For example, when someone types a search query into Google, they have intent behind the search. Semantic search tries to uncover what a user intends to find when they type in a particular keyword.
Semantically related keywords are ones that are conceptually related to the original keyword searched for. For example, “digital marketing” encompasses lots of keywords like “SEO,” “SERP,” “social marketing,” and more. Using semantically related keywords can help boost your SEO efforts as they can offer search engines more insight regarding the topic in question.
How semantic keywords have evolved
Around a decade ago, search engines like Google would analyze the frequency of keywords on a web page to decide what the content was about. Many websites practiced keyword stuffing to rank for their keywords, so they would repeat a keyword over and over again on a page to ensure they ranked for it.
In 2013, Google Hummingbird was introduced. This algorithm completely changed the way SEO worked, no longer looking for the frequency of keywords but instead looking at alternative phrases that could produce relevant results. For example, pre-2013 marketers would have stuffed a page with the keyword “boots,” while now they would need to use “walking boots,” “hiking boots,” etc. to provide greater context.
Understanding SEO and the intent of your user is just the first part of using semantically related keywords to boost your SEO. You can get support for running a successful marketing strategy by checking out SEO statistics and recent trends to gain a better understanding of the current market.
How semantic keywords changed SEO
Semantic keywords have forever changed the way SEO works. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean SEO is now a harder practice. The real change is that websites now need to optimize for their topic, not just their keyword phrase.
The evolution of Google’s search engine means it can better understand the intent of the user. As we know, previously it would be a case of choosing a target keyword, using it in your title, header, and body text, and adding it to your content.
Now, it’s about choosing a target phrase and discovering phrases that are semantically related. Your content should address questions related to the broader topic meaning you can rank for your keyword phrase and semantically related keywords.
How can you find semantic keywords?
Keyword research tools are a solid way to check the metrics of keywords, including search volume, allowing you to make an informed decision as to whether or not to include a keyword.
One of the easiest ways of starting your semantic keyword research is to use Google’s related search suggestions. When a user types a search into Google, it returns relevant search results as well as searches related to the keyword.
Let’s take the keyword “vegetable harvest” and type it into Google. The search results offer websites and pages specifically related to the keyword, however, we can also see a list of searches related to the keyword:
This list includes popular related words that could be related. While this list may not directly relate to your keyword, it gives us a good idea of what people are searching for. We can also look at the “People also ask” feature on Google which attempts to answer related questions that a user may also ask:
Marketers can leverage these features to understand more about a topic and related terms that people might use in relation to the main keyword.
Google Ads features a very useful tool called Keyword Planner, which is an excellent resource for building a list of semantically related keywords in order to boost your SEO efforts.
You can type a keyword into the planner and uncover the search rates and popularity of the keyword you’re looking at. Google will also offer suggestions based on specific industries to help you refine your semantically related keywords.
By identifying semantically related keywords, marketers and content developers can pinpoint popular keywords and other related common search terms. Not only does this help to understand user searches, but it can also offer additional keywords that you can leverage within your industry to rank for.
Once you’ve established a range of semantically related keywords, you’ll need to put in the time and effort to create comprehensive content in order to boost your SEO. For marketers, the goal is simple: to create the best content for the topic in question.
Semantic SEO isn’t just about finding your keywords, it’s also about answering questions and providing the answers to your users. 80% of online searches are informational. That means that most users are looking for answers, rather than a specific product, service, or website.
Your job as a marketer is to provide the best answer to the people doing research. Your content, therefore, has to be extensive and comprehensive, not only answering questions but providing relevant research and links to ensure your content is authoritative.
The main bulk effort of increasing your SEO is to perfect your content; you’ll need to see what your competition is achieving and simply do better by providing up-to-date resources that are relevant.