Semantic SEO Questions Answered
The world of SEO is ever-evolving. Semantic SEO appears to be the next stage in this process, but what is it and what does it mean for the future of SEO?
What is Semantic SEO?
Semantic SEO reflects the refinement of search engines, which, driven by the switch to mobile computing, are shifting to a basis upon, as Google put it, “things, not strings”.
In essence, instead of a slavish reliance upon keywords, searches will be based around entities, the “things” that are represented by words, and indeed images, video and the like. Projects like Schema.org’s markup could eventually enable search engines to better discern distinct entities.
When will Semantic Searches become a reality?
In short, they already are. Google “cheese”, for example, and observe the raft of related nutritional information returned in the Knowledge Graph. This linked information is returned based upon co-references and the intent of those searching for “cheese” , the “thing” in this case. Currently, semantic searches are in an inchoate stage of inception, drawing upon a narrow range of trusted sites, especially when search terms are more nebulous than concrete entities like “cheese”.
What do Semantic Searches mean for the future of SEO?
First off, keywords will still be important, semantic search methods will supplement rather than supplant them, but their dominance will be diminished, with co-factors such as user location and history also used to determine intent.
It is unclear yet whether the use of markup has been incorporated as a ranking factor, but it seems likely to happen. Worries remain about the utilisation of data markup, i.e. whether doing so has a demonstrable effect upon CTR and ROI or simply further entrenches SERPs as a final destination. SEOs may have to refine their methods to keep pace with the semantic web but will remain crucial.