Google still heading towards semantic search

Google, the world’s largest and well-known search engine, is soon to be undergoing yet more changes that will affect the way results will be organised in the SERPs. This may wreak havoc among the SEO community, because many of the webmasters have already been adjusting their websites to the recent updates that Google has released. On the other hand, this is something we have heard many times. Is everything really going to be turned on its head?

In fact, the answer is probably not. Google has made its intentions obvious for several years now, presenting more facts and direct answers relating to the search query that the user performs. More and more different features have been added to the main search page so users are presented with a plethora of different displays when they search for queries that Google has a lot to say about. This was marked some time ago by renaming“Web” search to “All”, which reflects the fact that images, videos, maps and other interesting snippets of information tend to be displayed above organic text-based listings.

This system is making the keyword-based algorithm gradually redundant and less useful. The direction that Google is heading towards is called “Semantic Search.” With old priorities like PageRank becoming almost entirely irrelevant, Semantic Search uses the science of language and context to “understand” (albeit in a clunky, robotic way) queries and produce relevant, intuitive search results. The aim is to get to the desired answer in as few steps as possible, improving user experience and securing Google’s massive market share for the future.

Rankbrain was a major step for Google’s “artificial intelligence” development plans when it was rolled out in 2015, focusing on less literal interpretations of queries and attempting to understand context to provide answers that are not directly related to the words in the question. Rankbrain was built with the intention of feeding it historical information in batches and monitoring the results to ensure accuracy, so it’s still one step away from actually learning dynamically without the help of human test subjects. However, Google’s intention is to delve ever deeper into the field of semantic search and we can only expect this to go further in the next few years.


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