Emerging Search Engine Technology
by Bob Gilmour
The advancing technologies in Search Engines algorithms, although perhaps not obvious to the casual web surfer have SEO Professionals again taking notice.
Search Engines have come a long way since the dark ages when we would stuff a keyword into a web page 200 times and wake up the next day with a #1 rank. The job of a search engine is to display a list of websites in order of relevance to the search query, and they do an outstanding job with this. They take umbrage when people work to manipulate these results in such a manner that websites are displayed not in order of relevance but rather by dint of an outsider who has figured out how to artificially manipulate the results.
New Search Engine technology is important for the web surfer who is looking for information. It insures that informative websites are indexed and listed in order of relevance for a key word giving you the best chance to click on exactly what you are looking for quickly. However, this new technology is important to the Search Engine Professional as well. It allows us to build and publish websites that provide a good experience to our client’s potential customers while at the same achieving internet marketing goals.
Latent Semantic Indexing
Although a search engine’s algorithms are continually adjusted, there have been 5 major updates to ranking methods that forced the SEO industry to radically change its methods. The next latest, greatest breakthrough is known as latent semantic indexing (LSI). This is a pretty complicated concept, but in short, Latent Semantic Indexing tasks the algorithm with translating a document into a concept instead of just seeing a website as a gaggle of words and phrases.
To illustrate how this works, it’s probably easier to show, rather than try to explain:
Go to Google and enter the key phrase Automobile. You will see results based on that keyword. Notice that Google even goes to the trouble of highlighting the keyword automobile for you in the descriptive text below the title.
Now let’s perform another search and allow Google to fully show off its latent semantic indexing:
Return to Google and enter ~Automobile with the tilde.
Again note the highlighted words. Instead of Automobile a thousand times, Toyota, Honda, Vehicle, Auto, and other related key phrases are highlighted showing that Google has recognized the importance of the websites, not based on one key word, but rather based on the concept of the website! This technology will now require SEO professionals to build websites with rich, informative, relevant content in order to be ranked well, achieving their goal of providing only the most relevant results. Brilliant!
Latent Semantic Indexing tasks the algorithm with translating a document into a concept instead of just a series of words and phrases. Certainly Google is now using LSI to some degree in their mission to supply the most relevant results (how much weight it is given will become more clear over time).
After servicing hundreds of clients over 15 years I have embraced the myriad algorithm changes that have been developed. With each major algorithm change, there’s a thinning of the ranks that takes place in my industry. Those SEO Professionals that have developed a business plan strong on building long-term relationships with entrepreneurs and managers are left standing. Those who fail to research, learn and adjust their methods go the way of the dinosaur.
For any questions regarding latent semantic indexing, or to receive a free website evaluation and consultation, contact Web Solutions of America.