Jon Mitchell recently looked into the implications of Google’s decision to start incorporating semantic search into its keyword search system. He writes, “This is bound to shake up the way today’s keyword-driven search engine optimization works. The essence of the SEO game is tailoring page titles, URLs, topic tags and body text to the words and phrases people use to search the Web. Google only has to match the keywords in the query to the keywords on the Web using a lexical database. That’s relatively easy, and it allows humans to game the system.”

Mitchell continues, “Semantic search would add much more intelligence on Google’s side of the transaction. The specific wording of the query won’t matter so much, because Google will be able to determine the intent behind it. It will determine the probabilities of various meanings of your words and phrases and decide on the fly what results make sense. The process that gets the user to her results will be much less subject to manipulation.”

He goes on, “This doesn’t just have implications for SEO, though. Much of Google’s existing business – its search ads – are based on keywords. But Google is in the process of shifting to new kinds of relevance signals across the board. The purpose of Google+ is to create a layer of people, places and things – and a network of their relationships – that is visible to Google search. In order to stay ahead of Facebook and Twitter’s interest graphs, Google wants to move toward those kinds of signals for ad relevance. Instead of showing you ads that just match the terms in your search, Google will have to match ads to your search based on your meaning, as well as your context, location, +1s, relationships and so on.”

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Image: Courtesy Google