Every time Google changes the algorithms of its search engine, it sends shivers down the spines of many who rely on that calculation to get a better placement on the search engine’s result page (SERP).
That is why Google is very careful and secretive when a change like that is coming. But Amit Singhal, the top Google Search executive, confirmed recently they are working on something big.
What they are trying to do, Amit said, is for the search to work more like we humans understand the world. By cross referencing millions of entities that Google has been collecting in the past few years, the new search engine algorithms will attempt to understand the context of the query and give direct answers instead of sending you to a website to find out by yourself.
For example: If you ask what the deepest 10 lakes in the US are? Today, you are getting results based on the keywords and a list of websites talking about lakes, but not the exact answer to your question. In the future the first thing that will appear is a direct answer to your query. You can see it already happening with the “best guess” results. Type in “who is the chancellor of Germany” and see what you get.
Another example: If you ask information about a place, Lake Eerie for instance. Today you get all the websites that have anything to do with the lake. In the future, first you will get all the information Google has collected about the lake: depth, location, altitude, average temp and so on.
A little more than a year ago Google purchased a start-up company called Metaweb Technologies. The company had an index of 12 million entities; movies, books, companies and celebrities. (For the sake of comparison, Wikipedia has 3.5 million English entries.) Amit Singhal said that since this acquisition they have expended the index to 200 million by developing “extraction algorithms” that can organize data in a semantic way from around the web.
What would it do to the listings on the first page if a large amount of information will appear first? A person who was briefed on Google’s change says it may impact directly the results of 10%-20% of the queries. There are billions of queries performed each day.
Google hopes that with the new search results, people will spend more time on their page and see more relevant ads, but it is still unclear how it would impact the ads which appear beside the search results.
People familiar with the project say the changes will appear in the next few months. Amit Singhal says it will be rolled out slowly and will be a year-long process.
@BasilPuglisi is the Executive Director and Publisher for Digital Brand Marketing Education (dbmei.com). Basil C. Puglisi is also the President of Puglisi Consulting Group, Inc. A Digital Brand Marketing Consultancy that manages professional and personal branding for Fortune 500 CEOs, Hedge Fund Managers and Small Business Owners.