Google is really smart, amazingly smart. The algorithm is very close to reading texts like human-beings. At the same time, parts of Google’s algorithm aren’t smart at all. Computers aren’t that good at understanding ‘what is what’ on a page. If you have a recipe site, you’ll need to tell Google what an ingredient is, what the preparation time is and what a photo of your recipe is. Otherwise, Google will not understand that properly. Quite the contradiction: amazingly smart on the one hand, pretty dumb at the other! In this post, I’ll dive a bit deeper into this and give you some practical tips on how to use Google’s excellence and flaws to your advantage.
Amazingly smart in understanding text
Google reads texts. And overall, the algorithm of Google is trying to mimic a human. We’ve known for a while that Google reads texts. And we know that Google is getting better and better in parsing text and matching keywords and search queries with results.
In the early days, Google could only understand the basics of language. It could recognize words. That’s why it was a common SEO practice to focus on mentioning your keywords over and over in a text. The Panda update was one of the first indications that Google was getting better and better at understanding texts. The Hummingbird update and the recent BERT update make it even more clear that Google is amazingly smart in understanding text and the meaning of different words.
The consequence of Google getting better at understanding language is that the demands for web texts get higher. You cannot get away with a text that is poorly written or over-optimized for a certain term. In order to have a chance in the search engines, your text should be original, easy to read and findable.
Incredibly dumb in understanding structure
Google and its algorithm really need help in order to correctly understand ‘what is what’ on websites. Knowing what is most important and what is of less importance. Understanding what a heading is, what an image is, what things mean on a page: Google needs metadata to understand all that. That’s basically what Schema does. It’s a way of helping Google grasp the meaning of your page by using structured data. Structured data can be seen as pieces of code that you add to your site that let search engines know the meaning of your content.
Google knows about the weak spots of computers. Computers need much more metadata, much more help in understanding structure than human beings do. That’s why Google is really investing in Schema. The parts in which computers and search engines are flawed are actively being improved by tools like Schema.
The consequence of Google improving upon its flawed understanding of context and structure is that site owners need to use Schema. They need to up their game in that respect as well. You cannot really compete in the search engines anymore without implementing Schema the right way on your website.
3 practical tips to help with your ranking
Knowing what parts of Google’s algorithm are really smart and which parts of the algorithm require a bit of attention, could really pay off to your advantage. If you make sure to write awesome content and to help Google with a correct Schema-implementation, you’re really increasing your chances to rank in the search engines.
1. Schema and Schema Blocks
Structured data gives search engines more insights into how your pages are built and how you describe your content. And, if you implement your Schema correctly, you could end up with these really awesome rich results.