Google is building a new ballpark, and one of the building blocks is semantic search.
In the old days, content writers were required to embed blatant signals within content in order to have it rank for specific search terms.
These signals were keywords, headers and alt tags, to name a few. Searchers typed in a search term, and if you had matching keywords in your content, the search engine would list your content in the results. In the last few years, Google has notably changed the nature of this ballgame, so much so, that to play the game, it is necessary to play in a completely new ballpark.
Google has spent the last few years making major changes to the way the search engine operates. Waves of filters and algorithms have reorganized how results are produced for searchers. Much of the blatant content is gone, either extremely far down in the results list or deleted from search altogether. Google’s computer engineers have developed techniques to refine and educate the search engine mechanism to the point where it uses a type of artificial intelligence to dish up results.
One of the most interesting developments is semantic search. Semantic search is not brand new; it began to be a factor a couple of years ago. When introduced, it was still somewhat clunky. Similar to a newborn learning to walk, it missed at least as many times as it delivered. However, in the last couple of years, developers have improved semantic search capabilities dramatically.
What is semantic search?
Semantic search is the ability of a search engine to determine what you mean when you search for something and provide you with results that don’t necessarily match the words you used in your search query. (Google)
Now, in 2014, semantic search has become a major factor in search results. Some SEO experts are advising that keywords are no longer necessary. In my personal opinion, I believe that keywords still have a value, but reduced. It certainly doesn’t hurt to signal Google with keywords, but beating them over the head with it will get your content devalued or deleted from search.
Content writers are now learning to embed semantic SEO within their content. Semantic SEO involves using multiple descriptive words within the context of their content that relate to the topic. What is compelling about this method is that only the best content writers can produce good semantic SEO content. It takes an excellent vocabulary, superb writing skills and intelligence to enrich content with multiple descriptive terms. It requires research and depth of knowledge.
As Google continues to move towards semantic search, writers will be able to hone their skills and create content meant to enrich people instead of content that will please search engines. When you hire a freelance writer to create content for your site, remember that the best writers will provide you with content that will show up in more semantic search results, bringing in more traffic to your business and money in your pocket.
Paula A is a freelance writer who works with a cup of coffee at her side to keep herself fueled. When she is not writing, editing or drinking coffee, she is chauffeuring her family to activities, making jewelry, trying recipes or making a quick run for a hazelnut latte.