If you are wondering why Google search results don’t have your search terms, it’s because Google may be rewriting your querey. We’ve known about word variants for a long time – invest as a search term also brings back investors; 6th will get sixth. There’s more – described in this article.
How Google May Rewrite Your Search Terms Bill Slawski, SEO by the SEA (Dec 8)
Google has patented going beyond individual words to consider the entire query and then substitute words.
Google’s Hummingbird update involves changing some of the words within an original long and complex query to capture the meaning behind those words rather than just returning pages in search results that contain the all the words within the original query.
If you click on a result, Google will know it succeeded.
The pronouncement by Dominiek ter Heide that semantic web has failed is very alarming. It might also be overstated. Some people do do research on the Web and appreciate the new avenues that tools like Knowledge Graph provide.
Three reasons why the Semantic Web has failed, GigaOm (Nov 3)
Still we can’t ignore this call — “It’s time to ditch the old paradigms of documents, knowledge and keyword search. We live in a world of big data, real-time streams and human emotions. It’s time for a revolution in information retrieval. We need a web that’s dynamic and centered around humans.”
If the whiz kids doing search engine optimization are being advised to think “semantic” and work towards meeting “user intent and interpretation”, searchers should reconsider their search styles.
Barbara Starr at Search Engine Land describes 5 Ways To Unlock The Benefits Of Semantic Search (Nov 7)
- “Google is using “form based” or “template” queries to answer questions at scale in real time” of which Google has many.
- Social search is more prevalent – who you connect with may influence results – all the more reason to pay attention to the company you keep.
- Google+ is important to business.
- More websites will be using “structured data markup, paying special attention to markup vocabulary from schema.org,”
Eric Enge fills us in on what Danny Sullivan said in a Google Hangout about Google’s new Hummingbird search engine – it is more than an algorithm and maybe more than a platform. It has a spider to crawl, an index, and the search engine itself – Hummingbird.
As it says, hummingbird was a rewrite of the search engine. Part of this was to enable Google to better understand “entities” within the context of web search. Google has had this as part of Knowledge Graph type queries for a while. This is also the reason that Google has had some capabilities in dealing with natural language queries for the Knowledge Graph, but now with Hummingbird update, that ability to understand natural language queries has been extended to the rest of the search engine as well.
How far into concept-based web search have Google and Bing moved? It’s hard to say. Likely Google is further along with in than Bing – as we see in this posting by Bill Slawski, Concept Based Web Search (SEO by the SEA, Nov 4). Bing acquired Powerset several years ago, noted for its support of semantic, meaning-filled search on Wikipedia. But Slawski notes that there is no sign that Bing uses it today – although Bing has some white papers on the concept knowledge base Probase. Of interest –
In short, how Probase works is to take a searcher’s query and sort it into possible term sequences that might include concepts, entities, attributes and keywords. It may then identify the intent (or the semantics) of those term sequences based upon a set of query patterns.
Slawski had proposed in 2012 that we should learn how to do concept-based web seach and do less keyword searching — Should You be Doing Concept Research Instead of Keyword Research? (May 28, 2012). It seems Bing has stalled. What about Google? We’ll have to wait for Bill Slawski to figure it out for us.
Deeper explanation than usual of Google’s question-answering capabilities with advice to webmasters on how to adapt to and exploit this new world.
Google Hummingbird: When Evolutionary Becomes Revolutionary By Barbara Starr, Search Engine Land (Oct 10)
Hummingbird and Google’s question answering system are not revolutionary in and of themselves. The components that comprise them are all evolutionary in nature and function in a synergistic, interoperable manner. Google is taking Question Answering technology (from the past) along with “big data” technology and simply making them work at scale — with phenomenal results. The overall picture is, in fact, revolutionary in nature.
Semantic search practiced by Google and Bing today is explained well in this article — Future SEO: Understanding Entity Search by Paul Bruemmer, Search Engine Land (Oct 7)
Five key sentences:
- entities are people, places or things
- Semantic Search provides a method for classifying the data by labeling each piece of information as an entity — this is referred to as structured data.
- Semantic search uses a vocabulary like Facebook’s Open Graph protocol or a syntax like RDFa or microdata to create structured data.
- Structured data creates the ability to provide detailed information about the meaning of your page content to search engines in a way that is easily processed and presented to users.
- You will quickly discover that entity extraction essentially powers semantic search.
It’s not easy to explain today’s search technology. This fairly clear and short article does a good job of describing the main capabilities (as currently envisioned).
The great shift in search by Charles Silver, Gigaom (Sep 22)
The future: “Once this happens, search engines will become answer engines that are capable of conducting reasoning and inference and have the ability to understand context.”
Have you noticed anything different with your Google searches lately? Google rolled out new ranking algorithm code named Hummingbird in the last month. Danny Sullivan likens it to a new engine in a car – though it’s hard to be specific about what constitutes the engine. “Google says”, said Sullivan, that it “is a new engine built on both existing and new parts, organized in a way to especially serve the search demands of today, rather than one created for the needs of ten years ago, with the technologies back then.”
FAQ: All About The New Google “Hummingbird” Algorithm, Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Land (Sep 26)
The new Google is supposed to be better at conversational search, that is in understanding the searcher’s intent. It does this by working with entities – expanding the queries to what the words are related to – and finding the connections - rather than merely matching on words.
We’ll have to watch and assess.
Good explanation of some basics of how search engines work: crawling vs indexing; role of robots.txt; how links are processed.
How Search Engines Work — Really! Jenny Halasz, Search Engine Land (Sep 16)
Crawling does not equal indexing.
PageRank is separated from crawling.
There are only four ways to block the flow of PageRank, and the only other option is disavow.