Semantic Search | Google Algorithm | Updates 2012

Semantic search is used by all search engines to help categorize search results and display the most relevant and related information. However, the magnitude of its use will increase dramatically. Google announced that in the coming months it intends to integrate semantic search results into standard universal blended results. Blended universal results include shopping, flight times (beta because of anti trust issues), weather, movie times, images, videos, etc.

When Google releases its next semantic search update it will include answers to questions similar to Bing. These include data on people, places (buildings, towns, stadiums, parks, golf courses), companies, addresses, and other elements that have verifiable definitive number data.

What is semantic search?

  • Simplifying here is Fruition’s definition of semantic search: “Semantic search is disambiguating identical search terms and phrases that can have different meanings.”
What semantic search will do to your organic search traffic

If a large percentage of your organic search traffic is the result of searches for people (celebrities, business people, etc), places (buildings, towns), reviews, etc then you need to have your entire site marked-up with the proper microformating. Even then, you will see reduced search traffic because Google’s goal is to make it harder for searchers to find your site. Instead, Google wants to use your information and create more pages for advertising. It is not pretty but Google does not care about your business they care about creating more Adwords clicks. That is it. In the search marketing world Google tries to entice you to send new clients to their Adwords programs and then they offer to manage the client’s accounts for free. That is a good partnership, isn’t it! So again, do not think that Google is doing any of this to help the webmaster. Google simply needs to increase revenues.

SEO for Semantic Search

How does Google know what to categorize and display data for semantic search? Microformats! Microformating is the process of tagging or providing an attribute to a piece of data that Google retrieves when they crawl a website. They get this microdata and store it. When the data is stored it is called an entity. Common semantic search entities are people, addresses, job titles, companies, and email addresses. How do each of these semantic search microformats play out?

Semantic Search Results for People

Here is what the semantic search looks like when displayed on a webpage:

semantic search
Brad Anderson
President at FRUITION

201 Fillmore st
Denver, CO

Here is what the semantic search results look like to Google:

<img class="photo" src="" />
   <strong class="fn">Brad Anderson</strong>
   <span class="title">President</span> at <span class="org">FRUITION</span>
   <span class="adr">
      <span class="street-address">201 Fillmore st</span>
      <span class="locality">Denver</span>, <span class="region">CO</span>
      <span class="postal-code">80206</span>
Semantic Search SEO for Reviews

SEO Services Review

By Steven Hernandez, Senior Editor
at SEO Magazine

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Fruition is a great company that provides excellent SEO Services.
<div class="hreview">
   <span class="item">
      <strong class="item"><span class="fn">SEO Services</span> Review</strong>
   <span class="reviewer vcard">
      By <span class="fn">Steven Hernandez</span>, <span class="title">Senior Editor</span>
      at <span class="org">SEO Magazine</span>
   Rating: <span class="rating">5</span> out of 5.
   <span class="description">Fruition is a great company that provides excellent SEO Services.</span>

If you are talking about aggregate reviews.

Aggregate Review Example
semantic search

out of 10

based on 124 ratings.
65 user reviews.
  <div itemscope itemtype="">
    <span itemprop="itemreviewed">FRUITION</span>
    <img itemprop="photo" src="/wp-content/themes/fruition/images/fruition-seo-denver.png" />
    <span itemprop="rating" itemscope itemtype="">
      <span itemprop="average">10</span>
      out of <span itemprop="best">10</span>
    based on <span itemprop="votes">124</span> ratings.
    <span itemprop="count">65</span> user reviews.

Where do you find the complete micro format markups? At

More information on semantic search

Amir Efrati of the Wall Street Journal wrote a good article that quotes how many searches 9~20%) will be impacted when semantic search goes live on Google. View that article here: “With Semantic Search, Google Eyes Competitors”.

Brad Anderson

Brad Anderson is the founder and CEO of Fruition. Brad combined his passion for marketing, technology, innovation and data-based decision making into a successful national digital marketing agency when he created the Denver-based Fruition. Brad brings the unique perspective of an expert marketer, board member, agency owner and entrepreneur to his career and his thought-leadership writing.

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