Leveraging Semantic SEO Strategies for Effective, Discoverable Content
Sep 09, 2019
Written by Casey Bjorkdahl
Casey Bjorkdahl is one of the pioneering thought leaders in the SEO community. In 2010, Casey co-founded Vazoola after working for a Digital Marketing Agency for five years in New York City. Vazoola is now one of the fastest growing and most widely recognized SEO marketing firms in the country.
Today’s internet-driven world moves fast. Search strategies change as quickly as consumer interests.
According to an infographic about search strategies, surfing the web is evolving to include semantic search.
Specifically, smart marketers are leveraging semantic analysis and topic association into their SEO strategies when devising content. The user's experience is king, and semantic content strategies focus on whether a reader can find answers to their questions.
What Is Semantic SEO?
Simply put, semantic SEO means you optimize your content by focusing on the meaning behind the query.
What is the context of what the visitor is really asking? Content should focus more on an overall topic rather than one specific question.
Semantic SEO takes content one step further by proactively addressing additional questions your visitor might have.
You must think ahead, authoritatively. As a search engine, Google wants to direct users to web pages that offer them in-depth, valuable information.
Content that is filled with relevant and natural language is attractive to Google.
Algorithms and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Today’s computer scientists are pushing to advance tomorrow’s technology into the domain of artificial intelligence, or AI. Elements of it are already in use.
- Facebook feed
- Tesla electronic cars
- Siri and Alexa
Connected words and phrases employed in semantic SEO searches are linked with the AI movement, which does, after all, depend on topic modeling algorithms.
Google’s search processes have always moved toward natural conversation, so semantic SEO is the natural progression.
It is about providing interactive experiences for users and predicting user intent. This is where AI based natural language processing comes in. NLP is a technology that aims to allow computers to understand and be proficient in the human language, and is used by Google to help the algorithm serve us the best possible results for our queries.
Google’s Hummingbird algorithm recognizes the connection of keywords to each other and ranks web sites based on their relevance to search queries.
Hummingbird is a game-changer in that it almost demands more semantically driven SEO strategies.
There are ways you can use new language-driven SEO strategies to increase your rankings and possibly even boost your sales.
Semantic Search vs. Keyword Search
Change the way you think about your keywords in the new semantic search landscape. Try to incorporate LSI keywords, or latent semantic index-based words, from three different levels into your content, with each level performing a specific task.
- Level One—Core words that are quite similar to initial target keywords
- Level Two—Theme words that, while not synonyms to target and core words, have related concepts
- Level Three—Stem words that answer questions of users after they locate your page, such as “finding affordable Vermont homes” instead of “affordable Vermont homes.”
These three levels work together in targeted keyword searches to help users not only find what they want but also to deliver relevant content that answers related user questions.
There are available tools and resources for LSI keyword generating that can assist in your effort to incorporate semantically connected keywords and phrases. A keyword planner from Google AdWords may also help you.
Semantic Content Structure
In pursuing semantic writing strategies be sure to structure your sentences carefully, focusing them on nouns. Use the Subject Predicate Object format.
Language must sound natural, so read what you write out loud. While long-form content is great, keep your copy direct and concise so search engines and readers can understand your content easily.
Don't forget the value of schema markup. Organize structured data on your web pages using elements such as tagging and marking to help search engines read or crawl your pages.
Your content marketing strategy must incorporate relevant words as well as information that is easily understood and accessed to rank higher in search results.
Social media is ubiquitous in any discussion of online searches and SEO strategy. With Google’s Hummingbird, social networks take on even more importance in terms of personalization and search results pages.
Noticing not only the words used in social searches but also the essence of the search parameters is an essential aspect of incorporating semantic SEO into your overall marketing strategy.
SEO experts recommend that you pay attention to consumers’ social searches and incorporate their interests into the content you share on your social networks. This natural link will organically draw potential customers to you.
Thanks to the natural language processing behind Google’s Hummingbird algorithm, semantic SEO is here to stay. Today’s marketing strategies require close attention to details and to what users are searching for, but semantic searches go beyond this.
You must also understand and anticipate what users will be asking and answer those questions using layers of carefully devised keywords and value-added content.
Latent semantic analysis is taking algorithmic search engine results to another level. If you optimize your content strategies to keep up, your search rankings could rise dramatically as well.