It used to be that including keywords in tags and content was a surefire way to improve your site’s visibility in search results. However, Google is once again changing the landscape of SEO with the idea of semantic search. Instead of targeting specific keywords, the powerful search engine is now attempting to discern the context of the words and phrases that users type in when they’re looking for something.
The Rise of Semantic Search
Semantics is the science of meaning in language, and that’s exactly what Google is using to deliver the most relevant results possible based not only on keywords but also on what those words mean.
Google doesn’t just recognize words when users are searching; it also looks for patterns and makes suggestions based on similar searches. Semantics takes this a step farther to deliver results based on what a user actually wants. That means you can’t simply drop keywords into the content you create and hope that they’ll get your page noticed. You have to take into account what people are looking for and how that influences their choice of search terms.
Keyword Research: Still Necessary?
If Google is looking at context rather than individual keywords and phrases, it may seem like keyword research is a waste of time. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Keyword research is not only still important; it may be more important than ever before.
The approach for choosing keywords with semantic search in mind is similar to traditional keyword research. You find a core group of words and phrases that your target audience is likely to be looking for and use it as the basis for your content creation strategy. Then you take those keywords and build a “semantic theme” around them, using supporting phrases that convey the intended meaning.
Ultimately, the goal of semantic keyword research is the same as traditional keyword research: to attract the attention of your target audience, bring them to your site and get them to follow through on a particular action such as a purchase. As you research, you’ll gain a greater understanding of who your audience is, how they think and how to apply that knowledge to content creation.
Creating Semantic-Friendly Content
Google’s use of semantic search doesn’t change the fact that all of your content should be produced with a specific purpose. Always write with your audience in mind rather than trying to pander to search engines. Use your core keyword phrases naturally and employ supporting phrases that convey meaning. When you speak the language your customers are speaking, they’ll feel that they can connect with your business and will want to come to you when they need your products and services.