What does Semantics mean?
Semantics deals with the meaning of words. There are two main areas of semantics, namely logical semantics, and lexical semantics. Logical semantics uses logic to determine the ideas behind formal and natural languages. Lexical semantics is all about understanding the meanings of words and the relationship between them.
After the introduction of Rankbrain and Hummingbird from Google back in 2013, the search engine has changed forever. The search engine tries to understand the intent behind the user’s queries and displays the search results according to this perceived intent while also taking into account of the context of the user. Semantic search, since then, has been very effective and it has achieved a significant increase in accuracy.
Here are the tips for you to perform Semantic SEO in 2018:
#1 Create Awesome Content
Spend lots of time on keyword research. You can get related keywords for your topic using tools like SEMrush. You can also get an idea about relevant keywords using communities like Quora or Reddit. You can also use Google’s auto-suggest feature to get related keywords.
Once you have some keywords related to the main topic, the next step is to find semantically related phrases for each keyword. In order to do this, you must focus on using a concept called Latent Semantic Indexing or LSI for short. For example, if the search term is ‘Burger’ then semantically related words of ‘Burger’ could be ‘Sandwich’, ‘Bun’, ‘Taco’ etc. You can use free tools like Google Correlate in order to generate such words or there are some paid LSI tools available if you are looking for more quality. Build your content using these phrases while covering the topic as broad as possible. This will require some effort compared to the traditional SEO but the rewards are well worth it.
Make sure that you have a content of at least 1200 words so that users can stay longer at your website. If the user stays longer at your website then the bounce rate of your website would decrease and this, in turn, increases your website’s Google ranking.
Create a content so that readers may find the answers to all their queries. How to know what queries a user might have on the topic? Look at Google’s related search tab or popular questions on Quora related to the topic to get an idea of common user queries. It is also a good idea to answer some of the unpopular queries relevant to your topic so that the conversation rate of your website increases for users searching for these unpopular queries.
Finally, improve your website user experience. Build an attractive UI. Work on the structure of your post. Make sure you are using correct tags (Header, Paragraph etc) on your web pages. Use clear but small resolution images so that your web pages load quickly. Resolve all incorrect response status codes (400, 404 etc).
#2 Use Structured Data Markup
This is nothing but adding a content reference to your webpage in order to improve the contextualization for search engines. Also referred as schema markup encoding, you can do this by adding schema tag for entities using schema.org. An entity is a ‘thing’ that is described/explained. An entity could be a part of the keyword phrase.
In the phrase,
“Why wasn’t Batman in The Avengers?”
Batman and The Avengers are the entities.
This process of adding schema tags for entities affects the SERP features such as rich snippets, improved ranking, voice search, and so on. This also increases the page duration and reduces the bounce rate metric. Doing this will improve your website’s chances of appearing in the Google Knowledge Graph. This will also improve your website’s chances of appearing among the top results for voice search commands.
How does it work? A webpage typically contains a large number of key phrases and as a result lot of entities. These entities act as a context for a human reader, but for a machine, it is just a stream of characters. In order for the search engine to understand the context of the webpage, you need to mark the entities on schema.org. Schema.org, created by Google and Bing, is nothing but a vocabulary using which you can structure the entities on your webpage.
#3 Perform Optimization of Knowledge Graph
This is an extension of the above point. After you mark all the entities, the next step is to link all these entities with a relationship vector. This linking of entities is also referred to as knowledge graph.
The relationship vector ‘cast’ relates all the entities Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, and Mark Ruffalo etc., to each other.
After creating the mapping between these entities, it is easier for the machines to understand the context of the website. This is a vital step if you want to increase the likelihood of your website to feature among the top results. In other words, if the context of your website were relevant to the context of user query then the search engines would rank your webpage higher. The other advantage of doing this is that it naturally promotes your brand.
The other thing you need to worry about is how to make your website appear on Google’s Knowledge Graph? Apart from performing the above-mentioned steps, try to have a Wikipedia and Wikidata page of your brand. Create a Google+ account for your brand and upload some videos of your brank on YouTube. Citation/Reference from other brands is important to make your brand notable.
The Knowledge Graph is a vital component when it comes to Semantic SEO, and you should try to optimize it.
#4 Consistently Measure Your Progress
Have a performance measurement tool to keep track of what is working and what is not. There are many rank tracker tools available, just Google it. It is important to do this if you want to have more traffic in 2018 and beyond. The ideal rank tracker tools should be able to monitor – organic rankings, local rankings, competitor rankings.
Along with a rank tracker tool, you might also want to get an SEO audit tool that would help you to measure the user experience. A good SEO audit tool should give you advice on – SEO issues onsite, Page Speed, Landing page overview & optimization.
Keep making the needful changes so that you remain competitive in Semantic SEO even in 2018.
As you can see, performing the above steps will definitely take a significant amount of your time. However, once you perform these simple steps, you will see that the rewards are well worth the effort. If you want to simplify the above steps, you can always look to use an SEO plugin like Luminate which can be used for both WordPress and non-WordPress websites. Luminate will assist in performing all the key steps like Vocabulary Building, Schema Tagging, and Content Augmentation.