what is semantic search?
Search with meaning. That’s the idea of semantic search, a marketing strategy derived from the semantic web which was a term coined by Tim Berners-Lee (the guy who invented the internet) in 2001.
You may be familiar with the marketing strategy of search engine optimisation (SEO) and micro businesses should definitely be considering using such strategy in their marketing, however, SEO alone can be rigid, tunnel visioned and in many cases not linked to business objectives.
Semantic search allows you to look at optimising for search engines in a different way, a flexible way that offers meaning to the person typing the search query by understanding the journey they are going through.
where to start with semantic search?
Start by thinking about how the users behave and what search queries they would search for depending on their levels of intent. If you know your customers’ and why they will use your product or service, then match your website content to their search query.
To help you choose search queries by behaviour you can group them using the following:
1. Navigational queries
- a query that asks for a particular website
2. Informational queries
- a query that can be best answered through articles, images, videos, infographics etc. An informational query offers businesses the opportunity to capture the attention of the person searching. They are asking for help, take advantage
3. Commercial queries
- a query with commercial intent. A great place to establish a relationship with a user and to drive them to your website to provide what they are looking for. These queries can be satisfied through offering expertise
4. Transactional queries
- a query with high intent to convert. This could be to purchase a product online or leave their contact information for a service. They want to find a supplier and will choose based on the user experience they have on your website and how many steps it takes them to find what they are looking for. At this high intention stage people will usually need convincing before converting so consider testimonials and case studies to reinforce your authority and trustworthiness
what makes semantic search so flexible?
Google want users to have the best possible experience and to do this they search the web to find and rank favourable websites that offer what they think will be a good experience for their customer based on their search query.
One of the ways Google have decided to do this is by introducing structured data, a way for websites to to detail information in a flexible way. Google encourage you to use structured data through Schema tags which create rich snippets that appear inside Google search engine results.
Rich snippets are useful for all types of businesses, but those in the hospitality sector can benefit the most by being able to show opening times, prices, reviews and bookings all through the first page of Google.
There are many ways to use structured data and it’s ever increasing. There are many predictions for Google to favourably rank websites that use structured data and with the new Google algorithm RankBrain, this prediction is soon to be reality.
how can I apply semantic search to my business?
If you're serious about digital marketing and see it as a long term strategy for your business, then semantic search is definitely worth looking into. You can start by following this checklist:
Technical website audit - make sure it’s as easy as possible for Google to rank your website, look at the pagespeed of your website, tags and descriptions, mobile friendly (very important!) and much more. For a free technical website audit, talk to us today.
I will leave it at this, as there really is no point investing more money into your digital marketing if your website is not fully optimised, it’s a waste of time and resource creating amazing content if nobody ever gets to see it. Small technical changes to your website can make a big difference.
We have been working with a client who has experienced this recently, going from page 3 to page 1 for a targeted keyword. Read the story here.