Advances in SEO – Semantic Profiles

SEO success no longer depends on words alone. Search engines are getting clever, they now look for meaning and look at semantics and ontologies. Below is a brief overview of what this entails:

What is a Semantic Profile?

Semantics is one of the three main branches of semiotics. Specifically dealing with meaning and how it is communicated through signs and symbols. As search robots index written content the symbols of interest here are words.

Previously search results index rankings and relevance were returned in direct response to the sites domain name, page titles and meta tags (words hidden from the user). Then, as technology improved, the robots could index greater amounts of content and algorithms were created to calculate such things as keyword density and PageRank.

However computers don’t think like people. Unless of course they are taught to.

So the next big step was allowing search robots understand what they were indexing. To give each word substance. By teaching the search engines what words signify, by giving them context and by building a framework of related words and words with similar meaning the machines begin to think more human.

Google have been using techniques like Latent Semantic Indexing for some years now, there’s a good article here on SEO Book.

Then to summerise, what does this mean? A useful analogy would be to imagine sitting in a waiting room, opposite you is a woman chatting on her mobile phone. The woman is having an intriguing conversation with a friend (whom you cannot hear). Now assume she never mentions herself the topic of conversation (her keywords) however from what she does say, the related phrases and words she uses you can piece together her story as whole. You should be able to do the same with a well written, search engine optimised web site.

My recommendation then remains the same. The best thing you can possibly do is create quality content which is relevant to your subject matter, informative and useful. If you sell sheds include details about construction materials, types, uses, placement and any additional related information. Be helpful, many people initially looking into getting a shed will be searching for questions like “most secure types of shed”. Find out the most frequently asked questions in your field and answer them, you’ll increase traffic and maybe sales too.

Here is a good tool for finding related words: Go Rank

Do Not!

Use “black hat” SEO methods. Any benefits gained in the short run will inevitably turn to disadvantage as the robots get smarter.

Last modified on 13 September 2012
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12 May 2010
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