Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by Danny Goodwin on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, August 5, 2021).

Would this be considered contextual search optimization?

Bit of an odd question for you. 
Let`s say I`m trying to rank content for a query that`s basically an analogy – A is to B as C is to D. But the user doesn`t know what "C" is in this scenario. But "C" is covered in my content and should be considered relevant enough by Google to rank for this term as the definitive answer.
Would this be considered "contextual search optimization"? Or does this have another name/term?
Or is this not technically "contextual search" as we define it because that`s more based on the user/history/location/etc., vs the query in this scenario?
Thanks for any thoughts.
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Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.

  • Ammon Johns: I`d need at least a theoretical example to be absolutely sure what you meant, rather than the algebra without context.

  • Danny Goodwin: Ammon Johns random example:Meat is to vegans as garlic is to vampiresBut people didn`t know what the answer was "garlic".They would type "what" instead of "garlic" or leave it blank.What would be the name of this strategy? It`s kind of like entities, but also not. Kind of contextual but also not. Just wasn`t sure if this has a term for it? Not as much interested in the "if you can do it" part as much as what the heck you would call this if you`re trying to put a name on it.

  • Ammon Johns: Danny Goodwin I don`t think it would work, except where there was enough repetition to make an association, in which case, association optimization might be the best name... I guess?

  • Roger Montti: Sounds like an Informational Search. I sometimes search for analogies or similar words in order to find that one word that is in the back of my mind. I know the word but can`t pull it out of my mind-archive-database at the moment. So I do informational searches that sometimes are kind of weird.

  • Stockbridge Truslow: Google TRIES to get these kinds of things right - but it depends upon how well the knowledge graph in that niche is built out. It also depends upon how concrete the answer is. In my case (see screenie) it wasn`t sure because (female) baby cows and cows are called different things - and... well, it`s not something people talk about so much. But Google obviously can tell I`m talking about gender and cows here.

    The trick comes down into whether or not you can teach Google the connections. Writing in semantic triples helps a lot. Semantic Triples are talking in <entity> <relationship> <entity/attribute>. One we always try to establish hard and early is <company brand> makes/sells <entity that describes their product or service line>.

    Though it`s fairly recent (and rare) Google is now starting to rely on knowledge graph things to help rank a page. So, for example, if I have a sandwich submarine sandwich shop in a place where they are called "Hoagies" or "Heroes" or "Grinders" - someone in my area who calls a sandwich something else entirely will see my sandwich shop no matter which words they choose. With good structured data, content on the page that the NLP systems can make sense of, and a bit of luck - you can pretty much shape the knowledge graph to think and say whatever you want it to so - so long as there aren`t a bunch of people trying to make it say something else.

    It really depends upon how many other people are talking about the same things, how clear their signal is, and how far along in the process Google is in understanding the entities. For one client in particular... After several years of building entities for products and the equipment their products work on - Google has started to make some fairly amazing connections that are accurate, but that are also not something we`ve ever really said anywhere in any direct way.

    So... yeah... as Ammon says... would need to know the specific thing you`re going for to know if it`s something you can probably do with a few semantic triplets around the site or if you have to build a bunch of connected pages to get the process going.

    It CAN be done, but it won`t happen by accident.

  • Michael Martinez: "Or is this not technically `contextual search` as we define it because that`s more based on the user/history/location/etc., vs the query in this scenario?"

    The search context has nothing to do with what is on the pages that might be displayed in the search results - other than that they might be deemed relevant to the algorithmically deduced context.

    So what you`re proposing might, in a way, be deemed optimization for a contextual search, but it`s an indirect type of optimization. I`d say it`s too random to be a predictable strategy.

View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, August 5, 2021).

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