Friday, May 4, 2012

Without Your Knowledge How Google Can Transform Your Search into Multiple Related Searches

Google’s search tools are always evolving. If you want to stay ahead of the game and high in the rankings for your target keywords, then you will need to keep up with developments. The only alternative is to employ the services of a search engine optimisation company to achieve the same goals. Last year, Google applied to patent a new approach to searching which could break down individual searches into multiple related searchessimultaneously, without alerting the user. Here is a look at the implications of this for site owners and typical users.

It is best to start with an example. If you were looking for some new garden furniture and you wanted something affordable made of plastic, you might reasonably enter ‘garden furniture plastic’ into Google or any other search engine and anticipate that a search for each of the three keywords would be performed across the index of sites. What might actually occur is that the search engine will first search for sites containing the term ‘garden furniture’ and then perform a second search from within this narrower grouping to look for ‘plastic’. This would understandably result in a different set of ranked sites than if a single search had been carried out. And more importantly, you would have little way of knowing which method had been used.

This matter is further complicated by Google’s plans to offer users a further search option from within the top 10 ranked sites if they simply enter ‘garden furniture’. It will add a secondary bar which actively encourages them to search for related pages which more closely match their required type of item. This method would directly indicate that a two-tiered search is being used to find related pages from within a smaller sample of sites, although the average user may still not be aware of this even if site owners and those working for a search engine optimisation company have caught wind of the changes.

The real issue here is that by compartmentalising the search to a greater degree and focusing on looking for related pages within a more limited sample, could Google and its peers end up reducing the number of users who look at the second page of results? There is not currently anypublicly available data on this point, but it is not difficult to conceive of a world in which the top ten sites become even more dominant as a consequence of a change in Google’s search methods and interface.

In essence, the sites which rank highly for the more competitive terms, whether that is ‘garden furniture’ or ‘London hotels’, will become more prominent, while smaller, more specialist sites are relegated. If you are targeting users looking for ‘garden furniture rustic’, then you could be eliminated from the equation if a search engine first scans for the top ‘garden furniture’ sites and then looks within the group for the term ‘rustic’.

The long-term impact of this change has yet to be felt. Indeed, the fast-moving world of search engines means that small alterations may be implemented and then retracted before anyone has been able to truly measure their impact. Perhaps the best lesson to take from this is that learning about the complex nature of SEO will give you a great advantage in a highly competitive marketplace.

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