Paul Bruemmer of Search Engine Land recently wrote, "On September 26, Google took another step toward becoming that answer engine with its Hummingbird update. In Danny Sullivan‘s live blog about the Hummingbird algorithm, he explains how Google is rapidly adopting semantic Web technology while still retaining parts of its old algorithm. This is Google’s solution for evolving from text links to answers. Such a system will display more precise results faster, as it’s based on semantic technology focused on user intent rather than on search terms. To review Google’s progress in this direction: first came the Knowledge Graph, then Voice Search and Google Now — all providing answers, and sometimes even anticipating the questions. To serve these answers, Google relies on entities rather than keywords."
He continues, "For the purpose of this article, entities are people, places or things. One way of introducing entities is to recognize that Google’s Knowledge Graph is an entity graph and represents Google’s first step toward utilizing semantic search (or entity search)… Over the past two decades, the Internet, search engines, and Web users have had to deal with unstructured data, which is essentially any data that has not been organized or classified according to any sort of pre-defined data model. Thus, search engines were able to identify patterns within webpages (keywords) but were not really able to attach meaning to those pages."
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