SEO, Google, Word Sense Disambiguation And Relevancy

Tim Nash wrote a nice post about just how most (if not all) search engines can’t tell the difference between (for instance) Apple, Apple and Apple.

Of course, Google will try and use assistive techniques such as looking at other words on the page, or in text links pointing to the page, that might help it like Mac, Malus Domestica or The Beatles, but you can see from this paragraph, it’s easy to confuse the Googlebot through word sense disambiguation.

Here’s another observation;

Hobo is a SEO Company in Scotland. We’re on-site seo largely. We try and make sites better. We operate in Greenock. We don’t promise the earth. Passionate about seo.

30 words. Cut and paste the above into Google (or just go here). You’ll see, we have a 100% relevance with this search as all the words are on the page.

Now do the same search but add a letter to the search, or a word that is not on this page (or in links pointing to this page like this). Here I added one letter.

Yup – Google fails to return this page, even though it has thirty of the keywords, all lined up next to each other (surely) a possible relevant match that Google clearly fails to return. Can’t Google even work out this page is kind of relevant for that 31 word search with 30 of the words on the page? Apparently not, it seems.

These type of things can make you wonder, fantastic as it is, about a search engine’s limits. It’s just about words, numbers and letters after all. Its a bot with parameters.

And when you look at the sites it does actually return, even that’s quite interesting if you know what you’re looking at.

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