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Semantic SEO / Semantic Search - What dose it mean?
Semantic search is the pinnacle of search technology in modern times, it refers to search results that are heavily influenced by the user's search history rather by the exact matched keywords of the highest authority pages that contain that specific keyword.
For example. If I search for the keyword "black sea" Google won't deliver me the Wikipedia page with information about the Black Sea on the first result, it will deliver me on the first results a local restaurant named the Black Sea as well as a tech supplier I interested with in the past. This is semantic search.
For course the example I've given above is the basic idea behind a semantic search. Google will take into account a lot more factors trying to guess the user's intent and need. It will also look at what other people are searching for and how they are searching for it as well as what type of searches are being made on a local (geographic) level.
All these factors are linked to Google's 2013 Hummingbird update.
Here is how SEO evolved over the years:
- 1993+ -> Meta data based SEO focusing on search engines and not people;
- 1998+ -> SEO based on link building and exactly matched anchors;
- 2005+ -> SEO was all about domain authority and backlinks coming from relevant niched sources;
- 2009+ -> Social media starts influencing the SEO world through social signals;
- 2013+ -> The birth of Semantic SEO.
So, starting with 2013 every keyword haves a different meaning to Google depending on the user that is making the search, the location of the user, what are other people searching as well as a cumulus of other factors Google isn't telling us about.
In the end, all this data hoarding done by Google has created its own data base full of useful information. This has lead to the birth of the Knowledge Graph.
The Knowledge Graph is a Google based information card inside search results. This feature has evolved a lot since 2012 when it was introduced. I think the end goal for Google is to have users hang around its own servers as much as possible. Keep in mind these knowledge graphs as well as all the Google snippets providing instant answers and answering questions directly in search result pages will eventually (and already does) influence our own amount of traffic we will be getting from Google.
The future isn't very bright for the most popular based queries as well as basic popular information. Second parties (websites) will stop getting traffic from such queries because Google will provide the answer directly from the search results pages. This together with the AMP, Google My Business, as well as the countless other features Google offers is designed to keep users using GOOGLE and nothing else, Google aims for a total monopoly over the internet and the only thing is stopping Google from doing that at the moment is the lack of a strong social media network, like it or not Facebook is still a serious competitor with huge potential.
As far as implementing semantic SEO I recommend implementing the following strategies:
- Use latent semantic keywords or LSIs in your content, make sure you implement a proper research before you do so. Keep in mind the number of average searches those LSI keywords get don't really matter;
- Implement the LSI keywords in your meta data (title tag and meta description);
- Research for other keywords your competitors may rank for;
- Keep in mind the keywords used in the local search arena;
- Make sure your business has a Google My Business account as well as a business info card when you do a search on your brand's name;
- Have a persona strategy build for you niche an industry. Try to understand the types of potential customers you may have and what exactly they want to see/need/buy.