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Just What Is Semantic SEO?

September 18, 2013

Don’t you just love all this confusing terminology that’s being used in the SEO world?. I don’t really and I’m even writing this article. Semantic SEO is not exactly brand new, but it’s definitely being talked about more and more lately. This means that you probably have been wondering what the heck this semantic SEO stuff is all about and if and how you should be using it.

Semantic SEO wouldn’t exist without semantic search, so let’s first have a look at what exactly that is and then dive into the semantic SEO part.

Semantic Search You Say?

Semantic search is something that Google has been infusing into its search engine since a few years. What they are doing is trying to make search smarter by implementing artificial intelligence into its algorithm. They are trying to guess the contextual meaning of your search query to actually understand your query as opposed to just returning search results based on the exact keywords that you type in.

For example when you are searching for “Volkswagen car reviews” they won’t necessarily show you search results that exactly match those keywords but also perhaps results for “VW automobile reviews”, if Google’s algorithm believes there are better results for these keywords. This is a pretty simple example, and Google’s semantic search implementation goes much further than this, but this explains the basics.

Semantic SEO Tactics

Since this implementation of semantic search affects many (if not all) search engine rankings, it is definitely something that you need to take into account for any SEO that you are doing for your website.

One consequence for your SEO is that you can’t just rely on your old school ways of doing keyword research anymore. You need to extend your keyword research to include semantically related terms to your keywords. Once you have created your new, much larger basket of keywords and related terms, you have to start infusing these into your SEO program. Think about your content marketing, link building efforts, on-site SEO, etc.

For example if you are writing about a Jaguar on your webpage, you need to make sure that the search engine knows that you are talking about the car and not the animal or the NFL team. You can achieve this with the content on your page, the title tag, anchor text of inbound links (though these are not always at your control), etc.

The Future of Semantic SEO

Semantic search is here to stay. Google is updating its algorithm all the time to improve the user experience and its semantic search implementation is a part of this and will keep being a part of this.

It is important therefore for any SEO expert to get into the semantic SEO mindset. Because many SEO efforts will somehow have to deal with the intricacies of semantic search, it is important to get into the habit of framing exactly what question(s) you are trying to answer on your website/webpage and identifying semantically related elements regarding this question.

Zane Schwarzlose is an SEO at Fahrenheit Marketing, an Austin based web design company. Zane is always interested in reading about the future of SEO.

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