So What is Semantic Search Technology, Anyway?
So glad you asked. To put it simply, semantic search technology will enable more exacting returns from your online searches. The key is the search engine’s “ability” to identify the contextual meaning of the search words or phrases used. Wikipedia put it like this:
“Semantic search seeks to improve search accuracy by understanding searcher intent and the contextual meaning of terms as they appear in the searchable dataspace, whether on the Web or within a closed system, to generate more relevant results.”
To give you a simple example: current technology has little ability to distinguish what the searcher wants when he uses the word Jaguar. Were you looking for the car or the cat? The search returns will include data on both subjects.
This of course means more chaff to hunt through to find exactly what you wanted in the first place. The first returns include 325 million hits and most of it is, of course, about Jaguar cars. Good luck if you are looking for the cat!
So Why Should I Care About Semantic Whatchamacallit?
Obviously, if the semantic search engines better understand what it is you are looking for, the information it returns will be in less volume and more reflective of what you are looking for. What may not be readily apparent; however, is that semantic search may not necessarily be confined to textual searches. A semantic search may eventually be able to search photos and videos, even identifying you in that drunk-fest last week. Who took that picture anyway? Now I have your attention!
Take a look at this video below. While its a little hard to understand, what they are telling us is that the technology to search videos and photos for information on people and places and then return that as search, results is coming. My guess is the ability will be employed by Google first.
So Semantic Search is Here and the World is Changed Forever?
Um, well, no. This is technology in the making. It has been around for years, in part, but it is not fully implemented. It is rumored that Google will be launching it..soon. But its not proprietary technology so others will be using their take on semantic search as well. Check-out this video below:
So, regardless of the implementation, its best to interpret this new technology as an add-on rather than some wholesale change to Google’s search technology. Keywords and long tail keywords will still be an integral part of Google’s search algorithm but semantic search will provide more contextually accurate information returned to the searcher.
If you’d like a few more sources on the subject, take a look at the links below: