Boosting Content Strategy with Semantic SEO

Semantic SEO is a relatively new SEO strategy that involves using semantic connections between your words to improve organic rankings. The catch here is that search engines like Google are moving in this direction and future-proofing your business is a priority to have an edge over competitors.

Semantic SEO has become a robust strategy with great ROI ever since Google introduced BERT.

So What Are Semantics And Relevance?

How do we humans understand the meaning of a new word? One could say just by understanding the content around it. Let me elaborate with an example.

Take the word – pilferer. May be some of us know the meaning of it, some of us try to understand the meaning of it through the way it is used in the conversation.

“He’s a compulsive pilferer. Everywhere he goes, stuff disappears into his pockets. Last week, he walked out of the store with a pack of gum without paying for it. He doesn’t even like gum!”

Though you don’t know the meaning you have figured out what the word means by understanding the content in which it used and through the other words that describe it,

…stuff disappears into his pockets… walked out of a store… without paying for it

Yet, none of these words are synonymous with thief.

Welcome to next evolution of search engines – semantics

These days Search engines have evolved to work in a similar fashion. We all know that the ability of search engines to understand language is no better than a 6th grader. So, the algorithms have evolved to understand what the page is all about based on the concepts and theme.

They using surrounding text to “understand” how relevant a page is to the search term. Apple is a good example. With just the word without surrounding context, you could mean:

  • A fruit
  • The company
  • A desert

The SEs decide what you mean by surrounding text:

  • The fruit – taste, plum, seeds, Granny Smith
  • The company – iPhone, iTunes, MacBook
  • Desert – Candied apple, cake, cobbler

Without these surrounding words, all you get on (at least) the first two pages is information about Apple – the company.

Let’s look at a search for White House. This doesn’t necessarily mean the US capital. This might be simply about a “white” “house.” So the system would look for things such as President of the United StatesBiden and so on … you get the idea.

What does this mean to you?

When you write an article, blog or web page, reread with an eye on semantic value. Consider what you’ve written about when linking. The worst thing you can do for your site and your visitors is write a whole bunch of words and then throw a keyword or two in there. Frankly, it just makes for crap.

It’s all about relevance, but relevance doesn’t necessarily mean just similar words or even words that mean the same thing(i.e. SEO and search engine optimization). Create a list of words you might use to support your key terms like using:

  • exercise to support Pilates
  • PPC to support conversions
  • cat to support jaguar (David’s example)
  • Granny Smith to support apple

If you take the time to make sure your SEO efforts – whether it’s writing Meta data or building links – include supporting words, you’ll end up building a rare thing: a tightly focused website with excellent links, strong ranking and content your readers can understand.

So, right now, I challenge you to look at your site, your articles, blogs, links, what have you, keeping semantics in mind. Do your keywords get the support they need?

Entities – Building Blocks of Semantic SEO

Where To Find Entities

Entities are everywhere and play the biggest part in the process. Our advice to find lists of entities is to look in the following places:

  • Wikipedia pages, especially in English. These pages are often used to populate the Knowledge Graph so you can be sure they are important. 
  • Competitors ranking in top positions. There is a reason why they have the throne, try to understand what they say and how.
  • Google Images suggestions, the grey boxes 
  • Knowledge Graph, you can query it via an interface or via the API (you need coding for this)
  • Google Trends and Related Search Trends
  • Google Autocomplete Data
  • Common sense. If an entity is missing but makes sense for the topic, pretend it exists. 

The idea is to cover as many topics as possible while preserving the logic for the user. However, recall that this is an exercise to spot what to include and to find sweet spots that you can exploit. Deep expertise in the topics can make this process shorter.