So Google has bought Metaweb (http://bit.ly/9Y0Vj7). What does that mean for SEO? The almost exclusive way in which Google works is by analysing the use of words. For SEO specialists this has meant spending considerable amounts of time working with words, keyphrases and longtail keyphrases.
But the problem with words is that there are so many different meanings for each one. For example, a web page with the word ‘golf’ in it could be talking about the game, or the car. It’s only by using yet more words that the context becomes apparent and the meaning clear, and then the SEO can begin.
But Metaweb has been doing things different, by using something called entities instead of words. An entity is a single person, place or object, and all of the different words or names for that entity are stored in a database.
So the entity for the ‘golf’ vehicle could have words such as ‘Golf’, ‘VW Golf’, ‘Volkswagen Golf’, ‘Golf hatchback’ and so on. By connecting a web document to an entity it means that people can find your content much more easily, regardless of what they’re searching for.
But with Google now buying Metaweb, and Freebase as well, it seems clear that they’re trying to move on from relying solely on words, and are trying to create a smarter way to search the web. Algorithms use words, but when plugged in to a massive database, those algorithms get smarter.
So in real terms, how is this likely to affect what we’re all doing in SEO at the moment? The answer is that, for the moment, not much at all. The first clue that things are changing will be that there will be more of those results appearing at the top of Google which contain answers to straightforward questions, such as ‘what is the square root of 289?’ (http://bit.ly/aJksiA). But I think that it will be very important to keep our collective ears to the ground and see just what impact the purchase is likely to have. Perhaps the future of SEO lies less with words, and more with connections?