Oh, Google, You’re So Semantic

by GuestBlogStar on January 10, 2013

The world of SEO is always changing and so, as we embark on a new year, it is a good time to look at the way SEO is going and what Google has planned for the future. With updates such as Panda and Penguin being rolled out in recent years, it seems that Google really is doing all that it can to penalise negative SEO and black hat tricks and make sure people doing things the right way are seeing positive results.

But what about the future? What more does Google have up its animal themed sleeve in the way of clear up operations and how are these likely to affect our SEO efforts? It has been suggested that we are heading towards the dawn of a new semantic search engine; a smarter search that will increase the need for relevance even further.

What Is Semantics?

Semantics is the part of language that deals with meaning. It concerns itself with how the meanings of different words relate to each other and looks at how different words can have different connotations when used in different contexts. Words are said to be part of semantic fields in which they are grouped together by their meanings in relation to a certain subject. For example the semantic field for the subject of ‘love’ would include words such as ‘heart’, ‘kiss’ and ‘passion’.

What Would Semantic Search Entail?

A move towards a semantic search engine would involve Google systematically developing their algorithm so that it understands exactly what people mean when they type in certain words. For example, words that have two meanings such as ‘box’ will generate different results depending on which context they are used in.

So if you were to search for ‘learn to box’ Google would know that you meant the sport involving a ring and not cardboard boxes. Similarly a search for SEO in Bath would bring up companies based in the historic city and not bathtubs. This means that it would also be able to understand colloquialisms, euphemisms and slang terms and know that when mentioning ‘a bun in the oven’ someone was probably looking for pregnancy advice and not cake recipes.

How Will This Change My SEO?

The good news is that if you are already making sure that you are doing the right things then not too much is going to change. The importance of relevance will become even bigger than ever as people endeavour to make their content be seen by Google in the way it was intended and therefore be shown for the correct meaning of the search term.

However, it will mean that the keyword research process will be expanded. SEO’s will want to ensure that their content contains as many words from the semantic field of the subject they are talking about as possible. This way, the company’s name will slowly start to be associated with a wide range of words that are used in their business field and not just a few industry specific ‘keywords’.

Although these changes may be a long way down the line and the chances are that we may never see a fully semantic search engine; steps can still be taken in that direction. It’s hard to believe that a search engine would ever be able to fully distinguish between two different meanings of a word but a move towards an increase in relevant search results is a move in the right direction. For us SEO’s, it’s just encouraging to see that Google are intent on weeding out cheap tricks and dirty tactics and rewarding those carrying out the right processes.

Chris Mayhew is blogging here on behalf of Marketing By Web. This Bristol based SEO company offers services in all forms of online marketing including PPC, SEO and social media management. Visit their website today for more information on how to really enhance your internet presence.

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