What we type into the search bar determines the results that we see, right down to the phrasing we use. That’s where understanding semantic search becomes important for marketers.
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An explanation of semantic search
In the field of linguistics, semantics is the branch that studies the meanings of specific words. For instance, why do we choose one word over another? Why does a word take on a different meaning depending upon the other words it’s paired with? And how does that play out in search engines?
Semantic search helps search engines determine what people are looking for based on the phrasing of their searches. It doesn’t only consider keywords, but also the meaning of certain words paired together.
This means that Google wants to see that your text has contextual value, not just keyword value. While no one knows exactly the way the Google algorithm is set up to determine context, it’s able to deliver based on it to a certain extent.
For example, if you have location enabled on your device and search for “weather,” you’ll see a forecast for your area. But if you add the word “trends” onto that same search, you’ll see sites with more general weather-related information.
What semantic search means for marketing
When it comes to marketing, you need to start taking semantic search into consideration while you’re developing copy for your web pages, articles, blogs, landing pages, pay-per-click advertisements, and any other online channel. The more you understand the language—and the meaning behind the language—of your target customers, the stronger you’ll perform and the better your return on investment will be.
However, knowing that semantic search exists is only half the battle. It’s just as essential for your company to figure out how your copy presents your business, and whether or not it’s the right position within your industry.
If you want to improve your chances of ranking well with semantic search, here’s what you should keep in mind:
Start to better optimize each of your pages
How long has it been since you optimized your pages for keywords? Since you’ve researched search trends within your industry? If it’s been more than a few months, you may have outdated copy with keywords that aren’t relevant anymore.
Each of your pages should be optimized for a different long tail keyword, and that can include industry terms, location-based keywords, and any distinguishing features of your company. This is an ongoing process, but one that’s certainly worth your time when it helps you improve your company’s search engine rankings.
Make sure all aspects of your marketing are in sync
Don’t just consider how your website is performing when it comes to user experience and semantic search results. Think about all the other touchpoints you have on the web, such as your social media pages and your paid ad campaigns.
Are your other channels in line with your brand’s identity and messaging? Or do they seem out of touch? The more cohesive your marketing, the better you’ll do at building trust with potential and current customers.
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Get involved on social media
Speaking of social media, your business should be using at least one or two channels to engage with your customers. And by “engage,” we don’t just mean having an account on Facebook on Twitter, we mean actively using it to communicate with your followers.
Social media marketing isn’t going away—in fact, it’s only going to get more important in the coming months and years. If you’ve been neglecting social media, it’s time to revisit your strategy.
Write like a real person
Think about the language your potential customers use to find your products or services, and write copy on your site appropriately. If you’re not sure if you’ve done this, ask someone else to edit your work.
A beautiful and flowery piece might be more fun to write, especially if you’re inclined towards creative writing, but that’s probably not how your potential customers type when they search for businesses. Write in a straight forward manner, and create copy that directly addresses customer needs and questions.
Don’t forget about the other aspects of SEO
Semantic search is only part of the whole SEO, or search engine optimization, process. While you’re working on improving your pages for semantic searches, you should check on other important elements, like your sitemap, site architecture, and tags.
If you’re able to identify and fix any issues, you’ll improve your SEO as a whole—and that, in turn, will make you more successful in optimizing for semantic search.
Try coming up with different keyword “themes”
Are you trying to appeal to a variety of audiences? You may want to have different keyword themes for each type of audience, or simply vary your keywords by geographic location.
Drilling down into the context of different keywords can be a good exercise, especially if it helps you better understand your audience. And when you use that understanding to create better content, your company will reap the rewards.
Is your site optimized for semantic search?
Optimizing a site for search engines is a challenging process, especially when you take semantics into consideration. But at WebFX, we have years of experience doing just that.
If you’re ready to improve your SEO strategy, don’t hesitate to contact us! One of our strategists will be more than happy to discuss how our talented team can help your business attract more customers and generate more revenue.