Author: Susie Culhane
Google’s shift in focus
For the past few years, Google has been updating its search algorithm and introducing new products in support of its aim to provide relevant, quality, ‘rich’ content in search results. We have seen the buy-out of YouTube; the launch of its own social network Google +; the growth of its Knowledge Graph database, along with numerous algorithm updates. These factors, amongst others, are evidence of Google’s shift in focus away from keywords, towards a deeper understanding of search intent and the context in which those searches are made. This understanding is gained in part from Google’s knowledge of a user’s personal search history and preferences, click behaviour, social connections, content shared, and so on. The latest update, Hummingbird, is Google’s attempt to educate the search algorithm so that the same typed search query and mobile voice activated search (the latter often location specific and in question form in contrast to a typed phrase) both receive the same relevant search results. The proliferation of secure search and subsequent disappearance of natural search keyword data in analytics, and the emphasis on content sharing in Google Plus are also evidence that Google is turning its back on keywords, and focusing on the importance of fresh content.