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Entity Associations (Increasingly) Affect Query Returns


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#1 iamlost

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 12:26 AM

I was just going to drop Miriam (aka SEOigloo) a pm in reply to her article Google Places Thinks Jack In The Box Is A Vegan Restaurant?, 06-February-2012, but then decided that if she was unaware then many others may be as well. And so another Cre8 thread is born. :)
Note: I like her format, what I call a query piece, which is rarely used (well) but is a context twist that can engage readers. I do think the title deserves a question mark though, which is why I added it in the anchor text. :)

While entity association has long stood on it's own SEs, especially Google, have been ramping it up as part of their social-personal results integration.

Out of curiosity, I did a quick search for ‘jack in the box vegan’ and lo and behold, there are websites out there telling you how to eat vegan items at this chain.

This illustrates what I mean: those sites connected the brand entity with the diet entity and Google made note.

And yes, you probably are quite correct that that town is not a resounding vegan haven. :)

When Google has a paucity of information for a specific category of businesses in a specific town, should they just throw other things into the SERPs, even if they aren’t well related? For example, in a town with 2 dentists, should the 3rd result be a chiropractor, just to fill up an extra spot?

Two points leading one to the other:
1. when a SE has a paucity of information (initial results for query) they may expand their parameters by some formula to some new boundary and try again. This is pretty well standard.

2. it is unlikely that (but not impossible) that your example result would return. However, what is likely is (1) expanding geo-parameter boundary to include dentists from outside that town, i.e. from surrounding town(s), (2) expanding the occupation-parameter boundary to include dental hygienist, orthodontists, denturists, etc., or (3) both.
Note: in '2' above I have mixed more than a SE might for the purposes of illustration. Nary a chiropractor nor proctologist in sight however. :D

A general afterthought:
Anyone chasing considering terms (keywords, keyphrases) without considering their intertwining entity associations is so very last decade.

Edited by iamlost, 07 February 2012 - 12:29 AM.


#2 glyn

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 09:01 AM

could it just be that someone is cooking the algo with some hardcore optimization? :rolleyes:

#3 iamlost

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 10:12 AM

That is always a possibility, glyn. But I did take a quick look for such and if it's there I missed it.

#4 SEOigloo

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 06:31 PM

Greetings Iamlost!
How kind you are to take notice of my blog post. Yes, my example of the chiropractor was kind of silly. I was just picking something random out of the air (kind of like the fast food chain/vegan restaurant correlation or lack thereof). What you are describing here is important:

2. it is unlikely that (but not impossible) that your example result would return. However, what is likely is (1) expanding geo-parameter boundary to include dentists from outside that town, i.e. from surrounding town(s), (2) expanding the occupation-parameter boundary to include dental hygienist, orthodontists, denturists, etc., or (3) both.

This does happen. It's an observable phenomenon. However, with the recent rise in the incidence of 3 packs as opposed to the older, more thorough local results, this may have just become less of a factor. I'm torn about how I feel about the newer, briefer result sets. In some ways, I really like that business websites are gaining in authority as a result of the change for many searches, but on the other hand, users have probably just gotten used to seeing lots of local results for their queries. Now, they are seeing only three. Will they miss the 'more' link or assume that a town they are visiting only has 3 pizza restaurants, 3 doctors, etc.

That's a little off-topic, but yes, your discussion of entity associations is absolutely applicable to local - in some very weird ways!



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