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What is Semantic Search?

For most companies, climbing up the ranks of Google tends to involve using some sort of SEO. This entails marketers adding in predicted “keywords” into company blogs and content to make it rise higher up the search engine results pages (SERPs). It’s a wonderful way to help small and medium businesses, that don’t have the advertising budgets of the big boys, get their name out there. 

But semantic search means content must be more relevant and higher quality. 

What is Semantic Search?

Semantic search can completely revolutionize the way SEO is undertaken. That’s because semantic search is about how search engines contextualize meanings. As well as how they consider the intent of the phrases typed into the search bar. It’s about understanding how search engines will comprehend and translate phrases to bring up the most relevant results. 

Search engines are much more complex than they used to be, and now use highly intelligent algorithms to find the best result. For example, say someone searched for “Joomla vs WordPress”. Before, the search would probably have brought up the actual websites as the first two results. Now it brings up companies or posts discussing the actual differences between the two, and expert user opinions on how each one works. 

It’s always  about finding the most relevant results for the searcher. 

Why is it Important? 

In the modern age, everything is done quickly. And there is a whole world of information out there. So, when a person searches something, there is an expectation to bring back results that provide instant information. 

People may search for something specific like “online collaboration tools for customer support”. But they may also type in something vague like “customer support tools”. Accounting for semantic search in SEO makes sure that your pages are displayed, either way. 

Also, think about how people use search engines today. They might ask a voice assistant a general question about a TV program they like. Or they may do a quick Google search for the best hybrid cloud from their phones. 

So, if a company wants to be the best firm out there, they need to adapt to this new way customers use the internet. Which means understanding how the ins and outs of semantic search can benefit your SEO.

It’s also important to think, too, that people don’t often use the same language as the results they hope for. For example, a user may type in “ecommerce analytics”. To a human, this could mean anything from knowing how many people have visited a retail site to sales figures. 

However, thanks to algorithms, search engines will bring more precise results about what it means and how to set up analytics platforms. So modern SEO needs to be reflecting this. 

What Affects Semantic Search? 

Semantic search is about the meaning behind the search, rather than matching the keywords together. So, two main elements affect semantic search. These are meaning and intent. 

1. Meaning. 

The whole essence of semantics in general is understanding the meanings behind a word or phrase. In the context of SEO, that’s rather than merely what people are literally searching. By undertaking SEO that accounts for the true meaning behind search terms, companies can produce much richer and more relevant content. This is content that also reflects on the context of the search. This helps create a successful online brand that understands its customer's needs and wants. 

2. Intent. 

This is more about why the person is conducting the search they are. It could be that they want to learn something, to buy something, or to get quick information. Again, by understanding what a person’s intent is, search engines can provide much better results. And, just as pertinently, content creators can produce material that better answers the intent.   

How to Optimize SEO for Semantic Search 

If you want to create content that’s optimized for semantic search, there are several points to consider. 

1. Themes.  

The whole point of semantic search is that it steps away from simply using keywords. Instead, it focuses on using themes and topics to try to get into the mind of the user. So, if you want your firm to be the top result, consider the themes that go along with keywords. 

For example, say a user searches “other free apps like Slack and Flock”. The content you create should talk about the importance of team communications. As well as mentioning alternative apps, too. 

2. Intent. 

When considering user intent, really put thought into why a user might be searching for that point. Then, create content that answers their intent. That way, not only will more people click on your pages, but they’ll also stay longer, and be more likely to convert. 

Again, put yourself in the mind of the user and think about what they may also be trying to search for. This means adding in related keywords to the current keywords you have. For example, let's say your target keyword is “beautiful flowers”. You should also create content that uses keywords such as “beautiful houseplants” or “meaningful gifts”. 


Understanding semantic search as you implement your marketing strategy makes sure that you are keeping up with modern SEO trends. More importantly, it also ensures that you are providing relevant content that keeps site visitors happy. With semantic search playing such a big role in the future of SEO, now is the perfect time to get to grips with how it works.

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