Semantic Search – Are Keywords Relevant Anymore?

Semantic SearchWhat is semantic search? In this kind of search, the search engine uses artificial intelligence to help understand what you are searching for through the words you type. The results you now get are more accurate and relevant. Google’s Knowledge Graph supports semantic search. This graph is a collection of information that has been gathered from various sources, and is designed to answer any possible question you may ask. Searchers now get more contextual information for the query rather than just a list of sites that could possibly provide an answer. In this scenario, SEO services that can help business websites receive the right visitors and maintain a steady targeted traffic flow assume more significance.

With revolutionary changes in its search algorithms, Google now promotes semantic search. Compelling and well-written content is the need of the day. Semantic search is relevancy based and not purely based on keywords.

  • Relevancy based. When searching and rating on relevancy there is a very simple formula that would be used. The formula is that if for some reason content A and B get mentioned together several times, and if the ranking of content B is high, then the ranking of content A would also be on top. This is how a relevancy-based rating would work. It not only looks at the content and the keywords but also looks at related content.
  • Co-occurrence. For content on X you would expect nothing but X related topics to be present in the content. However, with search engines becoming smarter, the focus will also be on words that are constantly used with X, words that would give X its meaning. This is then used in searches and in deciding the rating of a website. The search engine would look at words that have contextually occurred more in the content than just the keyword and would run the search algorithm based on that. If the content were to be searched, there would be results for the other words coming up more than the keyword and so the rating is also changed accordingly.
  • Meaning is very important. The results would be less about the keyword but more about the description of the product.
  • Proof terms. When you look for relevant keywords, a long list usually comes up. This is called proof list, some of the keywords would not make it to the final keyword list but would be nonetheless expected to be part of the content. When writing about I-phone, by default Apple would get mentioned. Semantic search would look at these keywords that are a default part of the document and not enhanced to be the keywords. Complicated, but true – this is the biggest reason why things are changing in the search engine front.
  • Relevant terms. These basically are almost like keywords. This is what content writers would use more than often in their content. This however has a flip side to it as well. The content that gets over optimized will also be ranked lower by Google and other search engines. So content writers should be careful about what they use.
  • Understanding quality content. Now the need for understanding quality content arises. The content should not be about the words used but more about the meaning that it provides. The quality and the meaning of the content are of prime importance now.

Are Keywords Relevant with Semantic Search?

Keywords and keyword phrases do not have as much significance as they had earlier. Website owners using keywords have to understand the meaning behind those words and develop specific content around them. Suppose someone queries using the keyword "golf". Their intent may be to find information regarding:

  • The game golf
  • Golf equipment
  • Golf courses
  • Golf clubs

The website owner should determine the searcher’s intent when using the keyword, and must create content that is relevant to the search. SEO should now focus on the natural language and intent of the searcher rather than typical keywords. It would be best to create content that is clear, specific and answers a specific question. It should be informative and helpful to the user.

Best Practices to Follow

  • Invest time and effort in researching the target audience and understand their intent. Then you will be able to create content that will provide them with the information and answers they want.
  • Optimize the website for mobile usage. The information displayed on the page should be of maximum use for the user.
  • Use Google author and create an effective link-building strategy for your site.
  • Have a powerful SEO campaign in place and adjust it to match the frequent changes made to Google’s algorithms.

In all of the above a reliable search engine optimization company can provide excellent support to website owners and ensure that they receive maximum targeted traffic and conversions.