5 Techniques To Use Semantic SEO To Optimize Your Content

Semantic SEO refers to the concept of leveraging language semantics, or the logic behind the meaning of words. This is to further optimize your content to enable search engines to have a better understanding of how well your topic and keywords relate to a particular search query.

You should use semantic SEO because search engines like Google use a method similar to Latent Semantic Indexing (aka LSI keywords) to understand how closely your content relates to the main keywords you are trying to rank for.

You can’t do semantic SEO without first doing keyword optimization, but that is a topic for another article.

5 Semantic SEO Tips for better Search Engine Result Page (SERP) Rankings

Aggregating Topic Groups

An example of a topic group

Topic groups are collections of content that are related around a central theme.

To provide a small example, a topic group could be “content optimization for SEO” and three topics within that group could be:

1) Semantic SEO

2) Keyword optimization

3) Writing unique high-quality content that provides value

When we talk about the concept of semantic SEO it’s good to understand that a well-researched high quality article will naturally implement at least some of the concepts that utilize it.

This can be done without needing to understand the science behind how it works. But a good writer or digital marketing professional will take this one step further and analyse their content to ensure it is as optimized as possible towards this goal.

Answer Questions That Are Commonly Asked About The Topic

Close-up of a wooden cube with a white question mark as a symbol for questions and answers on selected topics. The wooden cube is on the keyboard of a laptop computer. the background is tinted blue. Source: iStock.

When people are searching in Google they usually are trying to find the answers to their questions.

It is therefore no surprise that actual questions are commonly typed into the search field in a user’s hunt to find information that would help them with their query.

You can take advantage of this dynamic by having content sections in your article that specifically focus on answering a particular question. For example for the topic of this article you could have a section titled ‘What Is Semantic SEO?’.

Avid readers might be wondering why I have not added this title at the beginning of the article. The answer is that there are already many articles with this question in the header tags so I opted to not use it. But instead I have opted for having other more unique questions in their own header tags.

If you are able to get your article ranked for a particular question then it will help push up your results for other more competitive main keywords you may be targeting. When you have very competitive niches it therefore makes sense to target more in depth questions that may have not been answered by existing articles. This also serves to provide your article with more in-depth content.

Structured Schema Markup Data

A screenshot of structured markup data from Google’s Search Central documentation

Schema markup data is also known as structured data and it’s the language search engine platforms use to read and understand the content on your pages.

After you publish an article on your website a piece of software known as a crawler or ‘robot’ will eventually index the entire contents of the source code of your article into the database of whatever search engine is doing the crawling.

Most information on the page is designed to be read by human visitors. But the schema markup data is a series of data-points hidden from view in the source code that is specifically designed for search engines to help them categorize the data on the page.

For example let’s say you were doing a review article, you might have a schema @type of ‘Review’ and other fields such as author, rating, product name, image and others.

An example image showing structured data in source code of a page VS the visually generated web page appearance:

A more in-depth discussion of this topic will eventually be added in its own separate article.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Definition of synonym returned from a Google search query

Google’s search engine has a market share of almost 85%. Some internet marketing (IM) professionals believe in a topic classification method known as latent semantic indexing. A method of analysing sets of documents in order to find statistically relevant words to the main keywords of an article.

This is directly used by Google’s ranking algorithm to help determine how relevant an article is to a particular keyword phrase.

As Google’s exact algorithm is a secret and there’s no way of knowing for sure what they exactly use it’s better apply techniques in a more flexible way.

Here’s what Oliver Church says on this topic:
“Latent Semantic Indexing was developed in the 1980’s, LSI uses a mathematical model that makes information retrieval more accurate. Since it’s such an old methodology and it’s exact purpose is slightly different to what search engines are trying to do then I don’t believe it is an important factor. Whilst including synonyms of your main keyword target may provide minor relevancy benefits, much more benefit would be achieved through attempting to rank for keyword phrases related to your main target keyword for a given article. Especially if these are long-tail keywords that are less competitive. This is also known as optimizing for keyword groups.”

Should You Use Content Optimization Software?

Screenshot of Ahrefs and Grammarley

Some articles online recommend using quite expensive content optimization tools to try to improve semantic SEO. I personally don’t believe these tools are worth paying for. I recommend going with link and keyword analysis tools such as Ahrefs and for general writing aid Grammarly is a good inexpensive tool.

To Sum Up

Semantic SEO is a difficult technique to understand but by breaking it down into different subtopics in this article we can analyze how this term relates to how Google and other search engines use it without getting stuck in the trap of only considering language semantics alone.

These tools from point five, in combination with techniques 1-4 will provide a powerful foundation for most online marketers looking to improve the semantic relevancy of their content. It’s important to be constantly tweaking and improving various aspects of your SEO such as:

  • Semantic SEO
  • Internal and external link strategies
  • Checking user engagement to assess quality of your content including User Experience (UX)
  • Keyword research
  • Content research

Try to make it as easy as possible for Google to categorize and assess the relevancy of your article for a given target topic or keyword and remember to integrate adequate keyword research into your content or your efforts may not give you an efficient result.

Leave a Comment