One of the terms that is used often these days is “semantic search.” This simply means that Google tries to figure out what the intention of the searcher is. For example, if you look for diabetic recipes, the search engine may also return low carb recipes, which would be relevant for someone needing to cook for a diabetic.
When optimizing your site for search, you need to keep in mind that just using the main keyword is no longer enough. You need to include related words and phrases to better define your content’s purpose. This allows the search engines to match your site with visitors who actually need what you have to offer.
LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) has been on the rise for a while, but it is increasingly important in 2014. The search engines are seeking to eliminate spam and move the best and most relevant sites to the top of the search results and LSI is one of the simplest ways to improve your rankings.
Rather than use the same keyword, such as “New York restaurants” over and over in your content, you will want to use keywords that relate to this. These could include phrases like:
- Eating out in New York
- Manhattan restaurants
- Fast food in Hoboken
- Where to eat in Times Square
- Union City seafood
The keywords should be related to your actual topic. Avoid adding random keyword phrases just to increase rankings, as this is likely to backfire on you. Search engines are cracking down on cheating these days.
Use a range of related words to help search engines decide whether your content is appropriate for specific searches. It also makes your website copy easier for humans to read. No one is interested in seeing the same phrases over and over in an article. However, optimizing for semantic search is far more complicated than just adapting your content and keywords.
Search engines use the information in schemas to provide answer cards and Knowledge Graph results that have become commonplace in search results. These show up in some searches now, but will be far more prevalent shortly. Searchers can see the answers to their questions in seconds, without having to click through to a website, which has both pros and cons. Many website owners are worried that no one will click through to their site with the information readily available on Google. However, it could boost your ranking and may be worth doing anyway.
It takes time to add schemas to your content, but it can drastically increase your rankings. Some platforms already offer plug-ins to make the switch easier, but you can also hand code everything.
While semantic search has been developing for a few years now, 2014 is the year that it really comes into its own. You can expect single keyword sites to start dropping out of the first page results while more relevant sites rise to the top.