How Semantic Search Impacts SEO

Andrea Huls
3 min readJan 22, 2024
Foto de Campaign Creators en Unsplash

When I started as a SEO writer in 2017, the primary focus was to insert as many keywords as possible to contribute to our ranking on SERPs, especially, Google.

Since, Google has updated its algorithm many times, it has evolved and how we look for things online has changed too.

It’s not that keywords are no longer important, they still matter. However, there are many other things to factor into the equation.

When creating content, semantic search is especially relevant. But what is it exactly? Semantic search is about the intent behind your search. It is about what you really want to know when looking for information on Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.

Semantic search is about the context and conceptual meanings that match your questions to the right content. Yes, you can still write “cat food” and get results. However, if you were to write, “What kind of food does my 1-year-old sterilized cat need?” or, “What is the best cat food in the market?” you are bound to get more accurate results.

Semantic search goes beyond traditional keyword-based search. It uses advanced techniques such as vector search and machine learning for better results. To help your user and your business, you must consider how you present this information as well.

Understanding User Intent

Semantic search is about understanding the user. One SEO and content strategies must focus on the context and intent behind keywords.

We should strive to create content tailored to serve what the user needs.

By understanding the meaning behind the user’s query, semantic search helps SERPs deliver precise and tailored results.

As a user, you can type in long sentences and Google is likely to find thousands upon thousands of results to match your query.

There are different types of intent, for instance, informational intent is when a user is looking to learn about something online.

Why Semantic Search Matters In Content Creation

When need to put ourselves in the user’s shoes and consider the intention behind the search, related questions, additional useful information, and much more.

Apply semantic search for the following reasons:

Improved Visibility

Semantic search helps your content rank higher by ensuring that it is more relevant and aligned with user intent. In doing so, it leads to increased organic traffic to your website.

Content Quality

Search engines can better understand and rank content based on its quality and relevance to the search query. This pushes websites to produce high-quality, informative, and relevant content that serves user’s needs.

User Satisfaction

By providing more suitable results, semantic search improves the user experience. Users are more likely to find the information they need, leading to higher engagement and satisfaction.

Better content optimization

When you focus on semantics rather than inserting a high number of keywords, the quality of the content is superior. Your content can become comprehensive and meaningful.

Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords have become more important. These are more specific and, often, more conversational phrases that users might type into search engines.

Optimizing for long-tail keywords can help in targeting more concrete queries and user intents.

Users tend to type questions rather than single words. For instance:

  • How long does it take to …?
  • Is my cat trying to kill me?
  • Can I recycle used shoes?

These long-tail keywords are more effective.

Structured Data and Schema Markup

Using structured data and schema markup helps search engines understand the context of the content on a webpage.

Voice Search Optimization

With the rise of voice assistants, semantic search is crucial in processing natural language queries. SEO strategies must consider how people speak, not only how they type.

In summary, semantic search has made SEO more complex but more user-focused. It requires a deeper understanding of your audience. Creating high-quality content that serves the user will have an impact.

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Andrea Huls

Writer, documentary filmmaker, photographer, feminist, mother, and much more.