David Amerland
Google's Assistant Thinks Horses Have Six Legs

Semantic Search Explained in a Nutshell

I started this morning with a worry that advances in artificial intelligence are so fast they are leapfrogging our ability to factor in ethics, which means the Terminator future of our nightmares may just be around the corner.

Then I asked Google’s powerful AI assistant “How many legs does a horse have?” and its answer totally put my fears to rest.

Now, laugh all you want first, but let’s see what this moment of AI stupidity actually tells us about search which we can use in marketing.

First, however, it’s important to note that the Wikipedia page the answer came from is one Wikipedia uses to make its point about the verifiability of facts.

Wikipedia is, indeed, a highly credible source. Google uses it without fact-checking it. In so doing it accepts it as the primary feed for information and because of its high degree of verifiability carries no further check. And, in this case, it clearly should have.

It demonstrates, if nothing else, the difficulty of the fourth of the 4Vs in search which affects validation.

Marketing And Credibility

What this shows however is the importance of establishing your website, brand or company as a highly credible source of information. If you truly want Google to rate highly what you put on the web and present it above similar information you may want to adopt the Verifiability approach of Wikipedia.

So:

  1. Create content that has semantic density (check to see how the Wikipedia page actually goes into quite a lot of exhaustive depth about the number of legs on a horse).
  2. Back all your assertions with information (and links where necessary).
  3. Have a logical structure to the content you create.
  4. Have a clear internal linking strategy.
  5. Use syntax that is easy to index.

These five points create a recipe for intrinsic value in a web page which makes it easier to share in the social web as well as link to from other pages. Social web activity and links are signals which Google does use to determine the authoritativeness of a page and these you can control through the structure of the page and its content.

Get smart: SEO Help: 20 Semantic Search Steps that Will Help Your Business Grow is a practical step-by-step guide to applying semantic search principles to your business.

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