As part of its search quality updates for June and July, Google reported that it has improved its ability to determine synonyms relevant to certain keywords included in content marketing campaigns. Scott Huffman, engineering director for Google, wrote that adjusting Googlebot to determine the meaning of words in a certain context will provide more relevant rankings for user searches.
As marketers adjust their SEO strategies, developing algorithms and ranking signals that reward those who focus on natural keyword use is important for Google. Part of the recent Penguin algorithm that Google launched called for content writers to ensure their articles or blog posts read naturally. Giving sites some credit for the use of relevant synonyms helps both Google and marketers ensure that content is crawled and represented accurately within search.
Similarly, a separate ranking signal that determines instances where synonyms should not be detected has been rolled out as well.
Recently, Google has introduced new services as part of Webmaster Tools that help marketers and their web developers improve the rich snippets used to describe websites on SERPs. The synonym concept will also be applied to snippets moving forward, so that Googlebot more accurately defines a site to searchers.
Within Webmaster Tools, Brafton reported that marketers can now view a Structured Data Dashboard to preview a site’s appearance and description on SERPs,based on the microdata gathered by Googlebot.