BIng and Entity Search

Bing is driving forward with entity search. While Google wants to be an “answer engine”, Bing is saying it is a “do engine” for helping people take action – book that restaurant reservation.

Microsoft Has Big Plans For Bing’s Entity Engine, Frederic Lardinois, Techcrunch (Mar 30)

Microsoft clearly has big plans for using entities in Bing and products that rely on it; the company plans to open up a part of this entity engine so more third-party sites will be able to highlight some of their features on Bing.

Expanding the Knowledge Graph

Dr. Meyers finds that Google is much better at understanding questions and could be revolutionizing organic search.

Knowledge Graph 2.0: Now Featuring Your Knowledge, Dr Peter J Meyers, The Moz Blog (Mar 25)

But where does Google get the information – from humans!

The main sources of data for the Knowledge Graph are curated by people. Ironically, Google is facing the same dilemma with Knowledge Graph in 2014 that led to the creation of internet search engines in the first place.

But that will have to changes. Meyers gives some examples of direct extraction of answers from pages.

Accentuating the entities

Barbara Starr continues her examination of the adoption by search engines of practices that make semantic web a reality. This includes “understanding” the queries through word connections, returning “answers”, and changing the display. Now – webmasters should add semantic / structured markup (using schema.org) to their pages in order to get their content attached to this ever-growing knowledge base.

How To Tell Search Engines What “Entities” Are On Your Web Pages by Barbara Starr, Search Engine Land (Mar 21)

Be sure to read the summary / takeaways at the end of the page.

We are heading toward a significant proliferation of markup on the web.  For example, on the web, the same event may be listed on multiple websites. In these cases, the markup from the most official website would be used in the knowledge panel.

Bing is very social

Bing has a strong relationship with Twitter and Facebook – enough to index “half a billion tweets and two billion Facebook updates every day” and use social signals in assessing authority of pages.

The Intersection Of Search & Social, Casie Gilette, Search Engine Land (Mar 13)

Bing indexes half a billion tweets and two billion Facebook updates every day. Bing also integrates with LinkedIn, Klout, and are looking at Google+ data. That’s a lot of information!

 

According to Forrester, Bing is using all of these social signals to help determine authority. The search engines want to provide the best content from the best people, and social can help them determine who/what that is. Forrester noted that social signals are in fact influencing rankings, but only as part of an overall pattern. For example, when a large number of people are sharing or linking to a site, this attracts Bing’s attention. To determine if it truly has value, they may try to rank it higher and see what happens. He did however say that there is not a direct connection between number of likes and tweets to rankings.

Is Google answering more questions?

Google is constantly experimenting and not everything sticks. Last Januaryl, Barry Schwartz had screenshots of Google’s new prowess at answering questions – even to go so far as do what Ask could years ago – explain why the sky is blue. I can’t get Google to answer any of my questions – could be my location (Toronto), or Google has retracted them Nonetheless, they may turn up again.

Google Search OneBox Answers Are Getting More Detailed, by Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Land (Jan 28, 2014)

A search engine tailored to need

Conceivably, a search engine with algorithms to deeply analyze content could help a student learn and find better content. This is the premise of two professors at the University of Alabama who are develping the Complexity Engine that will “search websites for content and delivers free, customized and age-appropriate reading materials”.

New search engine delivers content matched to ability, by Jim Steele, Phys.org. (Feb 28)

An Internet search engine developed specifically for schools by two University of Alabama in Huntsville professors is being tested as a way to increase reading abilities in challenged students and help motivate intellectual development in gifted students, while saving schools money on textbooks.

The article reports that the team has received $10,000. My guess is that they’ll need a much larger infusion of money.

Google Authorship

I admit to not understanding the first thing about Google’s concept of authorship, but I distrust an arrangement by which authorship is recognized only through Google+.  (Explained in The definitive guide to Google authorship markup.)

Regardless, this article provides a few clues as to what Google is doing in ranking results.

The Secret To Staying Relevant With Authorship by Jim Yu, Search Engine Land (Feb 25)

Google has a “master plan” to use authorship  — “While Step 1 was all about associating content with authors via authorship, Step 2 is about refining to the top echelon of authors and filtering their quality content into the results more favorably.”

Social connections matter — “Many of the principles we’ve come to call “best practices” still apply; we know that authority, social connections and quality content continue to go hand-in-hand when it comes to relevance of the search results.”

Especially Google + social connections — “Cutts said social signals like a +1 aren’t just a number — those endorsements are a sign of authority. If you’re someone worth listening to, search engines will think you’re worth listening to, as well.”

But main message on the artilcle is the importance of creating high quality content – often – and being recognized for it.

Google’s search algorithms – what’s really happening?

Personalization has really arrived if this is true – Google may be tailoring results to your sequence of searches in a session, not just the single inquiry.

Evolving Google Search Algorithms by Bill Slawski, SEO by the SEA (Feb 21)

It appears that Google has been paying attention to this kind of search behavior from people who search like me. A patent granted to Google earlier this month watches queries performed by a searcher during a search session, and may give more weight to the words and phrases used earlier in a session like that, and might give less weight to terms that might be added on as a session continues.

But at the end, Slawski says Google Hummingbird update (ranking algorithms) uses historical search query sessions.

It is clear from Slawski’s posting that Google does a lot of tinkering and adjusting in the background. Is this good or bad for the information professional doing critical searches? Is this a reason to search anonymously to cut out influence of search history?

Google and topic analysis

Slawski finds some evidence that Google matches on “the topic of a post rather than keywords”. And if it isn’t actually doing that now, it’s very close to doing so.

Will Keywords be Replaced by Topics for Some Searches? by Bill Slawski, SEO by the Sea (Jan 16)

Google can get some idea of topic from Freebase where users add content. But Slawski says “it’s possible that Google might look to other sources to better understand things such as topics, such as Open Information Extraction.” It could be matter of statistics of the probablity of query relating to a domain topic.