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Google's Semantic Search and Your Marketing

As you’re reading this, the semantic web is in operation and Google’s semantic search is creating the pathway through which we experience it.

If you want to get technical on how semantic search works here’s a handy diagram taken directly from my book on the subject:

How Google's Semantic Search Works


From a programming point of view semantic search is hugely complex. What is not complex however is what it does and how it does it. The what first: Semantic search surfaces content that is search query related rather than keyword driven. In other words you can optimise your website to the gills and it will still not come up if its content does not really answer the question that’s hidden behind a search query.

The crucial words here are “really” and “hidden” because in the semantic web, search is actually aware of meaning and intent. Google knows that your website really does and it understands what end users intent to look for when they type a string of words in the Google search box.

By using a complex web of interconnected relationships (see the diagram above again) to understand what your website really means Google then is prepared to surface its content when it answers the intent behind a search query, and that is about as revolutionary a concept as they come.

Now, for the how: As always there are a myriad of little things that you need to do as you dot the proverbial ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s in the optimization of your website but key to it all now is content. In the semantic web what does best is:

 •   Content that is original, timely, and of high informational quality    

 •   Clear linking strategies on the pages of your website

 •   Content that reflects the unique identity of your company or brand    

 •   Content that clearly reflects the value proposition of your products or services      

 •   Content that is constructed in a way that can invite further engagement

If content is repeated a few times here it is because it’s that important. Without content we lose the ability to function in the connected economy. Without meaningful content we are incapable of creating buzz, engagement and sharing, and it's these three that become part of the social signal Google looks at as it begins to understand what your online business and website is all about. Simple, right?

Get more practical help from Google Semantic Search.

Join The Conversation

  • David Amerland's picture
    Jul 12 Posted 4 years ago David Amerland

    Neil, that is an excellent comment and you're right. If nothing else it shows that we are fully living in the days of the semantic web where all the proverbial "dots" are getting connected. 

  • David Amerland's picture
    Jul 12 Posted 4 years ago David Amerland

    ALJT I am really glad you're implementing structured data mark up. The schema.org format has not been officially adopted by Google yet but having structured data definitely helps with better indexing the infomration contained on a website. Bravo. 

  • LewisTheobald's picture
    Jul 12 Posted 4 years ago ALJTMedia

    This is a great article. We recently did a lot of research into RDF (Resource Descriptor Framework) that powers the likes of 'Structured Data' that drives semantic search forward. It has been fascinating to monitor and see the results of implementing structured data across some of our websites. Not only is a lot more information being indexed, but more unique keywords and phrases flag up a lot more information about the products we're searching for - which is excellent.

    I think the likes of schema.org and Dublin Core have a long way to go and I'm sure using them will become standard to HTML5, just as OpenGraph has been highly adopted. That way results that are returned can actually be more relevant to the user when the complex algorithms that process the semantics are able to get a richer understanding of what is being described.

  • Neil Ferree's picture
    Jul 11 Posted 4 years ago Neil Ferree

    Ever since seeing the NSA/MIT GMail Map fly thru my G+ Stream the concept of "connected ecomony" makes more sense than ever. I ran my MIT scan and because I know who the players are, I can clearly see how the SE bot can connect and make relevant the content (even in my Gmail send/receive box) how fresh, relevant, consistant content semantically in sync can heighten or harm your website Authority.

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