People “ask Google” for answers day in and day out. Unfortunately, some questions are better than others just as some results are a better response to what the searcher really meant by their query. For some time, search queries had to contain the right keywords to return a desired result. Search engine optimization (SEO) focused on helping search engine algorithms identify what a webpage was actually about by using strategically placed and repeated keywords. At the same time, keywords are a less-than-ideal approach to understanding the meaning of content because they can be manipulated and because people think contextually.
Enter semantic search technology at Google that will soon use artificial intelligence to identify what a search query means to the searcher—it’s about intent. Semantic search will also return relevant results based on the context established on pages and the site as a whole rather than on keywords that match the search query. Keywords aren’t likely to disappear or become useless, but they will be part of a bigger picture. Meanwhile social sharing will become an increasingly important signal of quality, interest in, and relevancy of content.
The Wall Street Journal covered what searchers can expect from Google’s new semantic search push and the results they are likely to see. Read Write Web has the scoop on the difference semantic search will make for messaging and keyword-focused SEO.
Over at Chaos To Clarity, the brand story department has been cheering for weeks because the rise of semantic search makes strong, compelling content more important than ever. If you’re using the Web to market your business and you want people to tell others about what you do, then creating context for the reader will continue to rule—but now Google will notice too. Well written content that explains, entertains, and focuses on creating an experience for your site’s visitors will fare much better in search results when sharing and context count.