SEO

Semantic Search Changes the Rules of the SEO Game

Semantic search algorithm
Written by Roberto Mazzoni

Semantic search is clearly defined by Tamas Doszkocs one of the US experts in the field. “Semantic search is a search or a question or an action that produces meaningful results, even when the retrieved items contain none of the query terms, or the search involves no query text at all.” So the effort of modern search engines is to understand the query rather than just taking terms literally.

This reduces the impact of the “all important” keywords and increases the weight of the presumed reputation and usability of the web site. The goal is to increase the overall user’s satisfaction. So the new algorithms can locate links which contain the most accurate solutions for the individual user. Google doesn’t try to just locate information. It strives to provide reasonable results in the form of data, video, audio or text.

Understanding the True Intentions of the User

In order to go beyond the analysis of keywords as such, the search engine needs to understand the real intentions of the user. This effort is also explained by the fact that a vast majority of keywords used in searches are not actually exploited by Google in its Adwords program. The vast majority of searches use long tail keywords and these are seldom uses by advertisers because they carry too little traffic.

This produces losses in advertising income for Google and also reduces its overall effectiveness. The semantic search algorithm finds selected “authoritative” content even when the user is looking for something else.

While this can be beneficial in some cases, it can also become a way of effectively hiding content which is relevant but not “authoritative”.

Whatever is your approach to content marketing and publishing, you can’t ignore the shift toward Artificial Intelligence. The RankBrain algorithm is the core of this new approach. It uses machine-learning technology to develop its algorithm on its own. Therefore it doesn’t depend on human input and it doesn’t require detailed programming.

It operates in parallel though with the earlier Google algorithm named Hummingbird that is definitely more centered around keywords and backlinks. And which is definitely susceptible to human intervention. Google operators can assign penalties to sites which they consider spam or that they believe contains unreliable information. They can also grade a site based on its perceived authority.

When Does RankBrain Really Kick In?

There are three areas where you can perceive the effect of semantic search in ranking your content:

  1. Good quality content that delivers value to the end user
  2. Websites that offer an excellent user experience, are easy to navigate and have valuable content
  3. Brands and businesses are well known on the web and mentioned in Blogs and social networks
  4. Content from a specific brand that is shared on social networks
  5. Strong personal interaction with visitors that mimics a person-to-person relationship
  6. Fresh and current content, provided it is relevant to the current online conversation and it is really informational (not just advertising)

According to semantic SEO experts, you can build a strong online presence by just mastering these 6 points. You should be able to emerge even if you are targeting keywords that are already competitive. Seeing the 6 points above in action, RankBrain will lift your ranking even if you are relatively new.

Remember that content has to be engaging, accessible and informative. Therefore you must be familiar with your market or niche. You need to be able to explain things in a way that people can understand and are willing to share. You web site has to be mobile-friendly, fast, with the proper structure and with an clear interface. We have already published an introduction to the general tenets of semantic SEO. It is a technique that needs to become part of your content marketing efforts.

Roberto Mazzoni

 

 

About the author

Roberto Mazzoni

Author, technology journalist, blogger and international entrepreneur.

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