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Semantic Search

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Semantic Search

  1. 1. Semantic Search Digital Doughnut 30th September 2014
  2. 2. Emily Hill: About Me • Set up Write My Site in 2006: www.writemysite.co.uk • A lot has changed … • … but some things have stayed the same @emilyhill1982 @writemysite uk.linkedin.com/in/emilyjanehill/ slideshare.net/EmilyHill1
  3. 3. A Brief History of Search
  4. 4. PageRank Google's rise to success was in large part due to a patented algorithm called PageRank that helps rank web pages that match a given search string. When Google was a Stanford research project, it was nicknamed BackRub because the technology checks backlinks to determine a site's importance.
  5. 5. Enter SEO Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website in a search engine's "natural" or un-paid search results.
  6. 6. But wait! Google and SEO were enemies!
  7. 7. But Why? Because for many years, the Google algorithm was easy to cheat – any rubbish website could position itself at the top of the search listings (a.k.a. “SERPs”) with cheap tricks, known as Black Hat SEO.
  8. 8. Black Hat SEO: Easy as 1,2,3 1. Basic website 2. Keyword stuffing 3. Backlink farming
  9. 9. Pretty Soon, the Internet Was a Mess
  10. 10. Operation Clean-Up
  11. 11. Panda: 2011 • Targeted sites with low quality and/or duplicate content • Up to 12% of search queries affected
  12. 12. Penguin: 2012 • Targeted sites engaging in link spam • Around 2.3% of search queries affected • Designed to build upon the work done by Panda, and list more high quality sites at the top of the SERPs
  13. 13. Hummingbird: 2013 • Heralded the age of semantic search • Analysed search queries as a collective whole rather than a string of individual words with the aim of understanding user intent
  14. 14. The Dawn of Semantic Search • Semantics: the study of meaning. • Google is trying to become more sophisticated. It wants to go beyond the words and phrases people use, to figure out what they mean. • We’ve got to do more than pepper our content with keywords.
  15. 15. Changing User Habits • 20% of all searches in 2012 were new (Wired) • Between November 2012-13, traffic to websites from an ‘organic search’ decreased by 5%, whilst traffic from ‘social referrals’ significantly increased by 111% (Shareaholic) • Today, 96% of consumers’ time online is spent on content sites (Wired)
  16. 16. Schema.org
  17. 17. 3 Elements of Semantic Search 1. Predictive search 2. Voice search 3. Image search
  18. 18. 1. Predictive Search
  19. 19. ConceptNet5
  20. 20. 2. Voice Search
  21. 21. 3. Image Search
  22. 22. Types of Content • Regular “Nice, long articles” • Interviews • Bread and butter web pages • Regular blogs/ news –preferably illustrated with unique images • Social media conversations* *Especially Google+
  23. 23. Rehashing: A Warning
  24. 24. Are You On the Knowledge Graph?
  25. 25. No More Games • Modern SEO is about providing users with answers to their queries. • It is no longer about returning a load of content which appears to match a keyword but may or may not make any sense in the context of what the user is really asking. • We can’t “play” Google – we have to co-operate with its goal.
  26. 26. “Make sure you make a great site, that users love, that they’ll want to tell their friends about, bookmark, come back to, visit over and over again; all the things that make a site compelling. If that’s your goal, we’re aligned with that goal, and therefore as long as you’re working hard for users we’re working hard to show your high quality content to users as well.” Matt Cutts, Head of Webspam, Google
  27. 27. Keywords Still Matter “Here’s the deal. Google can’t function without keywords … they’re simply the words people type in when they use search engines. It’s the language real people use when looking for stuff.” Brian Clark, Founder of Copyblogger
  28. 28. Clothing for Old People?
  29. 29. Semantic Search Checklist Learn the language of your customers Sort out the techie stuff Organise your on-site content Clean up your off-site content Get on Google+ Keep publishing nice, long articles! Build a clear, consistent online profile
  30. 30. Emily Hill, CEO, Write My Site Thanks for listening! @emilyhill1982 @writemysite uk.linkedin.com/in/emilyjanehill/ slideshare.net/EmilyHill1

Hinweis der Redaktion

  • Google began in March 1996 as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two PhD students at Stanford University. Google initially used Stanford’s domain name (google.stanford.edu) before registering google.com as a domain name in September 1998. It indexed 60 million sites in its first year.
  • Clearly, Google was huge. A whole new industry sprang up to meet the demands of organisations who wanted to position their website over and above their competitors’ sites in the search listings. That industry was called SEO: Search Engine Optimisation.
  • However – as much as companies loved SEO, Google despised it.
  • Last of these caused absolute chaos as the number of websites indexed by Google grew from millions to billions and beyond. Countless link farms, article ‘spinning’ services and sites sprang up to help people cheat the algorithm, which for a long time counted only the quantity of links and not the quality.
  • By the end of the ‘naughties’, Google decided to do something about the problem: 3 dramatic algorithm updates, all intended to wipe out manipulative SEO and clean up the Internet
  • Something interesting had started to happen – as the user experience changed, so too did user behaviour. People no longer
  • Whole technical side to semantic search that I’m not going to attempt to cover in this presentation. What I would advise you to do, however, is have a conversation with whoever is in charge of developing and maintaining your website. If they look at you with a blank expression when you talk about schema, XML sitemaps and canonical tags, you probably want to think about getting a new developer! Schema markup is especially important, as this is an initiative by all the major search engines – not just Google – to create and support a common set of schemas for structured data markup which helps the search engines decipher the intention behind your content. You need this markup to tell the search engines what your website is about and how it fits into their search results. Would definitely recommend a full technical audit – make sure there’s nothing in the way your site is structured that’s going to hold it back.
  • 3 elements of particular interest in terms of creating content.
  • Trick is to build content around what people are going to search next – this tool is handy for exploring semantic relationships between words. Can use it to think of new angles for content.
  • Keywords still exist, and probably always will, because Google can’t function without them.

    The underlying principle of a search engine is to collect the words people use when they search, and then deliver the information it thinks they’re looking for.
    Got to get away from this idea of identical matching of keywords and content. You can still build content around a core set of keywords, but it’s about using natural language. Write for the reader and the search engines will reward you.
  • Biggest fear is often that by not undertaking rigorous keyword research, the search engines won’t know to return your site for a relevant query. The point is that if you have a clear and consistent approach to your content strategy that is centred around the user, your keywords will appear naturally. Old-style keyword research was about pulling up a list of keywords relevant to your type of business; modern keyword research is about learning the language of your customers and positioning all of your content towards them.