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The world’s number one search engine has acquired the information service, Metaweb, in an effort to further improve users search experience.  Google announced in its official blog on July 16, 2010 that it had made the choice to buy Metaweb in order to “improve search and make the web richer and more meaningful for everyone.”  What does this mean for searchers, and will it have an effect on SEO efforts?

Metaweb has a vast store of data on “things,” as they say – “information on over 11 million things, including movies, books, TV shows, celebrities, locations, companies and more.”  Site owners, developers, and bloggers can turn to Metaweb to aggregate specific information in order to provide relevant, targeted information to site visitors.  Joining forces with Google will allow the search engine to better analyze queries and provide more comprehensive results.  The results may also be narrowed down to a specific answer.  One might enter in the query, “When is Easter 2011?”  Google will provide a specific answer, “April 24,” that you do not have to search through sites for.  It is an especially convenient feature for quick searches.

Jack Menzel, Google’s director of product management, writes, “We can offer this kind of experience because we understand facts about real people and real events out in the world.  But what about [colleges on the west coast with tuition under $30,000] or [actors over 40 who have won at least one Oscar]? These are hard questions, and we’ve acquired Metaweb because we believe working together we’ll be able to provide better answers.”

SEO remains an essential component of any site’s operations, but it may look a little different.  Because Google is seeking to route out specific answers, long tail keywords will be much more beneficial.  This is not a new trend; SEO has been moving towards longer keyword phrases for some time.  Five-, six-, and seven-word keyword phrases are growing in popularity – and these will help provide the specificity for which Google is looking.

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