Does Google use semantics

social media agencies seattleMost folks that are schooled in information retrieval (like my virtual buddy @thegypsy) already know that latent semantic indexing (LSI) is little more than a pipe dream at this point. However, there are still a lot of SEO folks out there that are convinced that LSI is a major factor and spend an inordinate amount of time trying to somehow optimize their sites accordingly.

I’m no information retrieval expert, but I do recognize anecdotal proof when I see it (at least I think I do). Here’s what I’m referring to specifically…

While browsing through my Google Analytics profile for this blog I happened upon a fairly odd keyword referral:

“social media agencies seattle”

It seemed odd that a blog that is not based in Seattle and rarely makes any mention of Seattle would rank well enough to generate a visitor referral for this term. However, when I took a quick look at the SERPs for this term I noticed that my recent blog post relating to a conversation I had with a “social media denier” while attending SMS Advanced (a conference that was hosted in Seattle) held the No. 5 position in the organic results set.

Note: I logged out of my Google account to counter an ranking effects that personalization might have had on the SERPs (though that might not completely eliminate personalization). Also, I found it interesting that this search referral came from a user based in Seattle, Washington (confirmed via Google Analytics data).

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