When it comes to search engines, one of the most common people ask is, “How do you get a website to Google?” The simplest answer is search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO is a process of improving the website so that its pages become visible in search results. Let’s pretend that you want to sell used cars, and you want to boost your marketing strategies online. SEO ensures that when people type “used cars for sale” on the query box, your website appears.
SEO doesn’t guarantee you can sell—many factors can influence your success. However, it gives you one foot at the door, so to speak. The data from Moz suggests that links seen on the first page of the search results receive as much as 92 percent of the traffic. Traffic makes your potential buyers aware of your business.
SEO services are comprehensive since there’s no single method to do it. It can be a combination of both paid and unpaid strategies. Experts may perform off-page and on-page SEO. The process itself is also dynamic since Google’s rules, ranking factors, and algorithms can change.
But there’s one rule that hasn’t changed for a long time and has instead become the foundation for a more personalized search experience: semantics.
What Is Semantic Search?
Semantic search is a method of using both keyword and context in delivering the best search results for every query. This is the “law” that separates results for both Apple the company and apple the fruit.
Many years ago, when SEO was still young, the focus was heavy on the keywords the page wanted to rank. This led to bad techniques like keyword stuffing or repeating the same words many times in an article.
Because the motivation was to rank, the quality of the article was inferior as content marketers, and SEO specialists added the keywords even when they didn’t sound natural anymore. When consumers didn’t get valuable content, they couldn’t make better purchasing decisions. They also didn’t receive satisfaction in using Google.
Google doesn’t want that because, like any other business, it wants to please its customers, who are billions of Internet users. Otherwise, they would use other search engines. For this reason, it introduced the concept of semantics.
How Does It Work?
The primary keyword in Google semantics is “context.” First, what is the value of the keyword in relation to the brand, the whole theme of the site, and the information provided in the article?
Semantics eventually gave rise to different types of keywords, such as primary and secondary keywords. Marketers also need to use transactional or do keywords, navigational or go keywords, and informational or know keywords, which should support one another.
Using the example above, someone who’s selling used cars is likely to combine the following keywords in their webpages:
- Informational keyword: the best used compact sedans to buy in 2021
- Navigational keyword: Nissan compact sedans for sale
- Transactional keyword: buy the cheapest used Nissan compact sedans
Google also considers the context of the actual search query, which helps narrow the results further. It may look into the location of the user, for instance. This way, pages of dealers closest to them will appear first on the list.
The search engine may also track other searches the user made and bounce rate (percentage of visitors who enter and then leave the page without checking other pages). A high bounce rate could mean that the keyword and the content don’t satisfy the Internet users doing the query.
The Popularity of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
Does semantic search always get it right? The answer is no, and that’s the reason Google continues to tweak its algorithms. It also maximizes existing technologies to improve its services. These include machine learning and artificial intelligence.
These two words are often used interchangeably, and for Google, it could mean the same thing. Technically, though, artificial intelligence is the ability of technology like a search engine to think like humans, who are capable of associating words and other data to get the context in a conversation, for example.
Because of artificial intelligence, Google can now provide a slew of information the users may need without making them go through more pages in the search results. Internet users will then see videos, images, news, snippets, and related questions on the same page.
Artificial intelligence piggybacks on machine learning, which allows the system to learn from user behavior and searches over time. This explains why results can become more accurate.
In the end, there’s more to SEO than knowing what keywords to use and where to place them. It’s understanding how search results work, including how it uses the concept of semantics.