Q: What exactly is a semantic search and how do I make my webpages semantic search friendly?
A: Over the years, we have seen search engines evolving & becoming more user friendly. Even the search has become more personal, interactive, and predictive. Semantic search, introduced with Google’s Hummingbird is at the forefront of these chances. The idea behind semantic search is to offer more relevant results to users without limiting the search to just keywords.
Let’s understand semantic search in a better way.
When the user types something into a search engine, he gets more results than just the ones that contain the exact keywords types in the search box. Semantic search improves the search accuracy by understanding the intent of the searcher as well as the contextual meaning of the terms a user is entering in the box to generate more relevant results.
Refines the search query
Extracts entities as answers
Predicts search queries
Personalizes the search results
Provides a more conversational and dialog based search result
Semantic Search and SEO
Keyword data was very specific and critical during old age SEO. However, things have changed with time. With semantic search, we are moving to a world where the exact search terms are important and so is the context & intent behind the question.
Semantic SEO works the same way like keyword-based SEO, but you will have to research for more than just keywords. Consider using modifiers, supporting terms, and may be synonyms in content, headers, and titles.
If you are in travel industry and have offerings for flights running from location 1 i.e. New York to another destination, you can have the page content optimized for this kind of search.
The patent also has examples of query templates, map information, stock price information, weather information, etc. So, check out the patent on the Google page to optimize the page for user intent.
Aligning SEO with Social Media Campaign
Search “across my world” or “across my user profile” is also becoming popular. If you are new in a city, you can ask Google Now for the best Italian restaurants nearby or may be a budget hotel in the locality.
I would recommend you to pay attention to social search as social media is sending strong signals to search engines. By discovering the interest graph of your target audience and leveraging on it, you can create content and get more visitors to the page.
The crux is to identify the social audience and their interest areas & create content around it.
Appropriate Semantic Markup
Your webpages must have a structured data markup. My suggestion is to pay attention to the markup vocabulary from schema.org, as major search engines recognize it.
There are various tools available to help webmasters in adding this HTML mark-up to their pages.
Not Forgetting the Standard SEO Techniques
The standard SEO techniques such as page load time optimization, website architecture & sitemap optimization, and cross platform optimization still play an important role. While you are following the semantic search rules, implement them along with the traditional SEO strategies.
The Key Takeaway
If you want to succeed the art of semantic search, identifying individuals is something you need to focus on. Also, I would suggest you to use Latent Semantic Indexing to find semantically relevant keywords & phrases. Semantic is the future of search and webmasters introducing it in their SEO practices will surely see better results moving forward.
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The author is a first generation entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of India’s most award winning SEO Agency, PageTraffic. He also works as an advisor and consultant with many large companies. He helps value-conscious businesses build site traffic increase the user base, and boost web sales and bolster customer satisfaction. He can be reached @navneetkaushal on Twitter