Way back in the day, Google ranked websites based primarily on the keywords found on the actual page. If you stuffed a bunch of keywords on the page, you’d end up at the top of the search results.
Google evolved. They began using links as their primary ranking factor. A link was a “vote” and the more votes you got, the better ranking you’d see.
Today, Google uses over 200 “signals” in their search engine ranking algorithm. That includes links, social sharing, keywords, content and much more. But, where is Google heading? What does the future look like for Google search?
According to Amit Singhal, a Google Fellow and lead on Google Search, they’re heading deep into the world of entities. What’s an entity, you ask? An entity is simply a single thing or concept that exists in the world, according to the Freebase website.
Google acquired MetaWeb in 2010 and Freebase was a MetaWeb project. MetaWeb created a system of indexing named entities to make it easier to identify, connect and search for references about that named entity.
Google wants to take that system even further and use entities to create search results that can identify context to give you better search results. In essence, they are creating a huge knowledge graph of interconnected entities and the attributes associated with those entities.
If you look at Google Plus, you can already start to see the development of this system from a social perspective. Different entities, people or businesses, can add different entities to their circles. Google can see how all of these entities are connecting, what’s being shared and who is sharing what.
The more information Google gathers, the easier it will be for them to create a search product that can respond intelligently to queries based on their knowledge of those entities.
It’s very likely that an entity based system will build on the current link graph model. Links are still an effective way of determining authority, influence or popularity. But, an entity based system will require a deeper understanding of the framework of the entities so you can fit within that framework, if appropriate.
It’s not too early to start looking at your business and how you can use this new system to stay on top. Understand your market, your community and the similarities that Google might use to provide information.
Focus on context and connecting and you’ll be on the right track.