The Ultimate Guide to Semantic Search

By October 17, 2012 Blog No Comments

Google have been working hard this last year and have introduced all kinds of new initiatives and ideas to try and push their already leading search even further. Iteration has followed iteration and if you’ve been paying attention you’ll have noticed such things as Google Instant bringing up results for your queries as you’re still typing, Google Suggest coming up with suggested search terms as you write and Google Box bringing up direct answers to questions on the Google home page.

The aim of course with all these things is simple – to make Google faster and more intuitive so that it can connect you with the information you’re looking for as quickly as possible and as accurately as possible. Obviously though it’s also crucial that webmasters and those in the SEO business pay close attention to this to these changes as all of them can have big impacts on the way people use search.

‘Semantic search’ is no different and in many ways is the next logical step for the search engine. In the past Google has operated by looking for exact matches of the keywords that people are typing in – in other words looking for keyphrases and keywords on the pages that it displays to users. However with semantic search the idea is to instead show users articles based on a more complex content match. Of course an article can still be on the same subject just because it doesn’t use the precise phrasing and actually this means it’s probably less likely to be an example of spamming.

Semantic search then uses a huge database of terms and concepts and this contains information on how those terms relate. So now if you were to type in ‘top ten types of cheese’ you wouldn’t necessarily only come up with articles titled ‘top ten types of cheese’, but also ones called ‘top 10 types of cheese’ and ‘the very best cheeses’. In other words Google has tried to look at the meaning and work out the gist of what the user is looking for and has paired them with content appropriately.

What This All Means

Of course this is likely to have a number of rather large impacts on the way that we use search and that is in turn likely to have a rather large impact on how webmasters get visitors to their site. Here are some things that you might want to do differently in light of semantic search…

  • Target articles based on topics that are popular rather than precise keyphrases that are popular
  • Include synonyms when you come up with your key terms and lace these throughout the articles as well. You will often see this described as writing ‘around’ the key word.
  • Try to stuff keywords less in general – bear in mind that semantic search comes around the same time that Google have really started penalizing spam-like techniques.
  • Write more – the more you write the more you will get across the topic that you were looking for.
  • Thing like a computer and try to imagine how you might have programmed the algorithms to work out topics. What little cues could there be in your articles that indicate what they’re really about?

Oscar Wood is a freelance writer and has been writing articles on SEO for over 10 years. He recommends readers to visit Wisdek which is one of the best search engine optimization companies.

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