SEO and Semantic Searches

SEO and Semantic Searches

The more thing change, the more they stay the same. Although Google has made its searches more content focused and uses more evergreen sites, the searches still are dependent on keywords. With that being said, the focus on keywords will change with semantic searches. In order to understand how semantic searches will affect your company’s SEO campaigns, you first need to understand what is a semantic search.

It’s All Semantics.

With semantic searches, Google is trying to determine what a user’s intent was when the keyword was entered. Think of “what the meaning of is, is…”, in other words when you type in the word mean into Google’s search field, the determination has to be made if you are referring to the statistical mean, the sadistic mean, or the meaning mean.  Google will look at a search like “mean people” and through semantic searching realize you are not referring to statistics or looking for a definition. It is the second keyword that gives the context of what the user wants. There are other factors that go into semantic searches. If you use Google to search for “car restoration” on your smartphone or another mobile device, it will assume you mean car restoration services near where the GPS says you are. Google thinks you intend to have an old car repaired when it performs the semantic search and will return a list of classic car restoration services in the area from which you searched.

How Will Semantic Searches Impact Your SEO?

Since Google will be putting keywords in context with semantic searches, choosing the correct keywords is more important than ever before. What does that mean for your SEO campaigns? You will need to anticipate what keywords Google will use in semantic searches, and then you will have to tailor the content to fit those keywords. No longer will you be using keywords with the highest search volume, there was no consideration given to the context the keyword was used in; you just used the keyword. There was no double entendre in the words and phrases used by users in Google’s interpretation; now it sees hidden meaning where before it did not. Now when you use a database of keywords to build content, you have to wonder about the words being misinterpreted.

Is There an Upside to Semantic Searches?

There are several advantages to using keywords that are semantically based; here are just a few.

A higher click-through rate- Because your semantic search based keywords have higher relevancy, there is a greater chance of a customer clicking through regardless of if it is in an email, PPC ad, or landing page.

Lower bids for PPC ads- Because semantic search based keywords have higher relevancy, you won’t need to bid as much because it narrows the field of competitors for clicks.

Search engines like relevant content- When you use semantic search based keywords, you are using keywords that are highly relevant to your site’s content, and therefore will be awarded a higher quality score. Higher quality scores equal higher search engine result page (SERP) rankings and ultimately more clicks and more conversions.

How Do I Generate Semantic Keywords?

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) tools can help you come up with semantic keywords for your SEO. There are tools online such as Keys4up and LSI Graph that will help you to generate effective semantic keywords; the good news is that most of these tools are free or low cost.

To Sum Up.

If you continue to run your SEO campaigns by the old rules, you will be behind competitors who have figured out that semantic searches are the future.

Spread The Word!

About the Author

Though his chief ambition is to one day control the entire Internet, Jim busies himself in the meantime running our little web development and marketing agency. He's a certified super nerd who ranks coding in old, outdated languages and watching Star Trek reruns just a bit too high on his list of fun things to do. Outside of work, Jim enjoys Hockey (Tampa Bay Lighning, to be specific), more genres of music than most people realize exist, riding his Harley (he calls it "two wheel therapy") and exploring the world through travel.