The Scoop on Semantic Search

Published by Designzillas on November 12, 2013

View it here!


By now, you know that search isn’t like it used to be. Search engine optimization used to be focused on simple link building and keyword usage. Now, with search engines getting smarter and streamlining the ability to understand the way that humans actually speak, searching for something on Google is more like having a simple conversation than typing in keywords.

These updates are great for users. Instead of typing in a string of words and hoping that the search engine gives you relevant links, you can type in an actual question. It’s almost like the iPhone’s Siri, except it doesn’t actually speak back to you. Check this out: I can type in “Where is the closest Starbucks?” and Google will read my location and show me locations and even a map of the Starbucks that are nearest to me.

 

WHAT’S YOUR INTENT?

 

But that’s not all Google is doing with semantic search. The ability to type in an actual question is great, but the entire purpose behind Google’s newest updates is so that it can understand user intent. It’s no longer all about singular keywords, but the context of these keywords! Google takes into account your location, the type of device you are using, and even search history in order to give you the kinds of answers that you want. With regular keyword-based search, you might search for something like “What will the weather be like on Friday?” and it would give you back very little. Semantic, or conversational search understands your location, the date, and the best sources for weather information in your area, including information straight from Google itself!

 

WAIT, FROM GOOGLE ITSELF? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

 

All of this is powered by Google’s Knowledge Graph. This has been around since 2012, but recent enhancements and updates such as Hummingbird are increasing its importance. The Knowledge Graph is Google’s own database of information — chances are you’ve already seen this in work. Go ahead, type in something like “What is 560,305 x 78.555?” or “What is Lady Gaga’s real name?” and Google will give you this information right away at the top of the search along with other links that might be relevant to your search.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR MY WEBSITE?

It means that SEO is changing. If you are still focusing on keywords and link building alone to boost your search engine ranking, you will fall behind. Google’s all about context now — user intent. Google exists to answer users’ questions the best it possibly can and give them answers that they might not even have known that they wanted. It’s getting smarter, and its algorithms are becoming more and more advanced. They can detect websites that aren’t creating exceptional content and answering users’ questions.

SO WHAT CAN I DO?

Stop trying to take the easy way out! The answer is simple: create exceptional content. Don’t totally forget about your keywords, but use them naturally throughout your website. In any marketing campaign, it’s absolutely essential that you know who your audience is and cater to them. Offer them content that answers their questions and makes their lives easier. If you do this on a consistent basis and continue to post and promote original, relevant, and fresh content, Google will notice! A website that is created for users is much more successful in drawing in leads and turning them into long-term, delighted customers.

SEARCH IS EVOLVING

It’s time to face it — search is changing. But it’s changing in a good way! It’s becoming more sophisticated and giving you more ways to delight and please your customers and leads. And it’s easier than you think. Just know who your customers are and give them what they want! With Google’s new semantic search, everybody wins.

 

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