If you’re looking for clues about what the future of the internet holds, just make a search on Google. When you input the right terms, you’ll see a rich amount of information even before you explore individual websites. A query for a local restaurant, for instance, might bring up a map, hours, an address and a partial menu in the Knowledge Graph. The reason all this data is attached to specific search terms is because of Google’s efforts to construct the semantic web – starting with its newest algorithm, Hummingbird.
Optimizing search for concepts
The semantic web is Google’s idea for how to move beyond a keyword-based internet. Instead of taking the actual text users search for and trying to match it to relevant content that uses the same phrases, algorithms try to decide which concepts or ideas best match search terms. This is done through content crawls and social media monitoring, and it’s important to internalize for web marketing strategies.
As in the case of local restaurants, reviews, location information, social posts and other published web data have combined to help Google come up with a concept – or entity – that fits with certain search terms. Judging by Microsoft and Google’s latest joint venture, the ability to locate an entity will soon get a lot more specific.
The more information about businesses there is available for search engines to produce the concept of an entity or idea, the more easily searchers will find their web presences.
Compete for (concept) recognition
This summer, Google and Microsoft are co-sponsoring a workshop content at Australia’s ACM SIGIR conference. Entitled The Entity Recognition and Disambiguation Challenge, it will offer a cash prize to the team that writes the best program capable of analyzing a page of text and outputting the entities it is written about.
Why is this such a big deal? One reason is it involves rivals Microsoft and Google working together. Given that they are each developing semantic algorithms for their own search engines, anything they do together could be seen as an mutual step in the same direction.
Second, it demonstrates there is still movement to be made toward a better semantic search engine. This is crucial for marketers to understand, because it gets to the heart of where content marketing is going. Companies need to think of themselves in terms of brands that exist across online platforms. The more information about businesses there is available to Google (or Bing) to produce the concept of an entity or idea, the more easily searchers will find their web presences.