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Semantic Search and SEO trends for 2015

Posted on December 12, 2014 | No Comments

In September 2013, Google released its “Hummingbird” update. Unlike the previous Panda and Penguin updates, Hummingbird was a complete overhaul of the algorithm, based on semantic search.

Semantics is a sub-discipline of linguistics that focuses on the study of meaning. Semantic search attempts to understand the meaning of the query and searcher’s intent. Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Landexplains it.

Long-tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are longer, more specific phrases consumers are more likely to use when they’re further along in the buying cycle and closer to making a purchase.

The concept behind long-tail keywords is quality over quantity. I once had a client who sold gift baskets. Ranking well for that term would generate a lot of traffic, but she’d have to compete with some top brands to do so. Ranking for longer, more specific terms like “homemade chocolate chip cookie gift baskets” will be less competitive and generate a smaller amount of higher-quality leads.

LSI Keywords

LSI stands for “latent semantic indexing,” which is a fancy term for synonyms and plurals of your main keywords. So if I’m a dentist, I also want to use keywords like dental and dentistry.

Latent semantic indexing also tells Google how keywords are related to one another. So when it sees a webpage containing “apple,” along with keywords like “iPhone” or “Tim Cook,” it understands the page to be about Apple, not apples.

Semantic Markup

You can help search engines better interpret the content of your site by incorporating semantic markup in your on-page optimization.

Semantic or schema markup is microdata inserted in your HTML that uses a common set of properties to describe the contents of your site, such as:

  • Event
  • Organization
  • Person
  • Place, Local Business
  • Product, Offer
  • Review

Schema markup isn’t a ranking factor. But using it gives search engines detailed information they can use to display rich snippets (such as price, availability, and review ratings) right on the results pages, which can certainly improve your click-through rate.

Sameera Thilakasiri By Sameera Thilakasiri
,is a front-end developer based in Colombo, is a blogger and a lifestyle photographer.
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