Contextual search: What and How?

A couple of months back Google updated how searches and search history affect your search results trying to make it as convenient for you as possible. 

Suggestions will be made based on your most recent search/activity. 

Recommendations based on recent activity. Google declared earlier last year, “can determine that you’re looking to learn more about preparing and serving a turkey and we’ll provide you with a helpful suggestion at the top of your search results page to get you to what you were actually looking for.”

For example, if you search for the recipe for pie, and later search for apples, it will suggest recipes for apple pie too. 

It displays a blue text that says “suggested based on recent activity” 

So in addition to the usual results, you will also get additional results based on the most recent activity. 

Carousel searches: Though this is an older update, Google now is publicly talking about how it understands the language. They have developed a system to understand search intent and language and combine them to give us better results. 

Simply put if you search for apple pie and then mango pie, it will later also suggest results based on both apple and mango pies. 

People also ask: This again is not a new feature. But what is amazing about this is, earlier if you searched for “how to set a table” Google would have shown results only on that question and maybe a little extension of how to set an outdoor table. Now that you have apple pie and mango pie in your search, it will show results on how to set a table with pie in the “people also ask section”. 

Keyword vs contextual search

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3rdisearch says, “Contextual search is defined as a search technology that focuses on the context of the query as well as the intent of the user in order to fetch the most relevant set of results. It is different from the traditional keyword-based search technology that only focuses on keyword matching when fetching results.”

Traditionally keyword search has been the bulk of how illegal searches happen. There is certainly a place for it but until you add the power of context to it a user will really not have the best experience with just keywords. The results are going to be both over and under exclusive and the data is going to be false positives. Basically many things you don’t want with your searches. 

About the Author

My name’s Semil Shah, and I pride myself on being the last digital marketer that you’ll ever need. Having worked internationally across agile and disruptive teams from San Fransico to London, I can help you take what you are doing in digital to a whole next level.

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