Semantic Search – David Amerland

Semantic Search

Google’s Semantic Search is the process of removing the uncertainty for search.

So as content creators we no longer need to try to find “keywords” that relate to a subject and hope potential customers use those keywords and find the content.  Today what we must do is ask, “What am I selling, what product to I provide – what am I promoting?”

Then ask,  “What does my product actually do, what problem does it solve, how does my information help people?”  Then write content that answers those questions, that actually helps people solve those problems, deliver value to the end users.

Keywords today are becoming merely signposts pointing us in a direction, giving clues as to what users are trying to learn.  The intent behind content should be to deliver valuable answers to the end -user.  Many, new to this concept, ask, “Why should I give my ideas, knowledge and experience away for free?”

The bottom line is that each specialist in a field immerses themselves in the topic and gains useful insight over time and experience.  Users, readers of content, will quickly find that “doing-it-themselves” is hard, and often turn to the specialist to do it for them.  The reality is that we all have a finite amount of time to accomplish what we need to and adding an additional learning curve is, much of the time, not worth it.

Further mitigations to keyword use include Voice Search on desktop which will further change the way users search as they begin to use more natural speech patterns to define the concepts they wish to know about and not the keywords they feel should be contained in the content.

Socializing Content

In the past we socialized content to get links, still using keywords so the bots would pick it up.  Now, and going forward our focus has to be on people.  Our social content must be geared to people because Google is looking at engagement between users and content as a signal now.


Google+ communities are a group of people that share views and interests, so writing within a community will receive engagement.  This in turn creates trust amongst people in the community (or not).  Those businesses that gain trust through personal engagement in turn gain traction which helps that business’s content to surface in search.  Google uses this “social traction” to test the Veracity of content, when taken in light of the Volume and Variety of other content written by the same author, on the same broad topic.  So Authorship comes into play here, even though Google is not using it as a signal par se, it groups together content placed all over the web by a single author.  So from this rises the concept of Authenticity.

What is new in SEO

Search has become fragmented into different elements, like mobile, YouTube, Google Now, and personalized search, to name a few.  SEO must take a more holistic approach. Search must work for the end user so SEO must become valuable to businesses who want to reach the end user.  It is about Veracity, content must become real and useful to end users.


Authenticity arises from the idea of Continued Veracity.  The idea that with enough people in social media under our control we can game the Google Algorithm to surface our content higher falls apart when the idea of: You can fool some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time.  The concept is that as your “gamed content” surfaces, other specialists will become aware of it and send negative signals toward that content, in a natural way, and Google will see that and react by either submerging the content itself or discounting the signals sent by the gamers.

So being authentic in your content is important.  One can build reputation continuously and loose it in one fell swoop by doing something stupid.

Google continuously builds a profile signature of who you are by the content and social interactions that you have.  Google understands your signature and if you behave in such a way that is out of character for that signature, it will raise red flags.  Google also sees your signature in light of other signatures of profiles similar to yours and can get a sense when you are “going off the reservation.”

All that being said another aspect of being authentic is also being real.  If you talk only about a specific topic, you are not letting people know who you are, and thus it is harder for them to trust you or connect to you.  I personally post glamour photography because I like it, and I believe it is an art form.  I connect with some people who share these views and I connect with people who just like pictures of pretty women.  I also share posts from BoldRide, and automobile lovers site.  I again think car design is an art form and appreciate it very much.  I connect with people who like racing, and people who love engines, neither of which I am particularly interested in, I just love the look and design of cars but others can appreciate aspects of my posts even if I do not.  In this way I am letting people know who I am.  +David Amerland refers to Star Trek technology and other aspects of Star Trek in his posts, so I understand he has enjoyed Star Trek in the past, as have I and we can relate in our postings to each other in this way.  This is building relationship.

Building Audience

Thank you +Martin Shervington for these numbers.  The reality is it doesn’t matter if you have 1,000 or 1,000,000 followers, the people you end up interacting with is about 50-150 continuously and an additional 50-150 on the periphery.  So content should be geared to that 150 followers, who will share with their 150 followers each.  The important point here is that your content will be relevant to those people.

Posting Across the Web

Even though Google can see social signals from all across the web, Google+ is completely transparent to it.  So if you post on Google+, Google receives a clear strong signal and ranks the content accordingly.  If the same post were to show up in another social platform, Google is seeing the signals through a fog and some ambiguity enters into the signal strength and Google will rank the signal at a discount.  “Come in Rangoon, Come in Rangoon, can you hear me!”

Putting it All Together

So you make a video that contains some great content and you want to surface it in search through socializing it.  How do you socialize it?

You need to know who your target audience is.

You need to know who they really are, what interests them, what they want to know, how they like to engage, where and when they engage.

One way for small entrepreneurs to do this is to build relationships on Google+, see who is interested and engages you on a regular basis.

When those people, you have cultivated relationships with, engage with your content, because they have this relationship with you, the content surfaces in anonymous Google search, but also, in personalized search for your engagers and people who engage with them.  You never know who someone knows!  A great example of this is again my interaction with +David Amerland, who one day shared a post from +Sergey Andrianov, which I found particularly interesting.  For those of you who don’t know David lives in England and I live in Canada.  So Sergey and I interact a bit and we find out that we live within 1km of each other.  So if Sergey were to search for some graphic designers, odds are that my content would surface to the top of his personalized search and in his 2300 followers. Amazing!

Another aspect of this is that we have had engagement and conversation, so when it comes time for one of the people that I engage with to purchase my products, at the very least, they will seek my advice, to make sure their brother-in-law, is giving them a good deal, and this gives me opportunity to sell them on my services that I would not of otherwise had.  So when brother-in-law messes up the first project, they come to me to fix it, finish it, or just start on a whole new project.  This is real life for me, it really does happen this way, more often than you think.  When it comes to website design/development + graphic design, everybody knows somebody and most of those somebodys really don’t know what they are doing.

Google states that 65% of all purchases begin with search.  So it follows that what surfaces in that search will have a great impact on the final purchase.

I will end with a quote from David, “Be Real”

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