What is Semantic Search, and why is it important for your SEO strategy?

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Remember when SEO was all about cramming keywords into your articles till they were unreadable to human readers? SEO has gone a long way since then, and we can credit semantic search for that.

SEO strategy What Is Semantic Search?

Semantic search refers to search engines’ capacity to consider the purpose and context of search terms while presenting results. In other words, it is an attempt by robots to comprehend human language in all of its complexities.

Semantic search SEO

Previously, search engines merely looked at sentences as a collection of words, never considering the meaning or the user’s probable purpose. Now that we know that different individuals talk and write in various ways, search engines are attempting to incorporate their newly learned understanding of human speech into the results of all searches.
Some of the variables considered by semantic search:

  • User’s search history
  • User’s location
  • Spelling variations of a phrase

Assume two separate people search for “chocolate cake.” Based on their past, the search engine will recognize that one of them is a novice baker and will recommend chocolate cake recipes. Because the other user is a traveler and a gourmet, the search engine will provide listings of the finest locations to buy a chocolate cake in the area.

If both users are inexperienced bakers, the search engine will consider their location and provide recipe results in either ounce (if the user is in the United States) or grams (if the user is based in Australia). Similarly, each user will receive recipes from websites in their own nation because it is more probable that they will obtain the ingredients this way.

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Semantic search is not a new concept. It began to take shape in 2013, with Google’s Hummingbird update, which was the first time NLP was employed to assist the algorithm in understanding sentences in their whole rather than providing results based on the meaning of each individual word. The RankBrain upgrade in 2015 advanced our understanding of user intent by using machine learning and a query analysis AI.

What Effect Should Semantic Search Have on Your SEO Strategy?

Why should you be concerned about any of this? Because users are concerned. Here’s how to use it:

Focus on Topics Instead of Keywords

Forget about creating content based on the keywords with the highest search volume. In fact, forget about basing your content on keywords altogether. Instead, focus on topics that are relevant to your audience and build in-depth, authoritative content on those.

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t conduct keyword research. Keywords are still important, but they should come second to the topic rather than first and foremost. Their major function is to operate as beacons, directing visitors to appropriate pages on your website based on the user’s search terms (more on that below).

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Take Voice Search into Account

Almost 40% of internet users in the US rely on voice search. Even those who type in their searches are prone to use longer phrases and full sentences. Your first duty as a content developer is to answer queries simply and efficiently. See the article’s first headline: What Is Semantic Search? The question is followed by a brief definition written in proper format: The term “semantic search” relates to… A voice assistant can simply read this back to the user. It’s also something that a person who entered a search term would anticipate.

A fast response that is clearly structured as an answer – else, they will look elsewhere.
Aside from definitions, you may also provide concise lists of tips, objects, movies, and so on – stuff that can be read quickly. Do you intend to go through each item on that list in detail? Go ahead and do that, but make a distinct simple list at the top of the post so it can be readily indexed.

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Always Write with User Intent in Mind

Told you we’d be back to keywords! This is where your keyword analysis gets to shine. Use keyword analysis tools to group keywords by search intent and write separate pieces of content for each type of intent.

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If you sell snorkeling gear, for instance, you will have to accommodate beginners, experts, and people who are only thinking about trying snorkeling. 

  • “What equipment do I need for snorkeling” is a keyword that you can target the last category with.
  • “Basic snorkeling gear” matches the search intent of a beginner.
  • “Floating valve snorkel” is definitely something an experienced snorkeler would search for.

Feel like the keywords are too long? You shouldn’t! Search intent is best reflected by long-tail keywords. And remember what we said above about people using voice search or typing queries that sound like a conversation? Long-tail keywords are the new normal.

Wrapping Things Up

Semantic search enables people to locate what they need more quickly and easily. It’s a breath of fresh air for content writers since it allows us to finally write the way we talk, without pushing a term into a sentence it should never be in.
If you remember only one thing from this essay, make it this: write as if you were speaking to a friend, and you will win the hearts of your readers and even the cold heart.

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