The Personalised Localised Socialised Semantic Web

By Paul Morris

I was reading an article on the FT yesterday about Tim Berners-Lee.

It reminded me of what a dude he is. What the article also did was make me think more broadly about the Semantic web. How can Google further develop its algorithm (I pick on Google as they are the best Search Engine and I want to use them as the yardstick to measure against)?

What I ended up surmising was Google’s biggest opportunity was to step up its multi multi million pound investment in improving the SERPS by tweaking its Personalised Localised Socialised Semantic algo.

If you’re on this blog you should understand what these 4 key words mean to SEM however I just want to ponder on the later.

In the words of Tim Berners-Lee on his vision for the Semantic Web:

“I have a dream for the Web [in which computers] become capable of analyzing all the data on the Web – the content, links, and transactions between people and computers. A ‘Semantic Web’, which should make this possible, has yet to emerge, but when it does, the day-to-day mechanisms of trade, bureaucracy and our daily lives will be handled by machines talking to machines. The ‘intelligent agents’ people have touted for ages will finally materialize.”

I still think Google has a way to go on the Semantics of its algorithm (I was however impressed with Google’s recent development in this area) by tying Semantics more in with Local SEO, Social Search (as Bing is sort of not leading on) and Personalisation (including areas such as mobile universal Search and mobile physical Search apps).

I will now give you 5 examples of Searches I conducted to test my ‘Does Google need to improve its Personalised Localised Socialised Semantic Search algorithm?’ question:

Note: In a Quality Score styley I have scored each Search out of 10.

Google Search: ‘The Vernon arms’ Score: 9/10. Nice results by localising the SERPS, providing reviews, address and phone information, map, etc. Google could not even have fed in Facebook, Google+, Twitter, etc for my search as the establishment in question does not have them (I will give Google the benefit of the doubt that they would have brought in Socialised content however in my heart of hearts I know this would not have been the case).

Google Search: ‘Erd’ Score: 7/10. Google is struggling with this one as could I mean the city, entity relationship modelling or the European Report on Development? However Google knows where I live (not only did I tailor my address in the SERPS – left hand side ‘change location’ field – but I also tied my laptop and mobile searches together by syncing Google Chrome) and with better Semantic Localised targeting it should be thinking ‘this person is searching repeatedly from Poynton and they are twinned with Erd hence let’s call up more information on Erd the city and facts about the twinning of the two cities’. Could we also not have more facts about Erd directly in the SERPS e.g. location, population, weather, etc?

Google Search: ‘Swimming pool opening times’ Score: 6/10. Google is trying to localise by using Google Places and a map image in the SERPS on the right. My problem here is that government bodies are always going to spend less optimising Google Places and so to rely on them is not going to give the best results. Google Places are also 1/3 of the way down the page and the top 3 results are for pools that are in Bristol, Nottingham and Corby which is poor. Html5 in the SERPS showing reviews, opening times, etc would be good alongside Socialised content (Facebook, Twitter and god forbid Google+) for local pools such as the Manchester Aquatics Centre.

Google Search: ‘Why has my local post box turned gold’ Score: 6/10. The results do provide an overarching answer to the question however in no way is the answer localised or personalised. It’s giving me specific answers to places like Bucks and Wales and broad answers from the BBC and the Daily Mail rather than from papers such as the Macclesfield Express. Google knows I’m in Poynton hence why not use Universal Search more effectively and provide images of Sarah and Barney Storey and links to the videos of their winning performances?

Google Search: ‘Things to do near me’ Score: 6/10. Whilst Google is providing links to sites that I can in turn interrogate I was hoping for more. Bearing in mind Google is moving more towards a web without websites (slight tongue in cheek however if you read my post you will get the intent) I was expecting more HTML 5 partnered with localisation and semantics that shows specific sorting criteria on things to do in Poynton/ North West and a way of splicing the data in the SERPS e.g. a breakdown per town or per activity (outdoors, museums, etc) and from a personalisation perspective it must have an inkling from my search history that I have a family hence why not elevate family days out recommendations whilst allowing me to splice character subset in case it guessed incorrectly.

So, in summary, I’m genuinely not trying to nitpick for the sake of it. I just think that if Google continues to focus on what it’s great at then Google will continue to serve companies and consumers (2 of the 3 parts of its holy trinity quality score algorithm) and the cash will continue to roll in to support amazing ventures such as (along will less so amazing ventures e.g. Answers, Wave, Buzz, etc).