How To Get Results Using Semantic Search

How To Get Results Using Semantic Search

How do you improve your Google ranking in 2021? The days of relying on lots of keywords and mediocre backlinks to increase your Google ranking are long gone. So what should we do instead?

Google and her algorithms are always evolving. Computer technology is also evolving and changing the SEO landscape for the foreseeable future.

How?

Computer-based machine learning and natural language processing are advancing rapidly. This means that Google’s computers are seeking to understand the content on your pages in the same way that a human would.

Google’s John Mueller has stated that some of the main clues that Google used to look for are no longer as essential as we might think.

“You can use H1 tags as often as you want on a page. There’s no limit, neither upper or lower bound.

Your site is going to rank perfectly fine with no H1 tags or with five H1 tags.”

“Our systems don’t have a problem when it comes to multiple H1 headings on a page. That’s a fairly common pattern on the web.”

So, anyone wishing to improve their search engine ranking needs to turn their attention to semantic search.

 

What Is Semantic Search?

Semantic search describes a search engine’s attempt to generate the most accurate SERP results possible by understanding based on searcher intent, query context, and the relationship between words.

This is important as:

  • People say things and query things in different ways, languages, and tones.
  • Search queries can be ambiguous in nature.
  • There is a need to understand the relationships between words.

For example, if I ask my son, “what was the highlight of your day?” he might answer “my guitar lesson with Ray.”

If I then followed up and asked, “what time was it?” he would know that “it” refers to the guitar lesson. And if he said it was at school, I would know which it was the one and only high school in our town.

Semantic search also allows Google to distinguish between different entities (people, places, and things) and interpret searcher intent based on a variety of factors, including:

  • User search history.
  • User location.
  • Global search history.
  • Spelling variations.

This all helps Google in its goal to provide a better experience for its users by delivering quality and giving preference to relevant content results.

Semantic search works to drive much more than the answers to the questions that we ask.

  • Search for a plumber? Google knows your location and returns local results.
  • Search for “restaurants near me”? Google knows your location and returns local results.
  • Search for “corona”? Google understands the context. If it were a search made 12 months ago, you would have seen results about beer; now it is the virus.
  • Search for “Amazn”? Google knows that you misspelled Amazon and returns results accordingly. 

 

Moz use an example from The Simpsons.

Using semantics and entity-based search, engines can gain a better understanding of what users may want. For example, the image below shows a simplified illustration of what the data in an entity-based search algorithm would contain. It includes entities (people, places, things, concepts, or ideas) which are represented as nodes, and connected by their relationships as the arrows. The diagram shows how entity-based search seeks to connect various entities, in this case the individual Simpsons characters, which creates more depth to search responses.

 

So what should you do?

Lets look at a few ideas and some examples.

 

Write comprehensive and original content on topics within your expertise.

Don’t focus so much on keywords, as on excellent content that really helps people. Google’s computers understand synonyms and will equate them with the keywords you are tracking.

North Shore electrician, Jenco Electrical, write excellent content relating to saving money on your electricity costs. This is especially relevant over winter nd relates to real search queries that people are making. People also ask shows the following questions being asked on Google:

Write content than answers the question that  users are searching for

Use Google’s “People also ask” and “Related Searches” to find out what search queries people are making online. That will help you to write content that matches user intent.

people also ask
Google show you what answers people are looking for

Related Searches
Google knows what other questions people ask related to the original query

The more directly, authoritatively, informatively and helpfully you can answer, the better.

 

Search for long-tail keywords 

Use a keyword planning tool to find related long-tail keywords to include in your content. This will add depth to your writing.

Virtual Print use long-tail keywords to drive more traffic to their labels page.

This includes the following and more:

  • label printing online
  • label printing services
  • label printing machinery
  • custom stickers
  • printing product labels 
  • printing food labels
  • commercial label printing

This helps Google to know the variety of solutions that Virtual Print offer their customers.

Technical SEO

It is still worthwhile to add keywords to URLs, title tags, body, headings and metas, as these still guide Google in their search for understanding.

This includes structured data / schema markup, the speed of your site and backlinking.

Christchurch electricians, Skilled Electrical, recently updated their website. 

They took care to ensure the following aspects of technical SEO were thought of and executed from the beginning of their migration:

  • Speed: Their old site was slow so they required the developer to implement with speed in mind. They chose a WordPress theme that was light and fast. Images have been compressed.
  • URLS: all URLS are short, plain-english and descriptive so that both people and Google will understand them easily.
  • Keywords: Keywords are used in URLs, H1 and H2 headings, and meta descriptions. They are also used in very naturally occurring ways in the body of the page.
  • Links: Care has been taken to ensure that all of the pages on their website and internally to one another so that Google can find them easily.
  • Structured Data: Schema markup was included and updated from their previous site.
  • Redirects: Because the new site has fewer pages, 401 redirects were monitored for four weeks to ensure that all pages that have traffic were captured and redirected appropriately. 

Focus on User Experience

Google cares about user satisfaction, and they are continuously fine-tuning their algorithm to understand better and satisfy searchers.

This especially relates to page speed, being mobile responsive, and not turning your forms on the instant someone enters your page.

Don’t Forget E-A-T

At the end of the day, make sure you are giving Google every reason to consider you and your site experts in your fields, who consistently provide fresh and trustworthy content for your users.

 

Andrew Roughton

Andrew is an online marketing specialist, based in Hamilton, New Zealand, with personal experience in ecommerce startups. He originally trained as a computer programmer, and then accidentally drifted into adult/tertiary education where he held both teaching and executive roles. In that time he managed a multi-million dollar budget and around 90 staff in Auckland, Hamilton and Christchurch. His role included both domestic and international marketing. Andrew completed an MBA in 2012 which helped with the leadership and management of the business, as well as his ongoing personal involvement in developing and delivering online business education.