As search engines continue to get more sophisticated, the need for digital marketers to adapt their SEO strategies have also become imperative.
From a technical perspective, the Google search engine we use today no longer crunch keywords alone for indexing, but instead takes into consideration the user intent and meaning of queries to ensure that the searchers will only get results that are most relevant to what they’re looking for. This evolution dubbed as semantic search warranted companies to use a new and completely different approach of optimizing their web pages – hence the rise of the Semantic SEO.
Semantic SEO is no longer new in the digital marketing realm, but it’s a concept that still bugs the mind of many, especially the novice business owners. Read on as we detail in this infographic what semantic SEO is all about, how it works, why it has become an integral part of every digital marketing strategy these days.
Semantic SEO – Meaning and Origin
Semantic search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of building web content that is centered and optimized around topics and not just keywords. It banks in on the idea that people prefer to have their queries answered accurately by one definitive source, even if their search queries are quite ambiguous or contain no query terms at all.
As mentioned earlier, Google no longer just looks at keywords when ranking webpages, not until the Hummingbird Algorithm update came into effect in 2013. After the said update, Google has essentially turned into a semantic search engine that is smart enough to answer queries just by interpreting their intent and the context.
Come 2015, and Google rolled out the RankBrain – a part of Hummingbird update which enables the search engine to process the content of webpages using Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing (NLP) – making it even smarter and capable of providing more relevant results to search users.
How Does Semantic SEO Affect My Rankings?
With semantic search, Google no longer just ranks web pages based on the exact keywords they contain, but more on through deducing the relevance of the pages on the past queries entered by the user as well as on the inbound and outbound links to relevant pages that the webpage might have. Taking these semantic factors into account helps Google provide a more accurate, relevant answers than they were able to achieve in pre-Hummingbird years.
This evolution of traditional search engines into “answering machines” means that your webpage’s content should be optimized in a way that it can answer the searcher’s query – even if it uses very minimal to zero exact keywords. Doing SEO ‘semantically’ means your content should be meaningful and relevant enough to be ranked on top of the uber-sophisticated search engines people use today.
How and Why Companies Use Semantic SEO?
Aside from creating highly relevant, meaningful, and engaging content for the users, doing semantic SEO primarily involves the use of structured data markup.
Structured data markup refers to the metadata that search engines use to match your content with the user intent and context of the search query. It can be added as an HTML code to each of your webpages to tell search engines exactly what those particular pages are all about.
According to Moz, using structured data markup can provide a plethora of advantages, including search result enhancements and content-specific features, such as:
- Rich search results:Includes styling, images, and other visual enhancements
- Rich cards: A variation on rich search results, similar to rich snippets and designed for mobile users
- Enriched search results:Includes interactive or immersive features
- Knowledge Graph:Information about an entity such as a brand
- Breadcrumbs:Breadcrumbs in your search result
- Carousels:A collection of multiple rich results in a carousel-style
- Rich results for AMP:To have your AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) appear in carousels and with rich results, you’ll need to include structured data
It’s important to note, however, that while structured data markup can help search engines better understand the exact information that your content contains, it is not used as a ranking signal by Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and other search engines. However, when implemented, it can boost the relevancy signal of your webpage, which can lead to higher SERP ranking.
Benefits of Semantic SEO to Your Digital Marketing Campaign
When semantic search engines like Google can easily understand the context of your highly engaging and meaningful content, the more its chances of ranking on top of SERP. And as we all know in the SEO world, having a highly-valuable content that matches the intent and context of the searcher’s query can equal to powerful benefits, such as:
- Improved online presence
- Better brand authority through rich results.
- Greater brand control
- Optimized for voice search
- Higher website visitors
- Better insights from Google Analytics
- Improve your content strategy.
If there’s one myth that digital marketers should definitely put to rest by now, it’s that SEO is already dead.
While challenges have made this strategy even more difficult to execute, only one thing is certain: It is well alive and kicking, or to describe it more specifically – evolving.
Semantic SEO is the product of such evolution, and focusing your search marketing efforts in this specific strategy is extremely a must if you want to boost the performance of your digital marketing campaigns for the long run.
Download this infographic.