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What Is Semantic Search?

By Snap Agency August 27, 2019

As digital marketers, our primary job is to help businesses gain traction and capture conversions. We dedicate our time and talents to creating high-quality content, developing SEO-focused digital marketing strategies, and deeply understanding the mindset of your consumer base. All these practices boil down to one primary goal: getting—and keeping—the attention of people and search engines alike. 

With over 4.4 billion blog posts published every day, this is no easy task. Search algorithms are constantly evolving, and blog posts and landing pages crammed with keywords just don’t cut it anymore. So, how can brands stay on top of the competition? Enter the concept of semantic search. Up to the challenge of both aligning with AI-focused algorithms (like Rankbrain) and relating to the average user, this technique might just be your ticket to search success. 

Defining Semantic Search

Encompassing the investigation of words, logic, and the mindset of a searcher, semantic search seeks to improve search accuracy by linking intent and context to provide the best search results. Thanks to its use of language algorithms, automatic processing, and data calculations, semantic search can provide interactive results targeted explicitly to each searcher. In fact, semantic search is so powerful that it allows Google to distinguish between people, places, and things using deciding factors like user search history and user location. If any technique has the potential to jumpstart your marketing game moving forward, semantic search is it.

Semantic Search Is Changing Marketing

With search moving increasingly towards mobile and voice optimization, exclusively keyword-focused strategies are no longer the best way to capture clicks and conversions. Shorter consumer attention spans, faster web pages, and entertaining content challenge digital marketers like never before. 

Ultimately, context has become the key to visibility. Because semantic search focuses on understanding the intent behind what a user is searching and providing appropriate results, SEO specialists have had to shift their approach from concentrating on individual keywords to focusing on meaningful content that satisfies the spirit of a query, rather than just the exact language. 

How Does Voice Search Fit In?

People using voice search often speak simple, intentional phrases when making their inquiries, making optimizing for voice search different from traditional SEO efforts. Until semantic search began growing, marketers were still relying almost entirely on keywords and backlinks when building out search strategies. This disconnect meant that voice searches initially yielded less-than-helpful results because marketers didn’t know how to adapt to the new search trend.

The concept of voice search eliminates many high-level keywords, relying on a far more conversational tone instead. This has forced search engines and marketers alike to adapt and learn to read and respond to these conversational inquiries accurately. By examining the intent behind a given search inquiry, semantic searches allow search engines to understand a searcher’s mindset, anticipating queries and providing superior search results—even to simpler prompts. 

Semantic Search and SEO

In addition to helping marketers and search engines alike interpret queries and provide highly-targeted results, semantic search also offers significant benefits for those with a thorough understanding of SEO. Integrating semantic search signals (like language, data processing, user location, etc.) changes one’s whole approach to SEO

Let’s break this down a bit. If you knew how your primary consumer base thinks, and why they feel that way, wouldn’t you cater your content, post timing, and keywords to take advantage of that knowledge? Although it’s far from perfect, semantic search enables a similar kind of understanding. Once you understand searcher intent, creating content that directly addresses your audience’s needs and desires become simple. When coupled with the introduction of latent semantic indexing, this understanding is thoroughly heightened, making your search strategy all the more powerful. 

What Is Latent Semantic Indexing?

Sometimes referred to as latent semantic analysis, latent semantic indexing refers to a mathematical formula designed to help improve the way information is gathered. Using a technique called singular value composition, latent semantic indexing scans data and looks for relationships among words. After identifying these relationships, the data can be better indexed, giving search engines a more thorough understanding of the pages they’re crawling. 

Own Your Semantic Search With Snap

Is your brand making the most of semantic search to further your SEO efforts and content strategies? If you don’t even know where to start, let us help! Building a search strategy that takes into account context and user intent is no easy task—but the digital marketing pros at Snap are up for it.

When it comes to this type of technique, the beauty’s in the details. That means content strategies that hit on search intent and keyword-rich content that answers exactly what the searcher is trying to find out. Contact us today to get started with a bulletproof SEO strategy.