SEO & Problem Words, Disambiguation, and Diversity

Google’s search engine algorithm has difficulty disseminating certain words, because of disambiguation, where a word could mean different things in different contexts. Such as when someone types in boxers, it could mean a breed of dog, underwear or fighters, so how does the search engine know how to deal with these cases? How do we get our content to appear in the correct context and intent?
Google generally would try to offer diverse results, a listing that brings up the various options if the user’s search string is ambiguous, but the problem is this affects the ranking of your listing, because of the diversity in listing. It may in fact elevate your ranking..

Introducing a bit of variety allows Google to also provide a satisfactory answer to those who are looking for something different from the government pages. Google’s testing has shown that this diversity-based approach has resulted in a higher level of satisfaction among its users. For example, the testing data for the nondiversified results may have shown lower click-through rates in the SERPs, greater numbers of query refinements, and even a high percentage of related searches performed subsequently. When Google wants to get really serious about disambiguation, it goes a different route. Check out the results for a search on application in

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The idea of deliberately introducing diversity into the result algorithm makes sense, and it can enhance searcher satisfaction for queries such as: Company names (where searchers might want to get positive and negative press, as well as official company domains) Product searches (where ecommerce-style results might ordinarily fill up the SERPs, but Google tries to provide some reviews and noncommercial, relevant content) News and political searches (where it might be prudent to display “all sides” of an issue, rather than just the left- or right-wing blogs that did the best job of obtaining links)

Results are also personalised based on search history patterns of behaviour, so if a user has a history of searching Manchester United, it will elevate searches on football related stuff above other more ambiguous terms, and where freshness matters more, it makes sense to deliver results that are time-relevant.

Google refers to this concept as query deserves freshness (QDF). According to the New York Times ( ), QDF takes several factors into account, such as: Search volume News coverage Blog coverage Social signals from Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and other sites Toolbar data (maybe) QDF applies to up-to-the-minute news coverage, as well as to other scenarios such as hot, new discount deals or new product releases that get strong search volumes and media coverage.

QDF factors in hotness based on whether the news site or blog post is actively writing about a topic that is a trending topic, such as if a natural disaster has occurred, or some very popular current affair has happened, and the way Google does this is through examining it’s own stream of billions of search queries. This is Google’s way of offering a more sophisticated set of results, putting headlines at the top of the page for some queries, and putting them in the middle or bottom for others.

This is a paraphrased extract from the book The Art of SEO.

[box type=”bio”]

Concise: [rating=3]

Level: [rating=4]

Prior Knowledge: Not a technical book, and no prior assumed knowledge. Easy to read for anyone, from marketers to tech guys.

My rating :[rating=4.0]


AuthorEric Enge, Stephan Spencer, Jessie Stricchiola, Rand Fishkin
TitleThe Art of SEO
Publisher: O’Reilly Media

Year: March 2012

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