The Future is Search

The Future is Search.

Preparing for the future requires knowing what it will be. The future for every organization, profit or nonprofit, B2B or B2C, will be to be found online when someone is searching for what you offer.

In 2015, the number of Internet users worldwide topped 3.17 billion*. To find what they were looking for, the majority used Google Search over all other search options. There’s a reason why you don’t “Bing a topic,” or why even though Yahoo came first on the scene it was swiftly eclipsed by the Google juggernaut. Google works.

Google works because it is always improving. By continually updating their algorithms, Google continues to update its relevance. We study Google in order to best serve our website clients. The speed of Google is mind numbing. Therefore, for us to even attempt to keep up with all of Google’s changes, we need to know what the end game is. What is Google’s goal?

Ultimately Google’s goal is to give the user what they want – Reality. By making sure the right websites come up first in organic search results, Google accomplishes it’s goal of Reality. How Google accomplishes this will continue to change, but the goal of Reality will stay the same.

We have seen Google mature. Not long ago, Google ranked a website’s relevancy on how long the website existed and whether the URL name was synonymous with what the website said it offered. Although that is still important today, it is dramatically less so.

Later Google considered the prominent and repeated use of key terms and phrases in the website’s code to determine a website’s authority. This quickly led to the black hat practice of keyword - stuffing. (Now banned.)

Realizing there were problems, Google matured to use “popularity” as a measure of value and ranking. This, of course, failed at the larger task because popularity is not necessarily reality and popularity, like keyword stuffing, could be manipulated.

Google recently concentrated on the number of back-links a website had. Back links are connections (incoming links) made to a website from another website or online source. Having more of them was better. Google used the number of incoming links as a proxy for quality. Thus pages that many other sites linked to were ranked higher in search. This system has brought us the search engine we know today, but there are still problems. Websites that are full of misinformation can rise up in the rankings if enough people link to them. In addition, unscrupulous companies began to sell bogus “back links” to clients wanting to pay for a quick fix. Eventually, as with all other manipulations of Google’s intentions, this practice will no doubt get you banned from the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP)s.

We can go on to talk about the algorithm changes… but the point is to know what Google’s Ultimate Goal is – REFLECT REALITY.

Knowing that goal makes it completely unsurprising to me that Google is now rumored to be building a storage room for all of humanity’s collective truths. Yeah. It’s called the Google Knowledge Vault. With it, Google will be able to rank websites based on facts not just links or keywords. The team at Google will then be able to measure the trustworthiness of a page rather than its reputation across the web. Instead of counting incoming links, the system – which is not yet live – will count the number of “incorrect facts” within a page**. A source that has the fewest false facts will be considered trustworthy. The score that will be computed for each web page will be called a “Knowledge-Based Trust Score”.

Google’s software will work by tapping into the Google Knowledge Vault. This so called vault will be the vast store of facts that Google has pulled from the Internet. These facts will be information that the web unanimously agrees on as reasonable proxy for truth.

So what does all this mean? It means that every website needs to concentrate on representing itself properly and clearly and factually. Rich, relevant content will become extremely valuable and truth will be judged ruthlessly.

Got to love Google.

The future is search. And the future of search will be REALITY.

Susan Schauer John

Head Honcho, SpiderWeb Connections®. SpiderWeb Connections is a full service Internet Marketing Firm specializing in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Call for a free consultation: 443-595-SPIN (7746) or email: info@spiderwebconnections.com.

*Statista.com
**arxiv.org/abs/1502.03519v1