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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

6 SEO Tips and Tricks for the Holiday Season

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It’s that time of the year again. The holiday season is here! Did you conform your website to it yet? The holidays may be the biggest sales month for most eCommerce and retail companies but getting your customers’ attention above all the promotional noise and web clutter around this time of year is a lot of work. Raising the bar with a resounding, authoritative voice may mean the difference between gaining a customer and pushing him to your competition.

seo-holidays-tips

To get your website ready for this holiday season:

1. Piggy Back on Your Competition

It’s a simple concept: If you want to surpass your competitors this holiday season, you first need to know what they are doing and what marketing strategies they are using. The first step is to get an idea of the keywords they are targeting. To do this, you can use a tool like Mozbar or SEMrush. The next step is to have a look at their backlinks. This can give you a pretty good idea of the sorts of where they are building a relationship, and if it would be worth it for you to do the same for your own website. Handy tools you can use for this purpose include Open Site Explorer and Mondovo’s Link Research Tool.

2. Conduct your own Keyword Research

You can use the list of keywords that you’ve gathered above as a “seed list” that will help you get started with your own KW research. This way, you’ll be able to target the keywords that they are targeting as well as fill the gaps in their keyword strategy.

The key is to not get seduced by high volume phrases. Target a good mix of short, medium and long tail keyword phrases. For long tail keywords, you can use the idea: Seasonal word + Your product + Your city area plus other variations of this phrase.

3. Begin Content Marketing

The holiday season is a surefire period of consumer spending but to capture the attention of people during one of the busiest times of the year, you need a strong content marketing strategy. The challenge is to strike a balance between producing content that your consumers will want to talk about and link to, and that also aids the sales funnel. You can kick start the process by creating an editorial calendar to push holiday-related content at the right times and in the right places.

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How to Find Popular Keywords Using Wikipedia

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It doesn’t matter what niche you are in or what business model you are following; if you want your business to succeed online, you need to do keyword research.

wikipedia-keyword-research

It’s not only about SEO; it’s about what your customers want. If they cannot find what they want on your page, you can forget about making a sale, getting a lead or even getting a click on your ads, no matter where they came from.

A lot of software and services are available to help you with keyword research, like this one. However, you can also do the research ‘manually’, using Wikipedia. And this is exactly what this article is about! It’s not a conventional way to do keyword research (I don’t see it being discussed on Internet marketing and SEO forums for some reason), but it does result in a lot of high-quality keywords.

Tip #1: The SERP

Okay, this one doesn’t really involve using Wikipedia itself, but it is a big part of the method. Adding the word ‘wikipedia’ to your topic results in informative pages being displayed in the SERPs.

For example: carpet cleaning wikipedia

Instead of being presented with all sorts of carpet cleaning services in the area, I am getting a page full of informative keywords. You should look both at the page titles and descriptions.

carpet-cleaning-wikipedia-Google-Search

In my example, I came up with:

carpet cleaning

rug cleaning

rug cleaner

truckmount carpet cleaner

steam cleaning

vapor steam cleaner

hot water extraction vs steam cleaning

steam mop

Not bad for 90 seconds of work! And that’s without scrolling down past the first 6 results!

Tip #2: Use Wikipedia Search

The heading is pretty self-explanatory. Go to the Wikipedia main page and perform a search on your topic. The page talking about your topic should contain keywords related to your niche.

Performing a quick search on “suits” resulted into the following keywords:

lounge suit

business suits

dinner suits

black tie

design

cut

bespoke

made to measure

ready-to-wear

And again, I didn’t even have to scroll down to find these.

The takeaway here is this: Wikipedia articles are keyword mines. If you invest some time looking, you will find some nice keywords out there.

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