The way people search for things on the internet has and continues to change and evolve. And because of that, Google and other search engines have had to adapt to ensure they provide users with the very best experience. With that in mind, semantic SEO has become more important in terms of organic search rankings.
What is semantic SEO?
Semantic SEO involves writing content that is optimised around topics, rather than just individual keywords to bring more meaning and topical depth into website content.
Semantic search is about understanding the meaning of the query instead of simply looking for literal matches. By understanding the user intent within a specific context, search engines can provide users with more helpful search results. Because when we’re talking about semantics, we’re talking about the meaning behind the language we use.
“The word “child” can mean “kid”, “son”, or “daughter”—all these words technically mean a “child” but each has its own subtle shade of meaning.”
What that means in terms of SEO is that you can rank for words or phrases that are semantically linked to specific search queries.
For example, when you search the phrase “dog food for sensitive stomach” the top search results is this:
It makes sense as our specific keywords are found exactly in the result. However, we also get these results:
And this is because Google knows that phrases such as “stomach issues” “upset stomach” and “dog throwing up” are all semantically related to our search query and may be useful to us.
How semantic SEO improves organic rankings
When it was in its infancy, Google’s ranking algorithm was far less advanced. The crawlers it used just looked for specific keywords on a page in order to determine the content’s meaning and the page’s relevance.
However, after numerous updates and advancements, Google’s algorithm has advanced to a point where it now adopts a more human-like and semantic approach to understand and rank web content.
As Search Engine Journal explains, this means that Google can crawl a piece of content and understand not only the topic it covers, but the related subtopics, terms, and entities and how all of those various concepts are related.
This means for digital marketers and content writers, implementing semantic SEO gives you a better chance of ranking organically for a certain keyword, phrase or topic. You may even get featured in the “People Also Ask” box or as the coveted featured snippet which means you’re pretty much ranking above position one.
This is because Google is always trying to make search better for users. User experience is always and will always remain their number one priority.
And because users aren’t usually just searching for one specific answer when using Google, often trying to understand a given topic with more depth and get as much information as possible, Google will reward content that does this well.
Core benefits of semantic SEO
Specific benefits of semantic SEO include:
- Google and users see you as a trusted authority on certain topics
- Increased organic rankings and traffic
- Increased opportunity for internal linking
- Users are likely to spend longer on your site
How to write content for semantic SEO
The first thing you need to do is understand why someone is searching for whatever they’re searching for – and understand it on a deeper level.
Once you’ve done this you can include additional elements in your content.
Google’s “People Also Ask” box is a great way to include semantically linked content in your piece as seen in our “dog food for sensitive stomach” example.
Writing content for semantic SEO purposes is really about trying to anticipate other questions or queries users might have and answering them in your content.
The search algorithm is also trying to anticipate the next query that the user has, so adopting this approach will help you understand what you have to do.
For example, someone searching for “what is white hat SEO?” is in all likelihood, interested in not only knowing that specific query, but other related queries such as:
- Different white hat SEO techniques
- Benefits of white hat SEO
- What is black hat SEO?
- Which is better white hat SEO or black hat SEO?
So if you were looking to rank for the initial query, it’s beneficial to include the subsequent queries in your content too.
Get help with your semantic SEO strategy
We are a digital marketing agency in Manchester who can help you with your semantic SEO strategy. As a specialist SEO agency, we work with clients across all sectors to improve their organic search rankings, boost traffic and increase conversions and we have an in-house content team who work alongside the SEO strategies to ensure we help you meet your organic targets. Contact us to find out more information.