Semantic search isn’t a new concept. It has been around for years. However, it is only in recent years that the idea and importance of semantic search have gained in popularity. There are multiple benefits in optimising your content for semantic search. By doing so, you can:
- Minimise the chances of getting penalised by Google search ranking algorithms for overusing certain keywords and keyword phrases.
- Make your content more interesting, engaging, and less monotonous.
- Open new doors for traffic and potential leads.
In this blog post, we are going to discuss what semantic search is and how you can optimise your website’s content for it. So, let’s start from the beginning…
What is semantic search?
Semantic search is all about context. With the ever-increasing involvement of artificial intelligence (RankBrain) and machine learning in Google’s ranking algorithm and the search engine, it is important for Google to accurately understand the context of a user’s query. It is also equally important for Google to analyse a web page and accurately determine what the context of that web page is. For example, if an article mentions “Apple”, does it mean the fruit or the company that makes iPhones? To understand the difference between the two and present the result accurately to the searcher, Google analyses the relationship between words, spelling variations, and trending topics; all these are important factors for semantic search. Now that you understand what semantic search is let’s see what steps you can take to optimise your content for semantic search.
1. Include keywords that provide more context
One of the best ways to optimise your content for semantic search is to include keywords that provide more context to the search engines as well as to human readers. With the help of those semantically-related keywords, search engines will be in a better position to understand the context of your web page. For example, if your page mentions “Nocturnal Animals”, it is not sure if it is talking about the film or the animals that are active during the night-time. However, if your web page also mentions keywords, such as Jake Gyllenhaal, Isla Fisher, Amy Adams, film, movie, director, cinematography, acting performances, etc., Google will understand that your content is about the movie — not the animals. You can use a free tool like LSIGraph to come up with relevant semantic keywords to optimise your web page and make it more descriptive for search engines.
2. Create more long-form content
Long-form content is more in-depth and covers a topic in more detail. This depth and comprehensiveness also give search engine crawlers more opportunities to understand a piece of content and its topic. A 200-word blog post will only scratch the surface, and it will be easier for search engines to get confused about the nature and context of that post. Instead, create in-depth, long-form content that explores each topic and subtopic in great detail. You will also be able to get more keywords in each post, which will help you get higher rankings for semantic searches and keyword phrases.
3. Optimise your content for user intent
Search engines have evolved, and now they rely significantly less on specific keywords. Sometimes, you do not even need to include a keyword for the post to come up in the search engine result page for that query.
4. Optimise for Google’s Featured Snippet
Google’s Featured Snippet shows up in the search for some queries and provides most of the information to users without having them to click on a result. When you optimise for Google’s Featured Snippet, you also optimise your content for semantic search. Here a few tips to follow:
- Add the relevant Schema Markup on your page.
- Be comprehensive, insightful, yet concise in your answers.
- Use bullet points when you can.
- Ask questions that your readers would want to and answer them in your content.
- Create in-depth, useful, and high-quality content.
5. Optimise your content for voice search
Voice search signifies the most common usage of semantic search and algorithms. There is a difference in how people type and how they talk normally. When a searcher uses voice search, the query might look very different than what it would have been if the user typed it out. He might use different words and phrase his sentences differently. Make sure your content is accommodating every possibility. Also, most voice searches contain a few keywords. It is recommended to use those keywords in your subheadings and main body text to optimise your content for them.
Here are the most commonly used words in voice searches:
Optimising for semantic search and keywords might take a bit of extra effort, but is well worth it. When you are focusing on semantic search, you produce better, more in-depth content that is likely to rank higher on multiple keywords and variations that it wouldn’t have otherwise. Use these five tips mentioned in this article to optimise your content for semantic search.