Semantic SEO is one of the most important aspects of search engine optimization.
It’s all about understanding how Google interprets your website content and providing users with the information they are searching for.
This guide will discuss what it is, why it matters, and how you can use it to improve your rankings.
What is Semantic SEO?
Semantic SEO is the practice of optimizing your website content around topics, not just individual keywords.
It’s about creating material that is comprehensive, well-researched, and relevant to your audience.
When you produce high-quality content that covers everything around the topic, you are more likely to rank better in search results because Google would see your site as an authority on the subject.
For example, if you are writing about blogger outreach, you want not only to cover the entire process of searching, segmenting, and contacting bloggers but also outreach templates and the best outreach tools as I did in my guide:
Why is Semantic SEO Important?
Google used to evaluate pages only based on keywords. But now, Google’s semantic search algorithm looks at the overall meaning of a page to determine its relevance.
Today, it’s not about optimizing your content around a single term. But instead, writing about a broad topic that covers all the related keywords and questions users can have.
Over the years, Google has been working on improving its algorithm to have more of a human and semantic approach to understanding users’ intent and to ranking content around the web.
Some of the most important steps to do so were:
- Knowledge Graph. In 2012, Google launched the Knowledge Graph, which is a semantic system that understands real-world entities and the relations between them.
- Hummingbird. In 2013, Google released Hummingbird, an algorithm update that marked a shift from keyword-based to semantic-based search.
- RankBrain. In 2015, Google announced RankBrain, a machine-learning artificial intelligence system that helps interpret searcher intent and match it with the most relevant results
Today, semantic SEO is important because it helps you rank better in search results.
When you create content that is comprehensive and relevant to your audience, you are more likely to rank better than if you simply stuff your pages with keywords.
This is because when you write about topics in-depth, you are providing readers with valuable information that they are likely to want to share with others.
As a result, your content is more likely to be shared on social media or linked to other websites, which can help you attract even more traffic.
Best Practices for Better Rankings
So, you’ve read how semantic SEO is all about covering the topic in-depth with the focus of giving users a better experience.
With this in mind, here are some of the best practices to follow to create content for better rankings:
- Cover the Topic In-Depth
- Optimize For Keyword Clusters
- Answer People Also Ask Questions
- Write Topic Outlines
- Use Related Terms and Synonyms
- Publish Long Content
- Include LSI Keywords
- Add Structured Data
Cover the Topic In-Depth
The first step to semantic SEO is to make sure that you are covering the topic in-depth. This means going beyond the surface level and really delving into the details.
For example, a few months ago I targeted these keywords in an article I wrote: “On-page SEO“.
I could have written the usual “8 Ways to Optimize Your Content for SEO”.
Instead, I created a 5000-word guide covering all the aspects of on-page SEO, including what search intent is, how to create content that Google wants to rank, tools to use, and advanced optimization techniques such as SEO copywriting.
Optimize For Keyword Clusters
Another good is to optimize for keyword clusters instead of individual terms. A keyword cluster is a group of related words that are all semantically connected.
An example of the topic of “page speed” could be:
- What is Page Speed?
- Page Speed Concepts
- Why Is Page Speed Important for SEO?
- What is Google Recommended Page Load Time?
- How To Measure Page Speed?
- How to Improve Your Page Speed?
- My Experience With Page Speed
- Page Speed FAQs
When you optimize for semantic SEO, you are offering users a better experience, delivering added value to your content.
Plus, Google’s semantic algorithm will find more keywords to rank your content for.
Answer People Also Ask Questions
People use search engines to find answers to their questions.
One way to find them is via the “People Also Ask” section on the result pages.
So, it just makes sense that you would want to answer those questions in your content.
Write Topic Outlines
A great way to organize your content and make sure you are covering all the bases is to write topic outlines before you start writing.
A topic outline is a list of all the subtopics or subheadings that you want to include in your article.
This can be a helpful way to brainstorm ideas and make sure you don’t forget anything important.
You can include a list of outlines at the beginning of your content as I did for my bounce rate post:
Use Related Terms and Synonyms
When you are writing about a certain subject, it’s important to use related terms and synonyms throughout your content.
This helps Google understand the context of your article and can also help you rank for more keywords.
For example, with GKP, if you want to search related keywords for the term “backlinks“, you can get many ideas:
Publish Long Content
Do you know that, on average, the first page of Google search results contains 1,447 words?
In general, longer articles tend to rank higher in search results because they are usually more comprehensive and in-depth.
It’s almost impossible to fully cover a topic in a 500 words blog post. Many of the best-ranking articles are around 3/4,000 words.
For example, my link-building guide counts almost 4600 words and makes readers happy, covering almost anything about the topic.
Include LSI Keywords
LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords are related terms that help Google understand the context of your article.
By adding them sparingly to your content (including meta tags), you can improve your semantic SEO and your chances of ranking for additional keywords.
You can use Google autosuggest feature to find LSI keywords or tools like Answerthepublic:
You can do the same procedure also when you refresh old articles.
Add Structured Data
Structured data is code that helps search engines understand the contents of your page.
Adding it to your website can improve your semantic SEO and make it easier for Google to display your content in rich or featured snippets.
This may help increase your organic CTR:
Semantic SEO FAQs
Q: What is an example of semantic SEO?
A: An example of semantic SEO would be optimizing for keyword clusters instead of individual keywords. A keyword cluster is a group of related keywords that are all semantically connected. Additionally, you can use related terms and synonyms throughout your content to ensure Google understands the context of your article and help you rank for more keywords.
Q: What is semantic search SEO?
A: Semantic search SEO is optimizing your content for meaning, rather than just individual keywords. This means focusing on topics and including related terms throughout your article. Additionally, you can answer People Also Ask questions and utilize structured data to help search engines understand the contents of your page.
Q: What is the difference between SEO and semantic SEO?
A: The main difference between SEO and semantic SEO is that semantic SEO focuses on topics and related keywords, instead of just individual keywords. Semantic SEO also takes into account the context of a query, so you need to use related terms throughout your content to ensure Google understands the meaning.
Q: How do I apply semantic SEO to different niches?
A: Semantic SEO can be applied to any niche. To do this, you need to research related topics and keywords, target the search intent, and produce content that matches it. Additionally, you can use features like structured data or AnswerThePublic to help search engines better understand the contents of your page.
Q: What are some semantic SEO tools?
A: Some of the best semantic SEO tools include Google Keyword Planner, Keyword Surfer Chrome extension, and Structured Data Markup Helper. These tools can help you research related topics and keywords, optimize for search intent, add structured data to your page, and more.
Q: Is semantic SEO the same as the topical authority concept?
A: Yes, semantic SEO is closely related to the topical authority concept. This concept refers to optimizing for a broad topic or theme instead of individual keywords. In short, you need to focus on topics and related terms throughout your content instead of just targeting one specific keyword.
Before You Go
Covering the topic in-depth is good both for readers and search engines.
But wait! Optimizing the user experience does not end here.
You want visitors to spend a long time on your site:
And, you want to work on the technical aspect of SEO:
Now, it’s over to you.
What are your thoughts on semantic SEO?
Have you used it to improve your content?
Let me know in the comments below!