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Killing keywords

Is Google’s quest for smarter searching a good thing for content creators and marketers?

It seems Google is at it again. Just a couple of months after changing its search algorithm to enable users to ‘personalise’ their search (which critics like Twitter have argued unfairly promote Google+) comes the news that the search engine to rule them all is retooling its search machine ‘to go beyond recognising words in queries and begin understanding what it is people are asking for’.

According to Google fellow Amit Singhal, ‘right now our understanding is pretty darn limited… Ask us for the 10 deepest lakes in the US and we’ll give you decent results based on those keywords, but not necessarily because we understand what depth is or what a lake is.’

AFP reports that ‘Google is tapping into the virtual brain of a Freebase database of knowledge regarding what things are and how they relate to one another’ in a quest to evolve ‘semantic’ search capabilities rather than the traditional – and still current – method of the search engine recognising keywords and delivering links to websites that contain them.

‘Our vision for this knowledge graph [the Freebase database] is as a tool to aid the creation of more knowledge – an endless cycle of creativity and insight,’ says Singhal.

What it means for content marketers

It sounds like a laudable aim, but what will it mean for content creators – and, for that matter, content marketers?

As we know, SEO keywords are a currently a vital component in ensuring content is found. With semantic search, though, their importance is going to be greatly reduced – to the point of ultimately becoming irrelevant.

For creative types who dislike having to work certain words and phrases into their lovingly crafted copy, this may be a blessing. For others, though, it is likely to entail a new approach to content creation and content marketing.

The trick will be to create quality content that users want to find. In a way it represents a return to ‘old school’ marketing and underlines the importance of knowing your target audience and ensuring that you offer what they are looking for, rather than simply including a few keywords and hoping they find you.

Online content marketing is about to change. The question is: are you ready?

 

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