What is Semantic Search and How Does it Affect SEO?


by in SEO


Semantic SearchAs search continues to evolve we see many business strategies and campaigns following close behind. It’s important to understand how search works and change your SEO strategies based on some of the changes happening with major search engines such as Google. Semantic search is one of the latest new ideologies coming from Google, and it’s getting a lot of buzz because it makes so much sense (that certainly isn’t always the case, unfortunately).

Semantic technology relies on concepts in order to understand the searcher’s intent, not keywords.

It’s important for businesses to ask themselves: With a semantic mentality, how should I optimize my website and a piece of content differently than when keywords were the focus?

Semantic Search 101: How Your Business Can Take Advantage

Colin Jeavons, President and CEO of Search Works, explained on Search Engine Journal that monetizing content was becoming a problem for publishers. Because so many users trust and use Google, it can be tough for publishers to keep users on their site; not to mention that publishers have to pay search providers if they want any clicks back. This is one of the main reasons semantic search has become so well received—it’s needed. So how it works:

  • Google wants to understand the searchers intent based on concepts and not keywords. It’s about the whole picture.
  • If a user is typing a query into Google, the results will be more about the concepts than about that keyword term. For example, a search query about a car will bring up results about renting, new versus used, tires, windshield wipers, etc. even if none of those words appear in the search.
  • If a user is visiting a site about painting, adds about a nice coat of paint will pop up, not ads about the clothing “coat.” In other words, this semantic ideology works for online ads as well.

So What Does This Mean For SEO?

It means that SEOs need to start thinking semantically and get away from that keyword-based mentality. You need to consider supporting terms, modifiers, synonyms, etc. when optimizing your website. Of course keyword research is still important, but for now semantic should also be on the brain.

Are you familiar with semantic search? Have you experienced any results as a user or clicks as a business as a result of semantic search efforts? Let us know your story and your thoughts in the comments below.

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