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Semantic Search and its Impact on SEO

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Keyword-based search engine optimization, as traditionally practiced, is dead as we witness the rise of long-tail keywords and semantic web technologies. These are now intrinsic to almost every operation performed by the major search engines including Google and Bing. As a result, if you are a search engine marketer and you are serious about maximizing the visibility of your website in the SERPs, you need to have a sound knowledge of how the semantic web works and the incorporated technologies.

semantic-search

But do not take this to mean that keywords are no longer relevant to SEO in 2015. After all, the search engines do require some text to make sense of what it is your company actually does. But what they take great pains to understand (and subsequently store) are other information including places and concepts that ultimately gives the pages on a website their meaning.

In short, semantic search is this creepy functionality within Google and adopted by a few other search engines whereby the engines derive meaning from the words on your website rather than focusing on the words themselves. This was introduced as part of the Hummingbird update released in the summer of 2013.

The Value of Semantic Search

Search begins when words are typed into a search box. This makes ranking for the right keywords one of the most important activities in search marketing. But most people don’t search with one keyword. For example, someone is very unlikely to type “laptop” in Google’s search bar. They would type additional words to give additional clues. For example, they could be looking to:

  1. Buy a new laptop
  2. Buy a used laptop
  3. Have a laptop repaired
  4. Upgrade a laptop
  5. Buy laptop accessories
  6. Or do research for a paper due at school about the evolution of laptops

In turn, the search engines explore the semantics of those additional words and understand the meaning behind them to guess what the user might really be looking for. This has an application in SEO because by incorporating semantic technologies in your SEO campaigns, you can help Google deliver your website pages as the best results possible to user queries. This means you have to determine the right keywords based upon user intent and then create content based on those terms.

Semantic keyword research has many advantages:

  1. Semantic keywords inform high-converting blog posts.
  2. It can improve your click-through rate when the elements of your conversion funnel are aligned semantically, including your landing pages and emails.
  3. It can improve your quality score, which in turn leads to better rankings.

Some Tools You Can Use for Semantic Keyword Research

1. Google’s Advanced Search

Google’s advanced search results is a quick and effective way to generate semantic keywords. Using the example above, say you’re an online laptop store and you are currently having a 30% off promotion. To find keywords that visitors actually type into the search engines, type “laptop discount codes” in Google’s search bar. Scroll to the bottom, and ignore everything in between; at the bottom is a harvest of keywords. Read more