How does semantic search work? Which are the implications regarding SEO tactics and users/customers’ behaviors?
Google search is not unlike the “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” where the question asked, reveals (in the fairy tale) the Evil Queen’s narcissistic obsession
, what a great metaphor to explain how semantic search works! (see Google Search and the Racial Bias).
I will take the assist from David Amerland to help me to better understand how the SEO world (something still unknown from me) as well as remembering childhood times with the fair tale “Snow White and the seven dwarfs“.
So, let’s have a look at the characters of the famous fairy-tale:
The mirror is the result of the search engine. According to what I’ve understood about semantic search, the mirror reflects back a result that is contextualize accordingly to the user and his/her relationships among the social networks as well as thorough the analysis of past behaviours.
Snow White is the most beautiful creature in the WEB forest. She publishes smart content as well as she establishes such trusted relationships in the social medias so that the mirror (the semantic search engine) reflects back a beautiful princess… accordingly to the algorithm I would say.
The evil queen is the bad guy, attempting to be viewed as the most beautiful in the WEB forest while it is not. The evil queen struggles and suffers a lot for that, since the mirror suggest always Snow White as the best result… the life in the digital jungle is not so easy for the evil queen!
The poisoned apple represents a trick, a negative SEO attack where the objective either is to game the search engine (the mirror) or to compromise the reputation of Snow White. Fake reviews, negative or positive SEO tactics, are just an example of how an apple could be poisoned in order to kill digitally a competitor and game the search engine algorithm (see the case of Tripdavisor).
The seven dwarfs are data scientists and SEO experts that are mining the WEB forest in order to get some valuable and reliable information from the WEB. Usually they are well-intentioned and thus willing to protect the beauty of Snow White from negative SEO (the poisoned apple and the evil princess).
The charming Prince represents all the users, companies and individuals, that go deeper and deeper into the WEB forest in order to discover the truth. Mirror’s result apart: Who is really the fairest in the WEB forest?Encountering few smart dwarf might be useful for the charming Prince, both in the forest to discover the beauty of Snow White and in the WEB to find out great contents and reputations accordingly to personal impressions rather than only relying on algorithms.
…so, which is the moral of the fairy-tail “Snow White and the seven dwarfs” applied to the modern semantic search and SEO?
An interesting point has been pointed out by D. Amerland in his article “How semantic search is changing end-user behaviour“. In particular:
The fact remains that the web is changing, search has changed and the way we operate as individuals, as well as marketers, has changed with it.
Since the semantic search is so powerful to influence the behaviour of the end-user (individuals, companies,…), the point is: what kind of algorithm there is behind the mirror on the wall? Which are the criteria behind the result that identify the fairest princess in the WEB?
More interesting doubt: what happen if the criteria behind the search algorithm (the mirror) change so that the fairest in the WEB would be Grumpy, one of the seven dwarfs? Would all the end-user and SEO really want to become and behave like Grumpy?