What is semantic search and how to use it?

What is Semantic Search

The objective of the semantic search is to improve the accuracy of the results by understanding the intention of the researcher using factors other than the keyword – in the case of Google, there are more than 200 of them

If you studied communication, the term semantics is likely to refer to college classes. Or, even, to the school’s English classes.

However, in addition to the better-known interpretation, according to which semantics is the “branch of linguistics that studies the meaning of words”, the term has gained new relevance on the internet in recent years.

Search engines, like Google, are said to have become semantics.

But what is semantic search?

And what changes when it is applied to search engines?

Should we change the way we produce content to continue ranking our texts?

We will answer these questions in this post!

What is semantic search

Semantic search is when several sources are used to perform a search, not just the keywords.

The term semantics, as we said in the introduction, refers to the meaning or essence of something. When applied to search, the concept is related to the study of words and their logic.

The objective of the semantic search is to improve the accuracy of the results by understanding the researcher’s intention. For this, the semantic search system uses data such as location, a variation of words, synonyms, among others.

What is the origin of the semantic search?

The semantic search arises from the idea of ​​the semantic web – a term that, in turn, was created by Tim Berners-Lee, James Hendler and Ora Lassil.

In 2001, scientists published an article describing the possibility of computers and humans working in cooperation, connecting meanings of words and giving meaning to content published on the internet.

But, although there has been talked of semantic search since years before, the first major practical breakthrough occurred in 2013, with the update that Google named Hummingbird. At the time, we talked about what it represented in the post What changes in SEO with the new Google update, Hummingbird.

In a nutshell, the novelty made search results more precise for users, with Google going beyond the keyword and considering not only the searched terms but synonyms, context and more complex factors, such as the user’s location and searches previous actions carried out by him.

Hummingbird has broadened the search possibilities to a world of semantic factors. Google currently uses more than 200 factors to deliver results to users. It is impossible to know everyone, but it is known that user behavior affects them.

What are the benefits of semantic search?

For those looking for it, the answer is simple: the semantic search is much more accurate.

But there are also advantages to search engines. Offering search results with less spam, more knowledge of user intent and more conversation allows users to have a better experience.

Through data connection, the search promptly answers questions such as “what is the mass of the sun?”.

In the same way, when we search for the famous phrase I’m sorry, Dave , spoken by the computer HAL in the film 2001: An odyssey in space , the search engine returns not the name of the character, but also the title of the feature.

If I search, for example, for nicknames like “Floripa”, Google understands that it is Florianópolis and shows results for both terms:

Taking into account the user’s intent and data, it is possible to offer much more appropriate results.

And, for adequate results, we understand not those that contain only many keywords and optimized titles (although this remains important), but that are aligned with the user’s intentions.

How does semantic search influence content production?

Ok, semantic search is a reality and just spreading keywords across your posts is no use anymore. What to do to apply this information?

1. Produce quality content

When it comes to content production focused on semantic search, keep in mind that you must produce quality content. Google needs to know immediately what your material is about in order to recommend it to people.

By producing good content you become an authority in your market and are much more likely to be referred by Google.

Determine what you want to be known for, and from there, choose the keywords you want to rank for. See who occupies this space and try to do better!

In addition, if your content is of low quality you will not have good results not only in relation to Google, because, even if you manage to rank, people will not be satisfied or share your posts or materials.

2. Produce content that answers the questions of your target audience

Create content that doesn’t talk about your company, but answers the questions of your potential customers, attracting traffic and gaining authority. Sites like Answer the public help to discover the questions that people ask in search engines on various subjects.

User intent also matters much more in times of semantic search. Make sure that the content you produce has a clear focus – creating a persona can help get into your prospect’s mind by producing content that is specifically tailored to their needs.

3. Write for people

When writing your content, use natural language: use phrases in simple order, which facilitate understanding – both from the public and the search engine. The text must have a purpose and give direct answers to the public.

To make sure the text is clear and straightforward, a tip is to read it out loud when you’re done writing.

4. Add internal links

Adding internal links (those directed to other pages on your own site) is also a way of indicating content that has a correlation with yours, improving the user experience. In addition, internal links generate a path between one page and another, which transfers authority to the site.

It is recommended to use between 2 and 5 internal links in each publication, but the number may vary according to the density of each text. The ideal is to insert them only when it makes sense and without generic indications, such as “click here” or “in this post”. If possible, add them on top of the keyword.

As we have already talked about here on Blogger Cage many times, the main idea should always be to offer the user the best content and the best possible experience. The better it is, the better your site will be considered by search engines.

Semantic search is already a reality, so the best thing to do is to follow good practices. 🙂

And you, what is your experience with the semantic search? Leave your comment!

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