What is Semantic SEO?
A simple sentence or two will not be sufficient to describe this sea-change in search engine optimization. Think of semantic as “meaning” and link it to ideas of value, authority and viewer intent and context and you will begin to see the significance of semantic SEO.
In more formal terms the word semantic is commonly defined as “…the branch of linguistics that deals with the study of meaning, changes in meaning, and the principles that govern the relationship between sentences or words and their meaning” (Source: Dictionary.com) So,in essence semantics is concerned with holistic and coherent patterns of meaning and, for SEO purposes, the way that meaning is constructed by the searcher and interpreted by the search engine.
Semantic SEO is best described by these quotes that sum up something of what it is all about “ Semantic search is about identifying intent and contextual meaning” and ” In the future the web will be driven by users not by content” ( from Sharon Hurley Hall).
There is obviously a lot to discuss and understand here. Firstly, it is clearly a radical shift from straightforward keyword based search and optimization. Google and other search engines have developed more intelligent algorithms that are able to ascertain intent and context in their search results. What this means in one sense is that, notwithstanding the words being types into the search box, the search engine has already gleaned an indication of context and intent on the part of the searcher from his or her online habits and history. However, as many pundits are at pains to point out, this does not mean the end of keyword research in SEO – it does mean that the keywords now have to be considered in context and in terms of the overall Gestalt or inclusive meaning of the search intention.
Besides all the theory, the BIG question of course is how do we come to terms with and apply Semantic SEO? What do we need to do?
On one level there is only one way to to succeed. This is by producing quality content that is authoritative and that provides value to your viewers and clients – and develops trust in a certain field or area of interest. Take for example a point made in the infographic below: that search results will be based not on keywords alone but by ascertaining( via complex algorithms) what the user is searching for in order to produce better and more accurate results.
The point that should be stressed is that in Semantic SEO there are no economical short cuts or quick and dirty tricks; which is precisely why Google has taken this route to reduce spammy and poor search results. It is still theoretically possible to “game’ the system but it has also become too costly or time consuming to do so.
In short “… Google is not just about simply discovering information any more it’s about ordering the web into a coherent flow of information; how topics, themes, ideas, text, video, audio, all of it is connected and relate to each other.” Understanding this statement leads to a host of related topics such as structured data markup, schema and knowledge which we will discuss in future blog posts.