Posts Tagged ‘semantic search’

Change in Google Algorithm is Coming. What does this mean for your SEO?

March 16th, 2012

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Google is making over its search formula in an effort to maintain its market share, catch up with Apple’s Siri voice-activated mobile search and retain its lead in product search.  As we recently mentioned in our post What are the top 5 Search Engines? , Google owns about 66% of the natural search market, with Bing at 15% and Yahoo at 14%.  Google also enjoys more than 75% of all search-ad revenue.

In the coming months, you will supposedly see a change in the Google algorithm

Google will be adding semantic search to its algorithm.  This technology involves the process of understanding the actual meaning of the words being searched.  This change will result in more facts and direct answers to queries being shown at the top of the search results pages, with the goal of providing more relevant results.  For example, it could differentiate between words with more than one meaning.

How will Google’s algorithm change affect your SEO efforts?

Amir Efrati, the author of the article states:

“Google isn’t replacing its current keyword-search system, which determines the importance of a website based on the words it contains, how often other sites link to it, and dozens of other measures.  Rather, the company is aiming to provide more relevant results by incorporating . . . semantic search.”

The article, however, goes on the say that Google might now provide answers rather than just links to other sites, citing the question “What are the 10 largest lakes in California?” as an example.  If Google does not have an answer to a question in its database, it will blend the semantic-search technology with its current search system to

“better recognize the value of information on websites and figure out which ones to show in the search results.  It would do so by examining a Web page and identifying information about specific entities referenced on it, rather than only look for keywords.”

The goal of this blog is to provide information in the SEO and Internet marketing arena, both in terms of current news and trends, as well as answers to questions.  We purposely make questions the title to our posts so that searchers can immediately find a site that will help it solve its problem.  Providing such relevant information also helps our business by being known as a reliable source that clients and searchers can count on as well as driving visitors to our site, which also helps with our rankings. For these reasons, we recommend blogging to our clients.  If Google starts answering more complex questions rather than providing links or looks to further information on a page, SEO strategies may need to change.  The article referenced one person who believed that these changes could affect 10% to 20% of all search queries – that is tens of billions of searches a month!  It was also suggested by Larry Cornette, a former web search executive at Yahoo, that this algorithm adjustment could spur a change in website markup language, a language that wraps a web page’s content with formatting for how the site should appear. Time will have to tell if these conjectures come to fruition.

From what we have seen, Google has been incorporating semantic search into its results for quite a while.  It already provides answers to some questions at the top of the search results page.  And previous blog posts and announcements from Google discuss technologies they use to better understand associations and concepts.  So it will be interesting to see what these “new” semantic search changes to the algorithm will unveil and if they require adjustments to your SEO efforts.