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"Any clue as to the possible role greater reliance on semantics is playing in your never ending quest for more relevant results?"
I'd say that's inevitable over time. The goal of a good search engine should be both to understand what a document is really about, and to understand (from a very short query) what a user really wants. And then match those things as well as possible. :) Better semantic understanding helps with both those prerequisites and makes the matching easier.
So a good example is stemming. Stemming is basically SEO-neutral, because spammers can create doorway pages with word variants almost as easily as they can to optimize for a single phrase (maybe it's a bit harder to fake realistic doorways now, come to think of it). But webmasters who never think about search engines don't bother to include word variants--they just write whatever natural text they would normally write. Stemming allows us to pull in more good documents that are near-matches. The example I like is [cert advisory]. We can give more weight to www.cert.org/advisories/ because the page has both "advisory" and "advisories" on the page, and "advisories" in the url. Standard stemming isn't necessarily a win for quality, so we took a while and found a way to do it better.
So yes, I think semantics and document/query understanding will be more important in the future. pavlin, I hope that partly answers the second of the two questions that you posted way up near the start of this thread. If not, please ask it again in case I didn't understand it correctly the first time. :)
If none of you have noticed doing a keyword like
Google will pull out words like Rent Rantal Rentals Hire etc
Now this is the best thing Google can now find the web sites that didn't optimize for Hire but its still relevent to Rentals do you follow me...
I for one love it and its the best way forward, the over optimisation filter may or may not exsist but if you optimize for all the keywords then maybe its too much and your site could been as like a doorway page.
I am not going to give any more away other wise i won't make the pennies or cents i need.
if semantic is going to play a bigger role then one can just hope that the new guys in zurich are part of a team that will tackle some of the other languages then english, as i think google lacks document/query understanding in german (compared to english) for example.
[edited by: viggen at 7:55 pm (utc) on Feb. 15, 2004]
It's the second one. People post around here about filters, blocking, penalties, etc. etc. A far better explanation is "things which used to work before don't receive the same amount of credit now." It's natural for people who are way out there with their linking strategies or their page-building strategies to think of a drop as an over-optimization penalty, but it's more realistic to conclude that Google is weighting criteria differently so that over-optimized sites just aren't doing as well now.
Today it shows 6 listing out of 100.
[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 8:42 pm (utc) on Feb. 15, 2004]
[edit reason] no specific searches per the tos - please. [/edit]
Okay, now I really am off for a walk--gotta counteract all that time spent in front of a monitor. :)
it's more realistic to conclude that Google is weighting criteria differently so that over-optimized sites just aren't doing as well now
Well, that settles that. Thanks GG.
I think your answer here will save a lot of webmasters a lot of time and point everyone in the right direction.
Instead of trying to figure out why our web sites were penalized we can focus on how best to present our web sites now.
If Google is indeed seeking to rank web sites based on LSI (CIRCA Technology and Applied Semantics) and traditional PR value along with themes that can be applied site-wide and not just for 1 particular page, Google will be lightyears ahead of the competition.
The trick is in finding the right mix which will satisfy the public's need for relevant results without having to plow thru tons of spam on the way. Therefore, depending on how Google applies its ALGO and weighs semantics/themes to traditional methods of providing SERPs it seems like individual pages could only be relevant to a search if the total site were in harmony with the individual pages.