The way we search has changed; it’s only natural that search engines themselves have evolved to keep up. In the process, they’ve caused a fundamental shift in SEO.
The Internet – or at least, the way we use it — has changed. Thanks to social media, the way we communicate and engage with content has undergone something of a shift. Context in search results is now more important than it’s ever been, and our patience for irrelevant content — in light of how inundated we are with information – has grown rail-thin.
On top of that, the rapid increase in numbers of mobile technology means that the way we use search is different now, too. More and more, people are starting to enter chat options into engines like Google, using voice recognition software to browse the web. The intersection of these two closely related trends has given birth to something known as the semantic web.
That’s what we’re here to talk about today. What is the semantic web? Perhaps more importantly,what sort of impact does it have with search engine optimization?
What is the semantic web?
The Semantic Web is an idea of World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee that the Web as a whole can be made more intelligent and perhaps even intuitive about how to serve a user’s needs. Berners-Lee observes that although search engines index much of the Web’s content, they have little ability to select the pages that a user really wants or needs. He foresees a number of ways in which developers and authors, singly or in collaborations, can use self-descriptions and other techniques so that context-understanding programs can selectively find what users want.
What Does All This Have To Do With SEO?
Now we get to the real question – how exactly does semantic search impact search engine optimization? What SEO techniques do you need to know to tap into this new trend? More importantly, what does semantic search mean for old-school SEO tactics like keyword optimization?
Moving forward, optimizing for search will involve identifying the entities that are mentioned on each of your pages. It’ll involve understanding how all those entities are connected to one another — and to your brand. It’ll involve explicitly identifying to search engines what entities a particular page contains through a structured markup framework like schema.org.
It’ll involve creating tailored rich snippets to improve the appearance of your brand’s entry on the SERP. It’ll involve authorship and verification methods. And perhaps most notably, it’ll involve the creation of incredible content.
I know, I know; we’re pulling out the old “just create amazing content and your users will come.” But the fact is that as far as semantic search is concerned, that’s never been more true. Search engines are getting better at understanding what the users want with each passing day — which means that in the very near future, a website’s quality will be every bit as important as the webmaster’s optimization efforts, perhaps even more so.