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Semantic Search Basics You Should Know

Have you ever had the experience of racking your brain to come up with the perfect word and it simply won’t come to you, so you have to cobble together an unsatisfactory expression of what you’re trying to say?  The beauty of language is that there is often a perfect word to describe something, or if there isn’t, we come up with one.

The downside, of course, is that it can be difficult to pack all those words into limited brain space and recall them on command.  Sometimes, we have to resign ourselves to using imperfect words.  When it comes to entering search queries, it’s understandable that computers could have a hard time intuiting our intent.  However, computing power makes it possible for machines to make all kinds of distinctions about the language we use and what it might mean.

This is the basic premise behind semantic search – understanding not only what words are, but what they mean.  Suppose you do a search for the word “orange”.  How does a search engine determine if you mean the fruit or the color?  Additional qualifiers like “orange recipes” or “orange jacket” can help to put your search in context, but ultimately, the machine has to deliver results that are most relevant, and this is where semantic search becomes important.

What is Semantic Search?

Semantics, as you may know, relate to the meaning of words – not just what you literally say, but the additional meaning conveyed by word choice, how you pair words, and so on.  Semantic search is about definitive meaning, but also the logic of language, and ultimately, what the user has in mind when typing in a search query.

With complex language algorithms in place, Google is becoming more and more adept at gleaning the intent of users when they enter search queries.  By processing a wealth of additional data, including location, search history, and more, these algorithms can begin to learn how users search (in general and individually, in some cases) in order to deliver more accurate and relevant results related to context.

How to Take Advantage of Semantic Search Marketing

As always, the question for companies operating online is how to make the most of this tool.  How can you use semantic search to your advantage?  How can you craft marketing content that Google deems relevant in order to connect with search users?

There are two main things to consider: how your customers think and how they search.  Understanding your audience is important for all aspects of your business, from product design to marketing efforts.  Knowing how consumers think about your brand and your products is essential to planning semantic strategies with content creation.

This is coupled with how they search, insomuch as you need to understand user intent and how it translates into search language.  More and more search users rely on voice search options, for example, and while you may not realize that this changes the way people form search language, Google has certainly taken notice.

People speak differently than they type, and this alters search queries and results.  With semantic search, however, the intent behind the language is what’s important.

The average business owner may not understand the nuance of semantic search or how best to capitalize on it, but you do know your audience.  When you partner with a digital marketing firm that can apply your knowledge to take advantage of semantic search marketing, you could start to see your search strategies really take off.

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