite Visibility sheds light on how users are searching—and what they’re searching for—in the new year.

San Diego-based Ignite Visibility recently surveyed over 500 internet users, aged 25-60, to gain insight into how they search, what factors most influence their decision to click, and how closely the search results align with their intent.

Key takeaways from the study include:

  • The majority of respondents are not receptive to ads in the search results. Most (85.2%) preferred to click on organic results, and 66.7% responded that if Google added more ads to the results, they would want to use the search engine less.
  • Written content is still king. Despite the growing emphasis on video and image production, 55% still prefer to see written content in the search results.
  • Web privacy continues to be a concern for users. In the case of ad targeting, 62.1% had no idea why Google was targeting them for specific ads.
  • Ranking #1 isn’t everything. Yes, ranking higher is better, but most respondents looked at more than three search results before deciding to click.
  • Brand awareness matters, but it’s not a deal-breaker. The slight majority, 55%, said that they would only click on a brand they knew in the search results, while 44.9% would still click regardless of they knew the brand.
  • Meta descriptions remain a crucial SEO element. When asked which factor has the most significant impact on their decision to click a result, 62.9% responded it was the description.
  • Good news for Google: most searchers are satisfied with the search results. When asked, 72% replied that the search engine was mostly accurate at matching their queries with search results.
  • Download the full study to learn more.

Some of the responses reinforce time-tested marketing tactics. Content is still king, ads are still frustrating to users, and optimizing for SERP features is critical to search engine success.

But there were certainly a few surprises in the mix.

For example, despite the growing emphasis on multimedia in marketing, it appears that most searchers still prefer to see written results in the search pages.

“There is so much hype lately about other types of content like video killing the demand for the written word. Clearly, text still wins!” says Ignite Visibility CEO John Lincoln. “This is an invaluable point for marketers. Though it’s important to keep a tab on newer trends and techniques, the value of written content can’t be understated.”

But those looking to get ahead in the search results will need to focus on more than just content strategy. They also need a plan in place to capture SERP features and featured snippets, often called no-click results.

These features now occupy a significant portion of search result pages, and if searchers have anything to say about it, they’re here to stay. Most of those surveyed (55%) felt that SERP features were an improvement to the search results.

“Marketers need to change the way they think about visitors,” says Lincoln. “In some cases, they can no longer separate visits from impressions. If a website gets an impression in a Google SERP feature, that should be included in a report. Going forward, we are going to see impression counts in native platforms like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Bing, and more on the rise. Visits to websites will go down. However, conversions should remain the same.”

Overall, most feel that the search results have improved over the past year, and they are mostly accurate at matching intent.

This is good news for Google as it continues to prioritize searcher intent. For marketers, it means optimizing for intent will be a critical part of their SEO strategies going forward.

For more insights on these findings and more, download the full story here.

About Ignite Visibility
Ignite Visibility is a premier Internet marketing company based in San Diego dedicated to providing the highest level of customer service in the industry. By establishing mutually beneficial, long-term relationships with our clients, we create custom solutions uniquely tailored to meet the specific business objectives of each client. Because a company is only as good as the promises it keeps, Ignite Visibility holds itself accountable to clearly defined key performance indicators established at the outset of every campaign. We are committed to the Ignite Visibility motto on the three “R’s of customer satisfaction: relationships, responsiveness, and results”. To learn more about Ignite Visibility, visit

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John Lincoln
since: 08/2011
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