Before we dig into SEO for Semantic Search, lets first understand why SEO, particularly semantic search is becoming more important. A lot of how we conduct business and digital marketing has changed since the Covid-19 pandemic. The need for social distancing, quarantine, and preemptive measures to stay home, work from home, study from home, has accelerated the digital big bang, forcing businesses to rethink digital and speed up digital transformation. At the same time, giving e-Commerce and related businesses such as logistics and messenger services, a giant boost.
After a year, many of the forced changes are quickly taking form and becoming the new norms and routine, making it somewhat easier for business leaders and entrepreneurs to more confidently forecast and develop plans.
How SEO Accelerates Growth?
The very first thing that many businesses are planning for with the newfound confidence is ‘how to accelerate business growth’ from its new low. Meaning how to ramp up business growth to pre-covid period, whether it spans over 1 year, 2 years or 5 years time.
One of the strategies that stand rock solid amongst other important strategies such as pricing strategy, to achieve growth when the economy is weak, is non-other than SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Technical vs Content SEO
SEO has been around for quite some time, but due to its complicated nature, that overlaps with practically every other digital marketing channel and strategies, it can be very difficult to fully grasps and make plans for.
To keep it simple, we’re going to split it into 2 parts: Technical SEO and Content SEO. Technical SEO has everything to do with the website’s code, such as where its stored (server/hosting), accessibility (cyber-security), quality of the code (loading speed), and so on and so forth.
Content SEO has everything to do with the visible parts of the website that visitors read and browse, such as text content, images, videos, podcasts, etc.
Now putting technical SEO aside, there are some key growth factors that are directly correlated with the quality of the content. The questions we should be asking ourselves is: What exactly does quality of the content mean?
SEO for Semantic Search
Search algorithms are made up of various ranking factors of varying weight. One important ranking criteria, regardless of which search engine we are optimizing for, is the concept of ‘intent’. For this article, we’re going to refer to Google search and what exactly does it mean to optimize for semantic search (understanding the search intent through content marketing).
- Topic Cluster. Instead of writing niche and highly specific and separated articles, design your article topics as a cluster. What this means, is to have a set of focus keywords, their synonyms and sub-categories, then write up articles that cover these topics, interlinking and referring to each other to further support the main topic idea you are conveying. For instance, if you’re focusing on smartphones, also have sub-topics on networks, essential smartphone applications and so on and so forth.
- Simple Structure that Answers Questions. Content and articles that are structured well, easy to read and understand. Instead of writing up your website content and article in paragraphs as you would a novel, make good use of sub-headings and adopt the FAQ or interview transcript styles. These tend to be easier to crawl and understood by search engines, thus giving these type of articles higher probability of getting indexed and ranking in the search results.
- Content Written for Humans. Avoid writing SEO content just for the sake of stuffing keywords and publishing as many articles as possible just to ramp up quantity. Well-structured content that is easy to grasps, by making good use of bullet points, hierarchy of headers with supporting images, graphs and videos are preferred by today’s crawlers and search engines. In other words, write for actual human readers, and these content will perform better for search engines as well.
Measuring Your Efforts
How would you know if your content writing efforts have been effective? One of the most common ways to measure is to check the article rankings and number of organic traffic it brings into the website over time.
Another important way to measure whether or not you have in fact optimized well for semantic search, is to see if your content shows up in the Google’s knowledge graph, whether it’s showing as a featured snippet, part of the search results Q&A section or other SERP features (Search Engine Result Page).