Search Engine Optimization for Semantic Search

Optimize Your Content for Semantic SEO 825x500 1

Consider how far Google has come in the last 20 years. Once upon a time, users had no preference for search engines like Yahoo, Bing, and Ask Jeeves. Google, on the other hand, has become better at delivering relevant answers in record time, even when we’ve entered incoherent phrases littered with typos, and those names have faded into the background. As a result, Google has a grasp on us. And it’s getting better at it all the time, too.

To a large extent, search engine optimization relies on the Google Algorithm, which has evolved considerably over the years. What’s the most recent development? Semantic search engine optimization. And if so, what is it? And how do you optimise your content so that Google’s robots are happy? Consider this for a moment.

Where did semantic search engine optimization originate?

Learning about Google’s history is essential to optimising a site for it.

Keyword-focused algorithms were used in the early days of search engine optimization (SEO). Then, between 2012 and 2021, there were some pretty dramatic leaps, namely with ‘Knowledge Graph,’ ‘Hummingbird,’ ‘RankBrain,’ and ‘BERT.

When it came to creating a mindmap for Google to see the connections between words, Knowledge Graph was revolutionary. Hummingbird also allowed Google to understand the full meaning of a search query rather than just a string of keywords. Instead of just looking for specific words, it was able to determine the overall topic of a webpage.

In order to better understand users’ search intent, the context of these search terms is also compared to existing search histories, taking into account their relevance within local and global parameters, as well. That is, it provided context.

You may have entered the word Corona in your search bar, for example. You’re more likely to be interested in COVID-19 than beer, according to Google. As a result, the first results you’ll see will be based on that specific information. Search engine optimization using semantics is a step forward in the world of contextualising Google.

In what ways does semantic search engine optimization differ from traditional search engine optimization?

To understand semantic SEO, it’s helpful to break down the word semantic into its component parts.

Oxford English Dictionary defines semantics as “the branch of linguistics and logic concerned with meaning.” These include logical semantics, which is concerned with matters such as sense and reference, presupposition and implication, as well as lexical semantics, which is concerned with the analysis of word meanings and relationships between them.’

Search engine optimization (SEO) that uses semantics is built on lexical semantics, or how words relate to one another.

How to optimize your content for semantic SEO

Google aims to respond to users’ questions with articles containing the most valuable information and predictively answer follow-up questions. It knows humans are curious creatures, after all. So we will teach you how to optimize your content for quality AND be picked up favorably by Google’s radar.

First, you need to understand the intent of your article. Or in other words, which of the reader’s needs are you answering? Intent falls into 3 categories – and it’s crucial to know which of these your piece falls into if you’re going to keep readers happy. Users are browsing on the internet to either –

  1. Learn something;
  2. Buy something; or
  3. Find something specific (e.g., a shop their friend has just mentioned).

The breakdown of this intent falls roughly into 80%, 10% and 10%, respectively. Most users are on the internet with specific questions that they want answers to. So it’s important to understand the questions your article is trying to answer — otherwise, your website won’t convert, your bounce rate will be sky-high, and Google will penalize you for not being what your readers want.

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About the Author: Jon Henley