Ruth Cheesley - Joomla! World Conference 2013 - What are you trying to say (and how can you say it better)


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Search is changing, focusing more on the meaning behind words and resources. Content around the web is connected to other content, people, resources and so forth - connectivity is key to understanding the world in which we live. This talk explores the developments in semantic and predictive search, and explains how this is relevant to businesses.

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  • Good afternoon
    Ruth Cheesley – Virya Technologies
    Changes in the way search engines are working, and how this affects the way in which you put across your business message
  • Search has evolved massively in the past 15 years – more information is being indexed, we expect to have information at our fingertips
    The way that we search has evolved over the years
    Mobile device use has exploded
    Searching using natural language rather than keywords
  • Search is becoming more about understanding and interpreting the meaning of content and how it links to other 'stuff'
    Let's take this word, for example. When you see this word, what does it mean to you?
    The contextual meaning is based on your conditions – your experience of the world. If you ever wondered why Google rolled out personalised search – maybe you can now get a glimpse of its relevance and importance. It's less about big brother, and more about understanding you, so that it can serve you more relevant and useful information
  • Google is introducing this across all its products. Take image search, for example. When I search for mandarin, it shows this semantic carousel with images chunked into the 'meanings' it knows are commonly associated with the word you searched for. It prioritises the ones it thinks are the closest match to what you're looking for.
    It also uses synonyms to suggest other words which are probably related, based on how often the words co-occur and how confident it is that you might also be interested in that word – for example here you can see it also suggests 'language' – probably a lot of people who search for mandarin are interested in languages.
  • This doesn't only apply to things – it also applies to people. If I search for Guy Kawasaki, it also suggests other people I might be interested in – people who are in some way linked to Guy Kawasaki which the search engine thinks has a high probability of being relevant and of interest to me.
  • The best way to think about these developments in semantic search is like a search light that picks up all the different data nodes of the Web and follows them around,
    creating a picture of how they link together, who they belong to, who created them, what else that person created, who they are, who they were and what they do
  • The best way to think about these developments in semantic search is like a search light that picks up all the different data nodes of the Web and follows them around,
    creating a picture of how they link together, who they belong to, who created them, what else that person created, who they are, who they were and what they do
  • The word 'semantic' is a greek word which means 'meaning' – the field of semantics is involved in the study of the meanings of words.
    In the web, semantic search marks the switch from 'dumb' search of single websites to an intelligent search which delivers real answers, or leads us to the answer we were looking for even if we didn't ask the right question. How cool is that!
  • So, let's expand on that a bit. Rewind back say 15 years, I was writing an assignment for school and I needed to know how many people lived in a town.
    I would have to get the bus timetable out, find out when the next bus was, get the money for the fare, walk from the bus stop in town to the library, be nice to the librarian to find where I could get the most up to date figures, find the index, find the book on the shelves, find the page in the book, get the right paragraph, and hurrah, there is the answer. Wouldn't it be great if I could just find the answer without all of that faffing about!
  • Wow. So google has 261,000,000 results which answer the question I asked – and it's sifted those results to find the authoritative answer I was looking for and displayed it in a way that helps answer the question and others which might follow on – how has it changed over time, what are the populations of other nearby cities, what geographical area are we considering. And just to show off it tells me it did that in 0.66 seconds. Mildly impressive!
  • So now, let's rewind say 10 years. I need to know the weather forecast for tomorrow so that I am properly equipped – do I need an umbrella, or sunglasses?
    10 years ago, I would have to catch the morning news (n ot a chance!) or the morning paper (even less of a chance) – or perhaps the radio. Failing that, I'd have to put my head out the window and make an educated guess!
  • I asked the question in natural language – what is the weather going to be like in Boston tomorrrow. Wow – it aggregated 9,630,000 results, interpreted the meaning of my question, and served me the information in a visually helpful way from authoritative sources. But wait – I did this search back home, in the UK – oops, it's got the wrong Boston! Check out the search I did here in the USA – now that's clever!
  • Continuing from the Star Trek keynote theme yesterday for those who saw it, when the Captain of the Enterprise asks the computer for answers, he does so in natural language and the computer has the information available – but also sometimes tells the Captain some information that he probably needs, based on what he has asked, but hasn't explicitly asked for.
    Search is moving away from you having to explicitly ask for information, and moving towards it understanding your needs and requirements and providing you that information before you ask for it.
    Why do you think Google brought out Android, Google Glass, Google Maps, Google +? It's all about understanding where you are, what you are doing, what your interests are, who you are connected with, what your interactions are with them.
    Information is power. With all the information Google knows about you, it can pretty accurately work out when you ask a question, what kind of information you are expecting back. It can also make assumptions based on information it knows – for example, when I landed in Boston, the GPS on my phone and tablet updated my location on Google+ to be in the USA – and it knows I'm travelling away from home.
    When I fire up ,my tablet, check out the information Google has provided me, knowing that I'm travelling aboard
  • So, first it tells me about my friends' birthdays and the weather at my location – neat. But then it gets interesting. Some of these cards only show when you're in a different country to your home location.
    Photo spots nearby, local tourist attractions, currency conversions – I wish sometimes it had an american to british translation!
    Places I might be interested in based on the time of day and what my friends are interested in or have recommended – when I took this screenshot it was in the evening, it showed me bars and clubs – but this morning it showed me starbucks and other cafes serving breakfast.
  • So, now I'm in another city, and I need to find somewhere to eat.
    I could go on Google Now's suggestions, but there are also other places I might look.
    Anyone use Foursquare for example? Another example of a location-aware system which looks at what people in my network do, recommend and visit.
  • So this shows me places nearby that have been visited by, and/or recommended by, people in my network. Also it shows places which have specials, and only places which are currently open.
  • Let's take that a tep further though. Perhaps I want to meet up with people over the pond – after all I don't travel over here that often.
    Google+ allows you to enable location-based services and then when you click on the locations tab in your app on your mobile device, it shows you who in your network is physically nearby.
  • The image being used is the Google+ avatar – so I can see people I recognise and interact with already.
    And also that there is at least one person in the same location – so let's drill in and see who that is
  • Clicking on their avatar showed me their name – and I could see them in the crowd downstairs here at JWC. Clever stuff huh!
  • Let's look at how this might work for the hotel I'm staying in at the moment.
    It would be great from their perspective as a hotel, to be able to have customers see room rates and book hotel rooms direct from search – no middle man, no commissions, just find and book rooms.
    Now that's possible, alongside the ability for people to read reviews and write reviews about the hotel. It's also possible for them to reach out and communicate with their customers
  • I searched for hotels in boston – check out the semantic carousel. This is featuring hotels with a Google local page. It shows me photos, reviews and so forth which normally I'd have to find in expedia or – within search. Pre-informed visitors.
    Also check out the sponsored links – prices for hotel rooms and the ability to book direct from this page, before even visiting the hotel website.
  • This is done with Google+ pages, and with the use of microdata on the website which allows you to provide contextual information about the content on your page, only visible to search engines.
  • If you provide location-based services, Google Local is an absolute must for you. This helps you to communicate with your local audience – so it allows you to get your message out to the people nearby who are looking for you.
  • Here's an example of the microdata in use on the Marriot Cambridge Boston's website and you can see it in action on the search listings. Some of the info is taken from the provided microdata, and it's then cross-referenced against the information in the Google+ Local page.
    The most 'accurate' information is used to serve the 'answers' to my question of 'where is the boston cambridge marriott hotel'
  • Semantic data isn't only about websites – it can also be used in emails.
    For example, you can use a call to action within your email to prompt somebody to RSVP, or to check in, for example.
    How many of us send out an email which requires some kind of action?
    This makes me question, will we even need websites in 10 years' time? Or will it all be web-service based interacting with systems we already use?
  • So I think you can appreciate from the slides we've just seen, things are changing in search. These changes make it more important for you to get your head around what your business is about – what you do, how you do it, what sets you apart from others.
    It's also important to consider how your people within the business are positioned. Search is becoming less about faceless nameless webpages, and more about who is behind that information, what they know, and how they are connected. It's much harder to game the system, but means that you get truly authoritative information from sources that you can trust. Our aim is to become one of those sources.
  • What do you do? What is your USP?
    How can your website represent this?
    How do you communicate your USP in ways that customers can hear?]
    What key information do your customers need – what questions can you answer?
  • Do you communicate what you do well?
    Are your resources linked to other good-quality resources?
    Do you contribute on other good quality resources? Do you share useful information in your social circles?
    Are you REALLY an authority?
  • Develop and cultivate strong links which are relevant to your story, your USP, and your strengths
    People are as important as your company brand – develop them, encourage them, be proud of them.
    Make sure you have authorship set up everywhere on the web, and publisher markup on your company real estate.
  • Irrelevant links are considered as 'bad' links – context of links is now critical.
    We need to optimise the connectivity between things – not the things themselves.
    Keyword optimisation now becomes topical optimisation
    SEO Copywriting now becomes GOOD copywriting!
  • Holistic vision
  • Ruth Cheesley - Joomla! World Conference 2013 - What are you trying to say (and how can you say it better)

    1. 1. What are you trying to say (and how can you say it better) Ruth Cheesley – Virya Technologies Autor: 18.10.12 @RCheesley –
    2. 2. Search isn't just about websites
    3. 3. MANDARIN Search is about understanding meaning
    4. 4. Semantic Search Carousel
    5. 5. Semantic Search Carousel
    6. 6. Connecting the strands in the web
    7. 7. What are you connected to?
    8. 8. Intelligent search?
    9. 9. Wouldn't it be great if could ask a question and get an immediate, authoritative and trusted answer Autor: 18.10.12 @RCheesley –
    10. 10. Google has the answer ...
    11. 11. Wouldn't it be great if I could find out whether I need an umbrella tomorrow Autor: 18.10.12 @RCheesley –
    12. 12. Location-based queries
    13. 13. Wouldn't it be great to have the information I might need before I realise I need it Autor: 18.10.12 @RCheesley –
    14. 14. Local weather (using my home settings for metric/imperial) Nearby tourist attractions Photo spots near to my location Public transport information for my closest stations Currency conversion (and language translation if appropriate) Places I might be interested in (this was in the evening – bar/restaurant suggested) Google Now - predictive search
    15. 15. Wouldn't it be great to know places my friends have visited and recommended in the city I am visiting Autor: 18.10.12 @RCheesley –
    16. 16. What do your friends recommend?
    17. 17. Wouldn't it be great to know who in my network is nearby when I'm travelling Autor: 18.10.12 @RCheesley –
    18. 18. Where are your contacts?
    19. 19. Who in your network is nearby?
    20. 20. Wouldn't it be great if customers could book rooms in my hotel, get directions and write reviews from within the search results Autor: 18.10.12 @RCheesley –
    21. 21. Providing relevant calls to action
    22. 22. Wouldn't it be great if customers could book rooms in my hotel, get directions and write reviews from within the search results Autor: 18.10.12 @RCheesley –
    23. 23. Providing relevant calls to action
    24. 24. How did they do that?
    25. 25. Google Local
    26. 26. Microdata in action
    27. 27. “Go-to” and “In-App” actions
    28. 28. What does this mean for my business? Autor: 18.10.12 @RCheesley –
    29. 29. What are you trying to say?
    30. 30. How can you communicate your story?
    31. 31. Authority .. that old chestnut!
    32. 32. Context of links is important
    33. 33. Have a clear audience in mind
    34. 34. Stand out from the crowd
    35. 35. Autor: 18.10.12 @RCheesley –