Since the arrival of Facebook and the explosion of social networking as an alternative search method, informed by family friends and work associates, Google has been constantly developing it’s algorithms to improve the relevancy of returned site pages. So too, the mobile and tablet revolution has pushed constantly evolving platform technologies into a new multichannel e-marketing environment.
Whereas, a site domain in the era of Web 1.0 was the sole focus for content, and Web 2.0 presided over the rise of social networked engagement, conversation and content linking, the dawning of the semantic Web 3.0 sees the shift from activity to a meaning-based understanding of web content driving integrated e-commerce forward to the next stage.
The recent announcement by Google of their plans to provide more relevant results by “incorporating semantic search technology” by which, the actual meaning of words is better understood, seeks to replace the basic mechanical links between web pages with the intrinsic relationships between relevant properties.
Algorithm updates from Google are always ongoing in achieving the ‘holy grail’ of providing search results that more accurately connect with required content. Actual meaning is identified in the context of semantic customer search, i.e. results based on implicit search meaning, as opposed to simply offering site page listings as a result of applied search engine optimisation.
Dependency on main keyword and secondary keyword density and repetition, which had to be applied to every page of a website has already significantly lessened. Spam sites containing poor quality, unreadable content created only for link traffic purposes are constantly under Google Panda monitoring.
By focusing on keyword placement, keyword proximity and latent semantic indexing (LSI), rather than the number of times a keyword is repeated, patterns are identified in the relationships between the terms and concepts contained in a text, and words are found, which are used in the same context and have similar meanings.
The vast accumulation of ‘verified structured data’ from across the various Google services aims to transform ‘search’ to ‘discovery’ in the bid to exactly match search queries. Thus, words which are used can be indexed according to how they can be used to obtain the meaning of the text in response to user queries.
Search results returned will be based upon the degree of conceptual similarity in meaning to the search criteria, even if the results do not actually share a specific word or number of words with the search criteria. The incorporation of semantic meaning into the Google algorithm enables a differentiation to be made between words and an understanding of actual word meanings.
Ultimately, site ranking will be determined more by relevant content and authoritative links as Google increase its ability to recognise the intrinsic value of information. The use of structured data or semantic mark-up is a key advantage to e-commerce sites, which are given more exposure by being more completely able to display rich snippets in search results.
The pervasive influence of social networks and human interaction on the internet is clear. The development of semantic meaning is a result of the way humans process and understand information, and Google seems intent to ‘blend’ new semantic search technology with its current search criteria.
Strengthening web presence requires a solid long term social content building of audiences across the multichannel using relevant content bound ever more tightly with bespoke web solutions and targeted keyword optimisation.