Natural Language Search Engine Optimization

This is a tip for search engine optimizers of the future, a future in which Powerset, or a similar system, grabs a major piece of the search market. Powerset has language understanding capabilities well below those of a human. In particular it deals much better with sentences constructed in what might be referred to as some form of “Standard English”. This is not a peculiarity of Powerset. If you ever find a NL system that understands humans as well as they understand each other then you’ve found genuine AGI and you’ll be doing more interesting things with it than making search engines. I’m sure the guys at Powerset are thinking about ways to parse sentences that don’t quite match their grammar. Nevertheless, it will always remain true that natural language search engines do not read the web as well as humans do.

Given this tip, you can guess what search engine optimizers will do. If you want to increase your chances of being indexed right by Powerset, you’d better work out what grammar it likes best and conform to it. At last, prescriptive linguistics will find its true purpose. Imagine the written comment of a future English teacher, amid the red marks, “Incorrect grammar. Will not be well indexed”.

2 Responses to “Natural Language Search Engine Optimization”

  1. Gareth Says:

    Isn’t this more likely to prevent ‘natural language’ search engines from succeeding, rather than twisting the online world into a shape that conforms to their limited capabilities?

  2. Eureka Man Says:

    Sure, less understanding means NL search sometimes finds the wrong documents or doesn’t find the right documents. But you could say the same thing about Google search. The Powerset guys are trying raise the bar in human-like understanding. This post assumes a hypothetical world in which they succeed and attract lots of searchers to their site by being better at understanding documents and queries.