As futuristic as it might sound, Google is getting increasingly better at understanding the meaning behind the queries and questions entered by users. It is then using this interpretation to better match them with a web pages’ content when performing a search.
This means that to achieve best ranking for your website, you need to provide Google or other search engines with enough meaningful data that can answer your specific search goals.
What is Semantic Search?
A semantic search is a data searching technique that uses the information you provide to improve the accuracy of a search by better understanding the context and intent behind the query. Since semantic search is starting to overtake the usual keyword based search, it is becoming a requirement to optimize your page’s semantic content to achieve a better ranking.
Semantic searches do not simply look at a question or query as a string of separate keywords and then provides links to those websites that have best matches for those words. A semantic search makes the search engine identify the true meaning behind the search phrase and then provide results based on the interpreted meaning. To do this, search engines use synonyms, concept matching, and natural language algorithms.
Search engine bots, sometimes called Spiders or Crawlers, are constantly evolving and getting better at reading what we write.
Semantic Content and SEO
The importance of semantic search has been growing over time, making it one of the most important ranking factors for SEO. It will only increase in importance and value as voice search grows.
This means that to achieve optimal SEO ranking, it is no longer enough to focus solely on keywords. You need to apply strategies that will set up your content to take advantage of a semantic search.
While there are several strategies to ensure the best semantic search results, creating proper context is at the top of the list. Proper context will make it easier for semantic search engines to both recognize your page and prioritize it over other pages.
A simple way of doing this is creating clear, relevant content that can be easily understood and located by visitors. This will also make it easier for search engines to do the same giving you a better ranking.
Optimizing Keywords for Semantic Search
Even though keywords are gradually losing their search engine dominance, they are still a very important factor and need to be included. Keywords need to be carefully researched and drawn from several sources to ensure as many relevant keywords for your product are covered.
In addition to keywords, you need to add a list of synonyms and companion words to accompany them. By having a broad base of keywords and synonyms, as well as companion words that give additional meaning to your keywords, it will make it easier for search engines to understand the subject matter of your website and determine where to rank it.
Writing content that your visitors understand is easy but making it understandable to search engines can be a little trickier. Luckily, there is an easy solution for this in Schema.org, a resource that can be used to implement structured data on your website. This process will make your data more easily understandable to a search engine.
Linking to content of high quality has always been an important factor in SEO. But semantic search puts an even higher value on this. The main reason is that search engines using semantic search use the relationships between different websites and domains to define the content of a webpage. This determines its effectiveness in responding to a search query correctly.
Adding links on your website that lead to relevant content on respected sites can also increase the authority of your content, improving your overall search ranking. It is also important to take advantage of internal links. Linking to relevant content on your internal pages will help boost search visibility of both your site and its underlying pages. Using this method will help with topicality and improve the user experience when navigating through your website.
Using clear or natural language for your content has become crucial with a semantic search. This means that your content needs to make sense. Using simple sentences that focus on the subject will provide more information to search engines than long paragraphs that swerve off topic.
Content that uses natural language in the titles, subheadings, and the text body will automatically be pushed nearer to the top of the search results page by search engines using semantic search, particularly if there is a direct match to the search query.
Writing in a natural language also plays perfectly into the rise of voice search. It is said that voice search is used by 40% of people at least once per day and that 22% of people who have used voice search have made a purchase with this feature.
Writing naturally not only enhances a user’s engagement but can also be beneficial in gaining more organic traffic.
Creating a systematic way to create and deliver content that works in a semantic way can have tremendous results on a website’s rankings. It is worth the effort to create a good content strategy before you even begin to write and incorporating techniques that not only visitors love but including items such as schema to ensure that search engines also know what a page is about.
About the Author:
Mike Tortorice is avid writer and blogger at Infront Webworks in Colorado Springs, CO. Mike has been in the digital marketing space for over 10 years developing sound marketing strategies for thousands of clients in the process. An avid skier and hiker who loves all things digital. Mike’s passion is a result of being able to help businesses succeed in the digital landscape.