How to Optimize your Content for Semantic Search
The importance of Semantic search has increased with the release of the Google’s hummingbird update.
Gone are the days when content used to be ranked on the basis of only certain keywords. Nowadays, you can’t expect your article to be ranked high just by sprinkling few keywords here and there in your content.
Infact, Matt Cutts had made it clear that google just don’t rank content on the based of only keywords anymore. Google has started generating search results by analyzing the user’s intent which is also known as semantic search intent.
According to an article published on SearchEngineJournal, “Google had changed its famous algorithm to focus on the understanding phase of the searches. This would facilitate the subsequent phases by limiting the number of documents in the index that were consulted to show the best possible results.” Succinctly put, in order to claim your ranking spot in SERP, you must optimize your content with semantic SEO practices.
What exactly is Semantic Search?
In case you might be wondering what is Semantic Search. Let’s dwell upon the definition of semantic search given by Wikipedia itself:
“Semantic search seeks to improve search accuracy by understanding the searcher’s intent and the contextual meaning of terms as they appear in the searchable dataspace, whether on the Web or within a closed system, to generate more relevant results. “
In simpler terms: Semantic search by google use Artificial Intelligence to understand the whole query by taking searcher’s intent into consideration rather than by understanding different keywords at the same time. Semantic word here refers to reflect the similarity or differences between keywords where whole contextual meaning is taken into consideration. Google use semantic search to provide search results that might be more relevant to the information that searcher tend to search at the same time.
Let’s try to understand semantic search with an example:
When you search for keyword phrase “What is Narendra Modi’s age?”, google fetch out relevant information by understanding the semantic meaning behind the query.
The whole query (In this example: What is Narendra Modi age?) acts like a conversational search query for google and hence google understand the query in an easier way as it is understandable by humans and retrieve relevant information desired by searcher.
Another example of content which is semantically related to a keyword query could be the “search related to
(See above Image) For the above query ie. “What is Narendra Modi’s age?”, the semantically related information in the eyes of google would be:
narendra modi caste
narendra modi family
narendra modi brother
narendra modi wife
narendra modi son
damodardas mulchand modi
narendra modi full name
How Semantic Search Query is handled by Google?
Google had made successful changes in its algorithm which introduces the concept of Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) as the pattern of search. As the name implies, Latent Semantic Indexing are the keywords that are semantically related to the originally search query. This is how google retrieve the search results nowadays.According to renowned webmasters, Google use RankBrain algorithm which works on Artificial Intelligence (AI) system to detect search queries by analyzing the searcher’s intent (behavior, location, search pattern etc.), and the contextual meaning of query. However, nobody knows the actual procedure involved with the algorithm apart from Google and its employees (probably!).
How to Incorporate Semantic Search in a Content Strategy?Now that you are aware of the definition and example of Semantic search query, let’s dwell on some foolproof Semantic SEO practices to rank your content on top in 2017 and beyond:
- Write Informative and contextual content for users not for Search Engines
A big mistake that most of budding SEOs and content marketers do is to write keyword rich content taking search engine into consideration. Though, keywords still matters for the good SEO, it is not always the best for SEO. Brian Dean, content and SEO strategist in Backlinko LLC, opines that “If you want to impress search engines, make an effort to impress your reader’s first”. Having said that, when you write for readers, you make that extra step closer to impress search engines. Henceforth, you should always try to develop the high quality content for your target audience.
Remember a key point, always: Google love informative content that value readers. Hence, always expand your imagination to meet the needs and demands of your reader base.
A neat and clean approach in producing a long form of content should include brainstorming contextual topics, Keyword research and a good link building strategy. Try to incorporate some long tail keywords in case your website is new. Pay close attention to Keyword prominence and Keyword proximity in your article. Succinctly put, creating high quality, informative (not lengthy) and contextual content is the key.
- Optimize Content for Google Knowledge Graph
If you closely search for the reason on how google retrieve answer to the query directly on Search result page, you will find out, it’s because of Google’s knowledge graph. Knowledge graph is a search database used by google to fetch relevant information related to a person, place or a thing from variety of sources present on web.
Hence, if you want your content to be ranked on top of your competitors, you must rely on optimizing your content for knowledge graph in the form of an semantic seo strategy. Here’s how to optimize your content for knowledge graph:
- Optimize your website or brand’s presence on YouTube, social media including Wikipedia
- Add Google search console to your website
- Use schema markup in your website’s html code
- Configure rich snippets on your website
- Optimize website for localized search
- Pay attention to user experience and On Page SEO
Using top Semantic SEO practices mentioned above will help in optimizing your website’s content for semantic search.
Which Semantic SEO practices do you use on daily basis in your content strategy?
Let me know in comment section.
All the best!