How Google May Use Categories as a Search Ranking Factor, Bill Slawski, SEO by the Sea (Oct 12)
The days of search engines doing exact word match are long past. The search technologists have been working on meaning for a long time. A recently approved Google patent shows that it has thought about employing a kind of categorization on the query and on the results to find the right ballpark.
Essentially – “Pages and query terms may be associated with specific categories based upon some relative strength of correlation to those categories. The strength of those association with categories might vary from one page to another, or from one query to another. ”
It is not known if Google is doing this today. The posting does tell us some of the techniques search engines do employ.
+ “return transactional sites in search results when someone’s query term might be written like “buy xxxxx”. ”
+ “returning informational pages when a query begins with a phrase such as “How to”. ”
+ recognize navigational searches to a site
+ recognize “situational intent” – query for pizza probably means you want to order on.
+ including synonyms (which Google does do) to not be so literal.