Google Entity Search – What Does it Mean for Your SEO?

Google entity search do androids dream of electric sheep

Do androids dream of electric sheep?

We’ve all experienced the frustration, when searching for something in Google, of not getting useful results. You then have to either search through pages of results or rethink your own query and search again. No search engine wants you to have to do that, so they react by trying harder to get your answer right first time. Entity search is the most recent development by Google to give you the most appropriate results by understanding the meaning of your search terms and what related attributes you may be looking for.

SEO training can help with understanding the implication of developments such as these for businesses and their SEO. A content marketing course can help you give Google the right understanding of the information and services your business can provide.

Since the Venice update in 2012, Google has been making assumptions about the individual needs of the searcher and tailoring results based on location, search history and social aspects such as the sort of searches Google+ connections have been publishing and reading.

For example, I want to find the website for a Brighton restaurant called Mange Tout so I type “mange tout” into Google. Without context, I’d have to read through pages and pages of results about vegetables, or rewrite my search as “mange tout restaurant Brighton”. Since the Venice update, Google will know I am in Brighton, and give me four of ten answers related to the restaurant.

entity search mange tout brighton screen shot

What Is Entity Search?

The recently announced entity developments take this further. Amit Singhal, Google’s head of search, took the rare step of announcing an algorithm update before it happens. He outlined Google’s developments of a “huge knowledge graph of interconnected entities and their attributes” along with “a huge, in-house understanding of what an entity is and a repository of what entities are in the world and what should you know about those entities”. They want their search engine to be the most intelligent – giving results not only on the words you use but the entity they form, its attributes and the relationships between that and other entities.

Google’s Knowledge Graph

Importantly for businesses, Google also changes the format of the results page based on what it thinks searchers want to know. Some searches may bring up image results, others a map, others lists of contact details. Not all of these are relevant for each search query – it makes assumptions as to what type of information you are looking for as well as giving you that information. As with Siri for Apple, Google is basically developing an artificial intelligence to respond to our searches based on taught assumptions of our meaning and expectations.

If you think Google is making the wrong assumptions about your business, your SEO practices will need to be updated to teach it who you are and what you do – to help the searchers find you. This is important for everyone from the biggest brands to smaller scale bloggers. Google results now show author information for content – so you need to make sure your content it is being cited as yours on the SERP.

Where are Google Going with this?

Singhal was emphatic in his explanation that the knowledge graph for entity search is in its early stages, and there’s a lot of discussion about whether we will ever end up with a search engine that behaves like a Star Trek computer – responding to any query with a semantically intelligent answer. As the technology is so open-ended, the most important thing for SEOs to be aware of is to make sure they keep up to date – or ahead – of such developments and adapt your strategies in SEO, social media and content marketing accordingly.

Is Google getting too clever?

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Aaron Charlie


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