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Sarah Theodorou
Search geekette & wannabe panto star
Search geekette & wannabe panto star
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As always, +Bill Slawski is talking sense, backing it up with facts and resources. 
Beginner SEO - You've Got Facts in My SERPs

I remember going to a conference a few years ago, and having someone ask me "what's new in search that people aren't talking much about" and answering "named entities" and how the search engines are using them to better understand search results. I'm not sure that was the answer he was expecting, and maybe I was a little early in thinking that named entities should be one of the basics of SEO - something that everyone in the field should know as much about as they could find out.

I was asked to be on an "SEO 101 basics" panel later that year at Pubcon, and we exchanged emails beforehand on what we all thought the basics were that year, and I submitted the idea of named entities and information extraction again, and was told that it was "too advanced" a topic. Frankly, I thought that page titles and meta descriptions had been SEO basics for too long.

The article that I've linked to from +Barbara Starr is a great primer on how facts have been invading search results lately, presented in an easily digestible form that shows Entities becoming part of the main stream of SEO finally. Maybe we can finally talk about how information extraction, use of schema markup and knowledge base information, and Google's willingness to experiment with showing more than just snippets within search results is becoming an essential part of SEO.

I sent Barbara a couple of links through Twitter last night about Google working on expanding SERPs with more facts over the past few years in different ways. One was from an experimental set of results discovered and displayed in 2006 -

Google Experiment: Extended Snippets, Thumbnails, Search Box

Another was when Google started showing extended snippets in search results in 2009, mentioned in a blog post written by  Ori Allon-

Two new improvements to Google results pages

I wrote a post early last year about the patent that described Ori Allon's  approach to query refinements that describes the semantic approach used that might be similar in a number of ways to his approach to expanded snippets -

How Google is Generating Query Refinements the Orion Way

Barbara tweeted back this morning that it might be a good idea to move the discussion from Twitter to Google+, so hopefully she will share a few of her thoughts here.

While her article cites the growing importance of using markup from places like on web pages, my thoughts are that approach might be limited, and that for semantic search to flourish, Google needs to take more advantage of structured data found on unstructured webpages. A couple of examples or descriptions of how Google is working to do this can be found in the following papers:

Web-Scale Extraction of Structured Data

WebTables: Exploring the Power of Tables on the Web

That second paper describes something the authors refer to as the "attribute correlation statistics database", where schemas are learned from data structured in things like tables on the Web.

The future of SEO seems pointed towards search engines better learning how to organize and display facts and concepts, and the effort is one that web masters and search engineers are working upon together from different angles.

The concepts of knowledge bases and knowledge panels, schema and rich snippets, expanded snippets and question-answering - these are the new basics of SEO, and ones that we need to understand and know about.

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A nice write up from +Michael Gray - it left me with a bad taste in my mouth and a feeling that Google needs to stop hiding theft behind the tag of "Paying tribute"

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Google just released two new features that might look small, but are actually pretty huge. First, with Google Apps you can now restrict posts so that it only goes to people within a company. This lets you set up a corporate social network like Yammer, Chatter, etc. We use this feature all the time and we have a vibrant Google+ community inside of Google too.

The second feature lets you add a video hangout as a direct link in Google Calendar. Google has offices all over the world, so we use this feature a ton as well. If you have a distributed company, you'll want to try this new feature.

Google as-a-company has some great tech, and these are a couple features we use every day that now any Google Apps company can use.

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Definitely made a little chuckle.

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Horrified that some guy, on a post where we get a lovely "heads up" tries to ask an almost off-topic question threatens legalities at our Matt..

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Need a bit of technical #seo  help surrounding de-indexing and 410 responses. It's all explained here; 

Quite glad I advanced cancelled my place at #SEObarcamp  yesterday after I spent the day sat with my Dad in hospital (he's gonna be fine!) instead of working! I hope someone else was able to go in my place. +Kevin Gibbons slides look pretty interesting and just what I needed to be looking at.
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