Brands today constantly strive to create a website full of compelling content to attract an audience and please search engine algorithms.
From blog posts to landing pages to enticing product or service purchase pages, it takes a lot of thought and a lot of words.
Just when you think you have it all figured out, competitors slip past you, ranking higher up on search engine result pages (SERPs). If only you had a guide for what to do and what not to do, right?
Well, in a way, you do. It’s called practicing Semantic SEO.
While your main focus needs to be on your targeted audience, speaking to their wants, needs, and pain points, so too do you need to consider search engine algorithms.
This dual focus is where semantics and your SEO strategy come into play.
Keep reading to learn more.
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What Exactly is Semantic SEO?
Semantics is the study of language and the meaning behind the various words and sentences we use every day.
Semantic SEO, then, must include the right language to reach your intended audiences. It takes you beyond a simple keyword strategy to creating in-depth content on a particular topic.
Search engine algorithms are increasing their ability to better understand user intent, and your content now needs to speak to both the wording of a query and also the intent behind that query — answering questions beyond just the one.
While this may sound like you need to do some mind reading, in reality, clues abound in the initial queries themselves.
Semantic SEO requires you to put more meaning into each piece of content you share, improving the search experience.
The searcher, in turn, receives more in-depth, responsive information
and has no need to go elsewhere for answers.
Why is Semantic SEO So Important?
Google’s advancements today include the ability to analyze a piece of your content, understand the overall subject matter or topic along with any subtopics, entities, or terms, and determine how everything interrelates.
In turn, Semantic SEO is a way to ensure the algorithms recognize your content as relevant and useful and rank you higher up on SERPs.
In addition, Semantic SEO is important because it can:
- Alert search engine algorithms that you are an expert on your topic.
- Allow searchers to see you as an authority.
- Help you improve your content, focusing on topics not keywords, thus providing more value to searchers.
- Increase dwell time on your website, a signal to algorithms that your content is relevant to readers.
As such, including Semantic SEO in your content marketing strategy is imperative today. While it may require more time to plan and implement, it can provide the results you want and need.
11 Best Practices to Rank Higher with Semantic SEO
So, how can you ensure you are utilizing Semantic SEO to the highest benefit? Here are 11 best practices to help.
1. Understand User Intent
As mentioned earlier, algorithms are now looking at not just the language of a query but the user intent behind that query.
For example, the keyword may be “social media.”
The full query could be, “Is social media a good place to market my business?’ With these additional words, you can expect Google to stay away from basic information or definitions and instead return search results geared to social media marketing.
Start by understanding what it is your target audience is searching for and the different ways a query can be worded. Are they looking to buy something, learn more, or explore options?
2. Improve Your Internal and External Link Structure
By focusing on topics instead of keywords, you will often find that one topic relates to other valuable content on your website.
As a result, you benefit from an organic way to improve your internal linking structure. Visitors can easily move from one page to another to answer further questions or curiosities.
Such a robust internal linking strategy also provides Google crawlers with an easy way to discover and index new pages.
In addition, your external linking structure can also benefit. Focusing on in-depth topical content leads to a higher chance of receiving authoritative backlinks. Such links are a signal to algorithms that you rock!
3. Use Structured Data Markup
Structured data speaks the language of search engine algorithms, providing content in an organized way so that the algorithms understand it better.
This understanding makes it easier for you to end up in snippets as well as higher up on SERPs.
Using structured data markup is a way to classify the content on the webpage, alerting the search engine of the content’s subject, function, and description.
In other words, structured data places an additional context layer on top of your valuable content, helping Google decipher what you offer.
By including such markups, it allows you to add more detail and receive recognition. You help ensure search engines treat your content the way you intend it to be treated.
4. Enhance Your Keyword Research
While the focus of semantic SEO revolves around topics, keyword research is still important.
Enrich your keyword research, then, by focusing on interconnected or related queries and the user intent behind those queries.
To help with this research, utilize free resources such as Google’s Autocomplete.
You can also benefit from keyword research tools like SEMRush, Google Keyword Planner, or Moz Keyword Research.
Look at other content types for clues also. For example, YouTube Autocomplete, video titles, and Google Image tags all provide related keywords.
In addition, consider synonyms and different spellings of keywords as Google now recognizes these through its improved semantic analysis abilities.
5. Do Keyword Clustering
Since Google doesn’t rely on one specific keyword per webpage, you can optimize pages with keyword clustering.
Keyword clusters refer to groupings of similar or related keywords.
With this keyword clustering, your content will expand on a particular topic, and keyword rankings per page can multiply.
Utilize it as a way to leverage the newest semantic abilities of Google’s algorithms and add more meaning to your content for readers.
6. Take a Look at Google “People Also Ask” Boxes
A valuable clue to what searchers are looking for lies within that reservoir of questions under the “ People Also Ask ” section of search engine results pages.
These questions are ones that searchers are asking when it comes to that primary keyword you’ve identified as relevant to your content and audience.
Look at these related questions as a way to improve the depth of your topical content. Answer as many as you can.
In return, you will be sending additional semantic signals and improving your chances of ranking higher up on SERPs.
7. Develop In-Depth Topic Outlines
To benefit your Semantic SEO strategy and create more in-depth topical content, get in the practice of developing clear topic outlines.
Topic outlines consist of all the subtopics you will cover in your content.
To develop these in-depth topic outlines, utilize the following steps for guidance.
- Create a hierarchical list of related queries to a particular topic.
- Analyze the search intent behind these queries.
- Identify and include related entities, including persons, organizations, institutions, laws, locations (countries or cities), and dates.
- Consider a linking strategy, including what anchor text to use.
- Determine what the meta tags, keywords, headings, and such will be.
8. Avoid Short Content
Creating short content with high numbers of keywords is not the way to go today.
Instead, you need to avoid short content and invest in creating the best long-form content possible on a topic.
Just be sure your primary topic is broad enough to require that long-form content.
While length may not be a key ranking factor, the more content you present, the higher your chances of sending those semantic signals that get you noticed and ranked higher.
9. Use Contextual Anchor Text
Providing website visitors with the content they want and need is crucial to keeping them right where they are and engaging.
To help with this, in addition to creating the best content possible on a particular topic, you’ll want to include various internal links to information relating to the topic in some way.
The best semantic way to do so is with contextual anchor text .
There’s no way to include all the information your reader might need at different stages along the buyer’s journey in just one post, article, or page.
The solution then is to develop a strong internal linking structure , guiding readers to another location on your website for more information on a specific subtopic or related topic.
Be sure to create anchor text that provides context, focusing on what matters to the reader, and instantly lets them know where to go to find out more. All they have to do is click on that link you provide.
Internal linking such as this provides viewers with a one-stop website to answer all their questions and also boosts your SEO.
10. Create Topic Clusters
To aid your internal linking structure, consider creating topic clusters .
They consist of grouped content pieces centered around a central or main topic. That main topic presides over what’s known as a pillar page.
Each article or post will focus on its own keyword cluster and also link back to this pillar page focusing on the broader topic.
Topic clusters provide you with numerous benefits, including boosting your SEO, establishing of authority, and ranking for more keywords.
11. Use Content Optimization Software
You can go about Semantic SEO on your own or seek the help of today’s content optimization software tools.
These valuable tools identify for you all the semantics involving related terms in less time.
You may just find that the content optimization tools can provide you with all the right questions, terms, and topics to include to maximize your Semantic SEO efforts.
While this does remove you somewhat from the process, you can also compare results your own SEO efforts discover with what the software offers.
From this, you can learn how to trust the software results and where you might need to supplement them.
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Improving your content’s performance today all starts with understanding and implementing Semantic SEO.
This process revolves around creating in-depth topical content and utilizing beneficial keyword clustering. Understand how to speak to your audience, and, in turn, you will speak to the search engine algorithms, marking you as an authority and boosting your overall rankings.
Unsure where you are in your SEO strategy?
to find out and also discover where to focus your efforts next!