Semantic search engine

Google’s algorithm is getting smarter and smarter. Every day, crawlers evolve. Searching for relevant and quality content is becoming more complex. Not only are keywords important, so are the relationships between them. How does this come about?

What is semantic search?

Semantic search ensures that a query is not exactly the same as a result. Google understands core keywords and finds similar keywords based on them. Search results that are similar will also be shown within the organic search results.

Not only is the keyword important, so are the context and other phrases in the paragraph. Google sees it as one using semantic search. The goal of semantic search is for Google to detect relevant content even better. Google gives the searcher answers, rather than results.

Example of semantic search

Previously, when you searched for “Vespa Primavera 50 RED,” Google would look at the content and scan web pages looking for this particular keyword. In that case, Google does not look beyond the actual meaning.(1)

With semantic search, Google gives meaning to words. “Red” links Google to the color, Vespa links Google to the scooter and Primavera 50 to the type. Thus, Google provides even better answers to the searcher’s query.

The importance of semantic search for SEO

When visitors have a positive experience finding the right answers on your website, they stay on the site longer. Google sees these as pluses.

The benefits of semantic search for a website’s SEO:

  • searchers get immediate answers to questions
  • it enhances the user experience
  • it promotes the crawl process

My advice

The process of integrating semantic search is already well advanced. To respond well to this trend, it is crucial to continue creating quality content.

Semantic search takes care of looking at what the intent of content is. Google looks at the relationship between words and at the meaning of words. This causes Google to scan content more broadly. When content is of high quality, it has a positive effect on the online findability of a website. Google sees that a website is relevant and therefore wants to show it on the search results page.

Note that this is different from semantically building the headers on a page.(2)

Resources

  1. Meiert, J. O. (s.d.). On web semantics | Google Search Central Blog | Google for Developers. Google For Developers. https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2012/07/on-web-semantics
  2. HTML and semantic tagging. (s.d.). Google For Developers. https://developers.google.com/style/semantic-tagging

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Semantic Search Engine?

A semantic search engine is a search engine that does not just search for keywords. This includes context and intent. Therefore, a search need not exactly match the desired result. Based on synonyms and previous similar searches, search engines like Google can still determine what someone is looking for.

What is the impact of Semantic Search Engine on SEO?

Positive user experiences in finding answers on your site will make users stick around longer. Google will certainly view this positively and reward your site with a higher ranking.

How do I use the semantic search engine to my advantage?

When you go semantic search, it means that a query is not exactly the same as a result. In this, Google does understand the core keywords, and searches for similar keywords accordingly. Therefore, keywords similar to it are also shown within the organic search results. It is important that a keyword is clear, as well as the content and various sentences in a paragraph.

The goal is that semantic search will allow Google to look up even more relevant content. If you take advantage of this yourself, by using certain keyword combinations on your site, then your website can also be more findable. Everyone uses different word combinations, of course. The goal is to get as many visitors to your website as possible, and you can do that by capitalizing on different keywords, synonyms and the like.

Sometimes visitors do not yet know exactly what they want, but if they land on your website using a certain keyword combination, and you have what they are looking for, then that works in your favor. Visitors looking for something “similar” will therefore come to you.

What happens if the semantic search engine does not see my content as high quality?

The moment a semantic search engine will not see your content as high quality, then basically the same thing happens as with a regular search engine. You will then get fewer visitors, and be less findable. The important thing is that you have valuable content on your site, i.e. that visitors really benefit from. They want to find answers to a question, and you can do that if you can connect with them.

Content must be unique, reliable and add value. If you meet that then it can be seen as high quality. It should also match your website and the keywords you want to be found on. It has to be seen as a whole and it can be done as long as you know how. If you can’t figure it out and your content is not yet seen as qualitative, you can get help.

I then recommend that you hire an SEO specialist to analyze your website. We can then see where there are areas of improvement in terms of content and that can be addressed by me.

How do I make sure the semantic search engine interprets my pages correctly?

By using the right keywords, the right content and clear sentences in paragraphs. If you want to respond well to semantic search, you need to keep writing quality content to begin with. Thanks to semantic search, it looks at what the intent of the content is. In doing so, Google will look at the relationship between words and the meaning of the words in question.

So this allows Google to scan content in the broader sense. So is this content of yours of high quality? So then again, this has a positive effect on the online findability of your website. So you have to keep using the right keywords, good consistency and synonyms. Google can scan a text, and so everything must also have a good structure.

The goal is for you to become and remain more findable with your website. That’s why you need to keep investing in good pages with valuable content. Don’t post once, but keep doing it regularly. Google then sees that you keep updating, which in turn contributes to your search engine ranking.

How does the semantic search engine know if a page is of high quality?

In doing so, Google will index the page, look at speed, pay attention to content, links and usability. If people stay on your website longer, Google sees that as a big plus. There are also benefits of semantic search for your website’s SEO, as it provides visitors with immediate answers to questions, but it also enhances the user experience. Also, this still promotes the crawl process.

So many aspects are looked at and you can already take that into account when developing content. Make sure you make good use of keywords and synonyms. Empathize, make sure you know what your target audience wants to know, and make sure you can give them answers. This allows you to show that you know what they are looking for and then they will come to you.

Links, Q&A, keywords, it all depends on each other to write good text. If you can’t figure it out then you can always hire an SEO specialist and outsource some (or all) of the work. I am here to provide you with advice on this for your own website or webshop.

Is it wise to engage a specialist with questions around semantic search engine?

When questions arise, it is always wise to call in a specialist. What matters is that visitors have a positive experience while finding the right answers on your website. If they succeed, they will also stay longer and Google really sees that as a plus. After all, you want to know more about it, and then you had better look for the right answers from an expert.

Anyway, I think it’s always smart when you have questions that you look for answers. As an SEO specialist, I know all about semantic search and can therefore provide you with comprehensive advice in this. Specific questions you can also ask me and I can provide you with a comprehensive answer in that.

So when you have questions about it, feel free to reach out to me. I will gladly make time to guide you in this or take over the work from you if you don’t have time or experience yourself. Anything is possible, as long as you know that questions are always free and it is wise to come to me with questions.

Senior SEO-specialist

Ralf van Veen

Senior SEO-specialist
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I have been working for 10 years as an independent SEO specialist for companies (in the Netherlands and abroad) that want to rank higher in Google in a sustainable manner. During this period I have consulted A-brands, set up large-scale international SEO campaigns and coached global development teams in the field of search engine optimization.

With this broad experience within SEO, I have developed the SEO course and helped hundreds of companies with improved findability in Google in a sustainable and transparent way. For this you can consult my portfolio, references and collaborations.

This article was originally published on 3 April 2024. The last update of this article was on 3 April 2024. The content of this page was written and approved by Ralf van Veen. Learn more about the creation of my articles in my editorial guidelines.