Understanding Semantic Searches

Understanding Semantic Searches

Nick Fitzgerald Blogging, Content Creation, News, Research, SEO, Tips & Tricks

Recent changes in search engine algorithms has meant that previously effective strategies of running an SEO campaign are becoming less relevant. Search engines are now becoming wiser to contextual searching and user intent.  Nowadays, web content should be geared more towards people and less towards machines.

A decade ago, SEO campaigns were more concerned with backlinks and the inclusion of large amounts of keywords in order to rank higher – but this has changed with the arrival of semantic search.

What is a semantic search?

Semantic searches are a different way to generate more natural and accurate search engine results by using three criteria:

  1. The intent of the user.
  2. Putting the search query in context.
  3. The connections between different words.

How do you prove a user’s intent when using search engines? An educated guess could be made based on many factors including:

  • the user’s search history and location
  • the search history of the user’s country
  • commonly misspelled words
  • the time of day/month/year

For example, an American user searching for “hustun biever” is probably looking for “Justin Bieber” based on the proximity of the letters on the keyboard, as well as the singer’s popularity in the US.

How semantic search overtook keyword search

Semantic search has come about through two developments: improvements in Google’s algorithm and the increasing popularity of voice searches.

Two key updates to Google’s search engine algorithm have been Hummingbird and RankBrain. Rolled out in 2013 and 2015 respectively, the developments were different from previous iterations as they led to the prioritization of pages which matched the meaning of the search, rather than matching only a few keywords.  RankBrain is a machine learning system that is both a website ranker and a smart query analysis AI. It is able to learn from its own predictions to produce more accurate searches the more data it is fed. It is always learning, analyzing the best-performing search results, and finding similarities between the pages that users are staying on for longer. The result is continual improvement in the quality of Google’s search engine results.

Semantic search has evolved due to the rising popularity of voice search. Using voice commands on devices used “frequently” or “very frequently” by 33 percent of high-income households, according to recent research. This has improved the search rankings of content with a more conversational tone, and content which gives the user what they are looking for more efficiently.

Hearing health digital marketing strategy in an age of semantic search

Now that you understand how important semantic search is becoming, how can you best leverage it for your hearing aid practice’s digital marketing campaigns?

A good overall aim is to prioritize informative, unique and high-quality content in your website blog. Exact keywords are getting less important. They still have their place but their relevance is waning, with good quality content now being more valuable.  Your content needs to be focused on a particular topic as search engines are now more sophisticated and take the meaning of your content into huge consideration.

Try to understand why the user would want to visit your website. User intent is more important in the age of semantic search. This is the idea of making content that speaks to their intent and not just their exact keyword. Are your potential customers wondering if they might have hearing loss? They may have already decided to get their hearing tested but are concerned with what is involved in a hearing exam. Specific content targeted at these particular groups of search engine users are what’s needed.

Finally, your content should have more ‘long tail keywords’. These are keyword phrases that contain at least three words and are used to target specific users rather than the majority of searchers. As they are more specific, they help you rank higher in search results and tend to attract focused users which are more likely to be converted into clients for your practice.

AuDSEO understands the importance of semantic search and uses high quality content based on the strategies above to successfully boost the visibility of your hearing practice. To learn more about how we can help your business, contact us today!