Case Study:
Google’s understanding of the Software sector

March 2020

Executive Summary

Google uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) routines to convert its understanding of text into topics and concepts (Entities). We looked out how much understanding Google misses using this approach in the Software sector.

InLinks analyzed the page content of the top 10 Google results (in the US Market) ranking for the phrase Video Conferencing and compared the Named Entities recognized by Google’s NLP API with the proprietory routines designed by Inlinks to uncover gaps in Google’s machine learning in the Software sector

The results showed that 25.4% of entities seen on the results in the Software sector SERPS (search engine results pages) were positively identified by Google.

This compares to 19.1% average across all analyzed industry sectors.

How the Sector Compares

Different sectors tend to be analyzed with a different degree of accuracy by the search engines. This stems from two main challenges.

  1. the more demand there is by consumers within a given sector, the more the need for search engines to apply more sophisticated entity recognition to better answer user queries.
  2. the more sophisticated the industry is in creating search-friendly content, the more search engines can surface topics and concepts.


Software Industry Google Analysis InLinks Analysis
Avg. Number of words per page 2673
Avg. Number of Topics per page 17.3 68.1
Benchmark - Avg. nb of entities/page (all sectors) 9.5 48.3
Of which, Topic types are:    
- Persons 8 2
- Organizations 32 18
- Cities & geo. areas 47 46
- Concepts 64 334
Semantic Density   8.5

How the research was conducted

Google’s Search API returned URLs for the following sites competing for this phrase:

#en.wikipedia, #searchunifiedcommunications.techtarget, #g2, #investopedia, #lifesize, #owllabs, #pcmag, #techradar, #theverge, #zoom

The texts of each page are then sent to Google’s NLP API, in order to determine which entities are identified by the search engine. These are important for search since Google is then able to link these to its Knowledge Graph to feed its services including Google Discover, Google search, Voice Search and Google News. (Although, correct identification does not guarantee inclusion in these results)

Here is first of all the synthesis of the results returned by Google:

  • 64 concepts, including IOS (detected 3 times) Skype (3) GoToMeeting (2)
  • 46 geographical areas, including United States (3) United Kingdom (2) Vietnamese language (1)
  • 32 organizations, including Microsoft (4) Zoom Video Communications (4) Lifesize (2)
  • 8 persons, including G2 Crowd (1) Dutch language (1) Estonian language (1)
  • 2 events, including Zoom Video Communications (1) GoToMeeting (1)
  • 1 city, including Berlin (1)

Errors in Google’s Detection Rate

Here are some errors in the categorization of entities:

  • California categorized as a concept instead of a geographical area

Most important entities (provided by InLinks), compared to those identified by Google:

  • Meeting (seen 10 times) => NOT detected by Google
  • Internet (9) => NOT detected by Google
  • Business (9) => NOT detected by Google
  • Smartphone (8) => NOT detected by Google
  • Web conferencing (8) => NOT detected by Google
  • Room (8) => NOT detected by Google
  • Application software (8) => NOT detected by Google
  • Television (7) => NOT detected by Google
  • Employment (7) => NOT detected by Google
  • Sound recording and reproduction (6) => NOT detected by Google
  • Remote control (6) => NOT detected by Google
  • Software (6) => NOT detected by Google
  • Computer hardware (6) => NOT detected by Google
  • Computing platform (6) => NOT detected by Google
  • Solution (5) => NOT detected by Google

How can the Software Industry benefit from this report?

By understanding where Google is failing to recognize important concepts within the industry, there is an opportunity for companies in the sector to write clearer content that Google can better understand.

Another option is to explicitly state these concepts in Webpage schema for machine learning algorithms to take into account. This would require using and the "about" and mentions" properties for important concepts such as Internet, Application software, Remote control, Software, Computing platform.

Internal linking of topics to pages dedicated to each important topic will also help to reduce cannibalisation of content in Google’s understanding of context within your content.

In Summary

Google's understanding of the Software market, based on its NLP algorithms remains limited at 25.4% for this industry. Businesses either need to improve their schema or make their content more understandable by Google to improve their level of understanding.


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