Semantic Search is getting more and more important in 2018. And that means that as content creators and business owners, we need to pay attention to all the ways that Google continues to improve search. I want to clarify something right from the beginning: these evolutions aren’t scary, especially once you know Google’s goal and how to help them achieve it. So, friends, read on to find out more about how to use semantic search to your advantage in 2018!
What is Semantic Search?
Here’s what you need to know about this scary-sounding term: semantic search is just a term that means Google is trying to understand your intent with each search. That’s it. And Google is pretty good at knowing what people intend in their search, thanks to lots of data.
Semantic search also refers to the contextual meaning of the search. For example, if you search “Apple”, you won’t get results about fruit. You’ll get results about the company Apple. Google doesn’t know for certain that you don’t want to know more about fruit. But they are basing their results off of what other people’s trends when searching for the same term, and from that they are able to infer the user’s intent. This is HUGE. And this transforms the way we write content for SEO.
So, this means that Google looks beyond the exact term that you search for, and considers the general context of search, based on your past history, current trends, and related terms. Google’s goal, as always, is to give you results that are relevant to what you want. This means that Google is using data to deliver what it thinks you want to know more about. And isn’t that great?
This is why you will see varying results for the same keyword. Google is trying to deliver the most relevant results for you, and this trend towards semantic search is part of that.
The goal of semantic search is to improve search accuracy.
Examples of Semantic Search
- Current Trends (like a certain movie or the Olympics)
Try Googling “Black Panther”. If you do that today, Google will assume that your intent is to know more about the movie, and not the animal or the Black Panthers from the 1960s. Beyond that, Google will likely give you personalized results about movie tickets in your area, since it’s guessing that you’re intending to get tickets to see the movie.
- Misspelled terms
Google knows what you mean even when you misspell it. Isn’t that crazy? Do you ever see that “did you mean….” when Googling? This means that Google is interpreting your intent in search, and giving you what it thinks you want, instead of exactly what you typed. Isn’t the internet amazing?
- Browser History
What you have searched for in the past. Google will assume that you want to return to those results.
How to Write for Semantic Search:
This will help Google associate your content with similar terms that people might search for (keep in mind that this is different from the next tip of word variations). Synonyms are different ways of saying the same thing.
For example, instead of saying “example” I can say, “instance”, “case”, “illustration”, and so on. Including these will help Google associate your desired terms with a broader variety of semantic terms.
Include word variations.
For example, you should include terms like “wedding photographer Phoenix” and “Phoenix wedding photographer” as you’re writing to target variation of the same keyword.
This help google figure out what the content is about. For example if you’re writing about the movie Black Panther, add words like “release date” “actors”. This one will of course happen naturally, but it important to put in here, because it’s essential for the process of filling your content with related terms.
Cluster your content
We don’t have to select one keyword to map to one page. You can cluster your content (if you don’t know what this means yet, that’s ok! We’re dedicating a whole article to this next week).
When writing on the web for SEO, it’s important to make sure that at least some of your content is literal, and not solely full of sarcasm and irony. Machines just won’t understand it, even if your readers will. So keep your content straightforward, and
Learn more about semantic search:
For those of you who just can’t get enough.
We love this article from Search Engine Watch about semantic search. Although it’s written for 2017, many of the principles still apply.
We also really love this article from SEM Rush all about semantic search and content marketing.