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Elena Terenteva

SEMrush Twitter Chat #6: Optimize Your Website For Semantic Search

Elena Terenteva
SEMrush Twitter Chat #6: Optimize Your Website For Semantic Search

I hope one day soon robots will evolve to the point that they’ll be able to successfully communicate with human beings. But what does “successful communication” really mean, anyway? It means participants in a conversation are able to mutually share and receive each other's ideas, thoughts and feelings.

Well, Google can’t do this yet. But at least with the development of semantic search, users have a chance to have a nice “dialogue” with the search engines.

If you’d like to understand the subtleties of semantic search, take a look at this wrap-up of the latest SEMrush Twitter Chat with guest expert Brandon Seymour, SEO Director at BodyLogicMD.

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First of all, let’s figure out what semantic markup is. A “semantic markup” is another way of describing basic HTML elements — such as title, header, lists, quotes, etc. — that provide information about a document’s structure and meaning.

Now let’s discuss the ways a company can benefit from semantic search and from applying semantic markups.

As search engine users, we want to receive relevant information every time we type in a query. By applying semantic markup on your page, you increase the chances of those people who are interested in the information or service you provide finding your page and getting the answer to their questions there.

Also, semantic markup helps us benefit from rich snippets.

“Semantic markup can increase the chances that information from your website will be highlighted in search engine results pages via rich snippets, attracting greater attention and click-throughs.” (Search Engine Land)

@semrush I would start with some easy to do semantic markups for products and reviews to get those nice stars in searchresults. #semrushchat

— Vincent - Daarom.com (@daarom) 26 ноября 2014

Those “nice stars in search results” provide users with extra information that can easily attract new visitors to the website. There are variety of rich snippets, which means that you can give users a lot of different signals that can make them click on your website. But remember one thing:

Also, semantic markups can help lay the foundation for the future, as Alisa Scharfpointed out: “A significant benefit to implementing semantic markup is that you're future-proofing your site and setting yourself up for visibility in search engines long term. Anchor texts and backlinks won't be a signal forever.” And this is a great long-term investment.

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First of all, if you’re going to do something, do it right! Let’s highlight the spots where some missteps can be made.

Step 1: dig deeper into the topic! The topic of semantic search is very wide, and it covers a lot of different aspects. So before you begin, determine the right starting point, which probably means analyzing your content.

As mentioned already, there are many options and it’s easy to get lost, especially if you’ve just begun applying semantic markup. So stick to the basics and determine the most essential things that will complement your website more.

Speaking of, avoid violating Google’s rules! As Vincent - Daarom.com said, “The most essential step in applying semantic markup would be to keep it real! Don't use it improperly or for spamming!”

And remember, there are a lot of tools that can help you on the way.

Martin Oxbyrecommends the Rich snippets testing tool.

Ashmithrecommends using Structured Data Markup Helper, which will help to follow the correct semantic structure.

Hardik Ozamentioned Google Data Highlighter tool.

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The basic rule you should follow while creating content is no different from the usual recommendations any experienced copywriter would make: create content for your audience (not for the search engines), don’t overuse keywords and build content around user intent.

ThinkSEMalso added: "SEOs need to think about the AUDIENCE when researching/using keywords, not search engines."

When choosing keywords, you should remember that even with the right keywords, we can deliver the wrong meaning. So [think] of meanings first,” added Mike Blazer.

Mike also pointed, that semantics — the meaning or interpretation of a word or phrase — should be included in your content”. So think outside the box — make it more about the context of the text, rather than specific keywords.

Also while choosing the right keywords, think about your goals and objectives. “This helps to identify entities that need to be associated with your site” - Emeka Azuka Okoye

To learn about search entities, check out this article and presentation by @Andrew_Isidoro, which has been shared by Tony Dimmock:

I Am an Entity: Hacking the Knowledge Graph (Moz Blog)

Hacking the Knowledge Graph (SlideShare)

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When answering this question, our participants were quite unanimous: it will take as much time as needed, depending on your experience, available time and human resources.

But still you can still take advantage of helpful tools, like Snippet Testing Tool, Structured Data Markup Helper and Google Data Highlighter tool, which were mentioned previously.

B3YbeJsCIAABLLU Take a look at the predictions for 2015. Following universal trend, semantic search will be “humanized,” and the role of the user will become more important.

Following the being-closer-to-the-user trend, localization will play an important role.

Another way of expansion: social media.

Martin Kůra also added: "Facebook is far more advanced in understanding entities than search engines."

Expect search engines to become more advanced. Let’s see what it will bring to us!

While everybody was having a friendly, casual chat, Bill Slawski — president and founder of SEO by the Sea and great semantic search specialist — appeared. We decided to post these answers as they are and not separate them into the question sections. Please enjoy these additional tips from Bill.

We hope you enjoyed this wrap-up of SEMrush Twitter Chat #6! Join us this Wednesday, December 3, at 11 a.m. (EST)/4 p.m. (GMT). Our amazing guest expert is Andy Crestodina, web strategist and co-founder of Orbit Media, and the topic will be, “How Does Social Media Affect SEO?

Use #SEMrushchat to join! We hope to see you soon!

Elena Terenteva, Product Marketing Manager at SEMrush.

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