What Semantic Search Means to SEO

While searching for something online, people don’t always expect that a single web page can satisfy their need. Instead, it is just their first step to find answers, guides and advisories that can help them to understand, learn or decide a particular matter. Keeping this in mind, Google shifted its focus to semantic search in which users’ quest for more knowledge is satisfied through the links to authority content from trusted sources. This remarkable development, though welcome for users, can be quite challenging for search engine optimization as, to get to higher search result page ranking, websites need to generate search results that closely match users’ queries.

With semantic search, Google attempts to:

  • To show how humans understand the world
  • To understand the actual meaning underlying the terms, keywords or other queries typed into the boxes on search engines
  • To understand the user’s motives

To be precise, semantic search provides users with entirely different SERP results, with more information being presented about the thing being searched for. When semantic search is combined with real time data from social media sites, the changes can be quite dramatic.

Google’s semantic model consists of two significant developments:

  • Knowledge Graph – This feature allows users to search for things, people or places and gather relevant information instantly. You can view a more complete picture of what you have searched for with a carousel at the top part of the result page. The collections in the Knowledge Graph will help you research a topic faster and more in depth than traditional search that showed you the links to various pages. Suppose you searched for ‘Ernest Hemingway’, you would find his personal details and books along with other related results as shown below.

    Ernest Hemingway

    This also makes Google understand the difference which will help you to precisely express what you mean as type in your search item. For example, if you type in ‘Rio’, Google will provide several types of results as it tries to understand whether you meant the city, the movie or the casino.
    When you tie these results with instant, live feed data from social networks, this Knowledge graph can monitor the events across the world in real time.

  • Hummingbird Algorithm – This recent change in Google’s search algorithm helps to initiate a conversation with the searcher and provide the exact answer to the query instead of just providing keyword matching results. For example, if you search for ‘which is the best pizza near New York’, you will get the list of all pizza shops near New York at the top of the search result page even without the keyword ‘shop’.

    Best Pizza Near New York

    Hummingbird strictly considers the semantics and recognizes the relationship between search queries with the help of the Knowledge Graph before returning the actual search results. Google adapted this algorithm mainly to handle complex and conversational queries entered by the searchers.

Major Implications of Semantic Search

  • With semantic search, the information is presented in a set of different content types for interesting search engine result pages. Search query logs and knowledge databases are used to find the specific information search for, putting it in logical sequence and to match with the specific question the user asked when looking for the information.
  • One of the primary goals of semantic search is to eliminate irrelevant resources from SERPs and filter out spam. Google is relying on trust and proof of authorship to perform this job well. So businesses need to develop individual and organizational authority and trust.
  • To keep your data easily retrievable by search engine, make intelligent use of semantic markup tools and open standards.
  • Develop links from beyond a simple paradigm of quality, diversity, quantity and relevance alone since individual links are weighted according to the trustworthiness of the source.
  • It is not enough to develop quality content and establish yourself as a trusted authority; identify fellow experts in your area and associate yourself and your content with those businesses and resources for getting a higher position in semantic search results as Google analyzes diverse sources to deepen the knowledge base and determine trustworthiness.

The Impact of Semantic Search on Retailers

  • Instead of cluttered and disorganized data across diverse databases and formats, online retailers must make their content available as structured data to search engines for easy retrieval and analysis. RDFa and Microdata are two popular syntaxes for such kind of presentations
  • Include rich media (audio and video), product information, ratings and reviews, contact details, business information for investors and more on business data rather than using data in any single format.
  • The information will be retrieved and viewed on a range of different devices such as tablets, mobile devices and so on. The tagging and optimization approach provides the retailers with the ability to send daily offers, menu cards and other business information directly to smartphone apps or other digital devices without performing difficult customization or preparing different feeds for each.

Professional SEO companies provide website owners with effective SEO and content development strategies that can get them the best out of semantic search.

About Monica Barber

Monica Barber

Monica Barber is the Internet Marketing Manager of MOS, a leading BPO company in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She joined the MOS team in 2013 bringing with her a wealth of experience in SEO, Social Media, web design and Internet Marketing management. She has successfully designed digital marketing campaigns for Fortune 500 and small to mid-size companies and continues creating new MOS digital strategies to keep up with Google’s everchanging algorithms.