Search engines are constantly adapting to the ways users browse for information online. Algorithms are tuned to understand the intent of the search, often reflected in the way we compose our search queries.

Semantic search retrieves information based on a search query by focusing on the meaning or intent instead of getting results based on exact keyword matching. 

Optimizing your content for semantic search is about putting the right strategies in place to better appeal to search engines and improve your search visibility.

The year 2012 proved to be a turning point in semantic search and search engine optimization (SEO). It was when long-tail keywords made up around 70 percent of all searches. This proved to be a decisive moment where search engines like Google were used to answer questions and solve problems.

The Next Big Leap for Modern Search Engines

The governing factors of semantic search include understanding what the user is trying to accomplish by diving deep into the user intent. The process involves establishing patterns and relationships among the search query, phrases and words, and dishing out web pages that align to this request.

This leap is a tectonic shift from when search engines first came into being, where interspersing keywords would mainly define the ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).

This system could be easily manipulated, resulting in low-quality content that mainly focused on search crawlers or spiders instead of paying attention to users and user experience (UX).

The future of search engines will be governed by UX and semantic search alone. 

Algorithmic cataloging is the buzzword here, enabling search engines to cope with changing content on the go. It would enable search engines to intuitively infer your request in a search box and surface the contextually relevant content.

How Does Semantic Search Piece Together Your Search Query?

A semantic search engine – a knowledge-based or natural language search engine – is an “intelligent agent” that tries to emulate human language and understanding via computer algorithms. 

Search engines, such as Google, use a mix of machine learning and data mining techniques to provide better results for queries. These techniques are based on mathematical optimization models called “support vector machines.” Newer methods include collaborative filtering.

Semantic search essentially uses artificial intelligence (AI) to find information relevant to what the user is looking for.

The future of search is shifting from delivering keyword-specific results to relevance and user experience. It is believed that users will spend more time on a page when they better understand what the page is about. Search engines can understand and convey this information effectively to users by performing semantic search SEO.

Semantic search SEO is the practice of using keywords that are associated with the specific topic or idea you want to share or surface to your target audience.

SEO and Semantic Searches: The Importance of Relevancy

The internet has now evolved to a point where people can find information on nearly anything with just a few clicks. But SEO and semantic searches matter today because they protect your website from being manipulated by SEO companies using unethical tactics to push their clients up the rankings.

Search engines are now smart enough to know exactly what you mean by what you type into a search bar. They do this by mapping the data they already know about you and profiling your online behavior in the past, then matching it with your current intent.

For instance, if you are an automotive enthusiast, your search results would mainly provide you with results around the automotive domain.

So the key focus while creating content should be around what pain point and value proposition the content will be able to address. This ensures that the content can be put out to the user based on relevancy.

For this reason, SEO practices must shift focus to context and intent and rely less on keywords.

Semantic Search SEO Tips and Their Impact

Here are some semantic search SEO tips to skyrocket your search ranking:

1. Mapping, Monitoring and Understanding  Search Intent

There is no better way to assess search intent than by closely monitoring the search queries users search for around a topic. You will then be able to craft the content that serves the intent of these search queries.

Another way is to identify the top-ranking content topics that already exist from the competition. It helps you assess what your content and SEO roadmap must be.

In marketing, we always want to be thinking about how our prospects are searching for information. When we know what they’re looking for and why, we make it easier for them to find what they want and convert this into opportunities. 

The goal of semantic search is to provide insight into the searcher’s intention so that the most relevant material can be delivered based on various contexts, such as current location or past interactions with a company.

2. Building Internal and External Link Relevancy

Finding what you need on the web isn’t always as easy as you think it is. There are so many words and websites to sort through that finding just one thing can sometimes take hours of work. This leaves you with a problem: How do you find your desired result without wasting precious time? Enter semantic search, the new way to find exactly what’s been searched for on the web.

The process involves creating internal and external links for your content. Internal links are those that point to pages on your site. On the other hand, external (or inbound) links are links from other sites that point to pages on your site.

Search engine algorithms attribute a relevancy ranking by monitoring the user engagement on the content, related linked pages and how frequently the content is shared. 

Not only do they have a direct impact on the ranking of those targeted pages, but they also make your site more navigable and easier to use for your readers.

This also saves you tons of time getting you what you want to find in the first go.

3. Structured Data Vocabulary or Schema Markup

Google is the most used search engine in the world. It is also a major pusher of semantic search. Though it has yet to use semantic indexing on its own, Google has been working hard to teach its spiders what we mean when we say things like “structure of content affects semantic search.”

In essence, content that is well structured, organized or segmented is easier for search engines to show, thanks to better categorization.

So, schema markup emphasizes structuring your data in easy deliverable formats.

4. Optimizing Content for Topic Targeting

Semantic search is an exciting new way of navigating the internet. It makes it possible for you to enter a query that will surface contextually relevant content, which would otherwise be impossible with a simple keyword search. 

It is good to note that most people are likely to search topics like “suggest the best building designs,” rather than just passing words like “buildings” in the search bar.

Semantic search also provides great insights into query patterns so that you can craft your content specifically on organic search strings and topics instead of putting out content based on just keywords.

Future of SEO With Semantic Search

Search engines are smart enough to know how people search, with results being more and more accurate than ever before. And with the upcoming semantic search features popping up, they’re only getting more intelligent and intuitive by the day. 

What does this mean for traditional SEO practices? Well, not much, because traditional SEO is all about ranking for a specific keyword or phrase. 

It means that you’ll need to consider how your website can adapt to new features and where it currently stands in relation to search engines’ automated indexing tools.


Intent and context are the key leavers of modern-day search engines. They make search more powerful than ever before and drive the need to update SEO practices to match these emerging requirements.

Devoting time to your company’s SEO keyword usage on topical and contextual relevance is undoubtedly the way forward to mitigate search-related content delivery issues and surge ahead with your ranking!

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By Margaret Blank

At the moment I am an expert-analyst in the field of search engine optimization, leading several projects and consulting on website optimization and promotion, I am actively involved in various thematic seminars and conferences.

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