Whenever Google releases a new experiment in their Lab, it’s important to pay attention. Often times, the search engine shows its cards so to speak, revealing some of the thinking behind the company’s operations. For instance, the release of Buzz reaffirmed the search giant’s angst as they tried to enter the social networking jumble. Likewise, Personalized Search and the Wonder Wheel each added a new aspect of optimization for SEOs to consider. In early September, Google Scribe was added to the Experiments Lab, allowing another small glimpse inside the almighty algorithm.
Google Scribe: Why Would I Ever Use It?
First off, Google Scribe is different than Scribe SEO, the on-page plugin Ann articulately discussed earlier this week. Google Scribe is a text suggestion tool that uses information from your previous phrases to “guess” what you want to type next – like a Google Instant Search box for your blog. As Google states, “Scribe’s suggestions indicate correct or popular phrases to use.”
Did your ears just perk up? When G drops a line like “Correct or popular phrases”, it’s time to pay attention.
After only a few minutes playing with Scribe, you’ll realize that the Copywriting business is safe (for now). Type in “The” and Scribe spits out this bit of poetry:
BUT, the tool is still important from a content research perspective and on-page topic modeling.
Google Scribe won’t write your next blog post, but you will be able to find areas to amp up your keyword placement if you’re ever in the depths of writer’s block. Play around with your keywords to see where Google assumes your thoughts will take you.
On-Page Topic Modeling
When considering the recent Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) research conducted by SEOmoz, we start to see the real value of Google Scribe. (For a complete rundown of LDA and the relation to SEO tactics, check out some of the blog posts on SEOmoz.)
LDA studies three core on-page elements in terms of search engine evaluation: context, semantics and relevancy – not keyword density. This helps us grasp how bots and spiders can classify content that uses synonyms (like storage bin and container) or homonyms (like orange and orange). I do not possess nearly enough statistical prowess to dissect LDA further, but Google Scribe has helped me understand the concept from a strategic standpoint. Scribe offers a peek at the output search engines might use if they were writing your copy.
Links vs. Copy: A Shift in the Force?
The implications for on-page topic modeling are enormous. The constant barrage of spammy links have somewhat devalued the notion of “links cure all”. Perhaps LDA and on-page modeling will be the next push in search engine optimization. (I try to avoid speculative terms, but in the case of SEO, it’s important to think long term.)
Watch for Google Scribe to mature and sharpen as it moves towards non-Beta status. With each evolution we are sure to learn more about Google and our own copy.