Have you noticed lately that when you Google something like “that film where a guy solves a mystery from his wheelchair” you automatically get back search results that answer your question, even if your query didn’t include specific details or keywords? That’s because Google has been busy implementing something that many SEO practitioners have been talking about for quite some time: predicting user intent.
The newest Google algorithm, Hummingbird, was the first incarnation of this feature. Without delving into a long, detailed description of Hummingbird, we can sum up the changes by saying that Google can now answer questions and predict user intent by becoming better at semantic search. Semantics is a branch of linguistics that concerns itself with the meanings of things within a language: the relationship between words and phrases, what we refer to as “context.” Semantic search seeks to improve accuracy and relevancy of results by understanding the searcher’s intent and the contextual meaning of the search words. [Read more…]