In a recent blog post, Bill Slawski, director of SEO research for Go Fish Digital, says “context” is the SEO buzzword of 2018. I couldn’t agree more.
While most online searches are based on keywords, search engines are moving onto better practices—algorithms—to present their users with more relevant content.
Consequently, search queries increasingly rely on context, not just keywords, to produce results.
For example, the word “python” describes a venomous snake as well as a famous programming language. As a remedy, Google has implemented a series of patents and algorithms in the last 20 years to capture the intent behind users’ queries.
What Context Vectors Are and Why They Matter
Context vectors are vector representations used to retract similar words. Google recently patented "context vectors" to index a database of content via knowledge bodies such as Wikipedia.
Google will be able to embed a wide variety of written language into vectors by getting a patented AI under its RankBrain algorithm, which will help make user searches more contextually relevant.
Google will also factor users’ other inputs to identify intent—whether the user is searching for “Python” or “python.”
How Vectors Provide Facts and Context
Under this patent, a search result might show additional relevant content from comparable searches. To get a better understanding of this feature, input “tallest building in America” into the search engine.
Google provides an answer but also shows how that structure compares to similar ones. This visual comparison makes the achievement relative to its competition and more accurately reflects the nature of the user's curiosity.
Predicting User Interests
Recently, Google refreshed its “people also searched for” feature. Google built this function on a content vector to provide a better experience in the same mode as the comparative building images.
Take a search for Lord Buddha’s birthplace as an example.
The answer appears in Google’s knowledge panel, a box that is located on the first search result page, powered by the Google knowledge graphs. But in addition to the answer, Google also displays what other people searched for in Nepal.
The results anticipate the user's desire to travel to Lord Buddha’s birthplace and displays useful links for planning such a trip.
A Timeline of Google’s Efforts to Fight Black Hat Practices
Black hat practices refer to aggressive SEO tactics that attempt to improve rankings by disregarding the audience and search engine guidelines. Google had been aware of these practices and webmasters’ tendencies to indulge in them. Like other search engines, Google has fought against these practices by updating its algorithm with new releases.
The Initial Clean-Up Using Panda: 2011
Panda enabled websites that posted legitimate and helpful content to gain authority. The algorithm also punished sites that either copied other sites' content or published low-quality content stuffed with keywords
Getting Stricter With Penguin: 2012
Moving Beyond Keywords With Hummingbird: 2013
But this change also affected how users found information online.
Optimizing User Research With Rankbrain: 2015
The Rise of AI and Voice Searches
The Future of SEO
About the Author
Sudhir is a marketing expert. He keeps up with industry trends and news, making it easy for him to report on relevant trends. When he is not spending time helping clients, you can find him hanging out with friends.