Semantic Search Engines and SEO

October 17, 2010

Many questions are asked when you start talking about semantic searching. Ask.com used semantic search and now there are several other search engines that are starting to make use of this “new” technique. Of course, there are refinements that have been made but the idea remains the same: semantic search has users use real language, such as a full question, and uses this as its query while sorting through pages to find sites that are the most relevant to the query. I like to think of the Internet as an encyclopedia and semantic search being able to flip through all of the pages related to my question and find the entry that has the best answer.

Doesn’t this seem a little late though? Search now allows users to put in the basic idea of their query and get pages that make the most sense based on those words. That has made SEO very particular and allowed people to find the best way to convey their site to people. Semantic search would change all of this because the algorithms would be completely different and more focused on problem solving than on related terms.

Here are a few questions that you should consider about semantic search in relation to your SEO:

1. How do you get to be the best answer for this kind of functionality?
2. Will traffic actually make its way to your site?
3. What is the best way to optimize a site for both keyword searches and natural language searches?

If Natural language does become an integral part of the search industry rather than the niche that it is now, what are you going to do to insure that your site continually gets the rankings, traffic, and conversions that you are used to getting? You need to think now about the best way to optimize your site for all scenarios related to search engines. This does not mean that it is easy, just a fact that you have to consider and deal with before it becomes a problem.

Finally, considering how semantic search engines seek to find answers. Your site will need to consider this so that your content is optimized to answer the questions that might be asked about your product. This moves search engines from simply directing people to information to finding the information that they are really looking to find. Beyond knowing terminology, you will need to find the best way to communicate ideas behind you products.

Though I do not think that semantic search will take the place of what search has become, I do think that it will become a part of it and something that you will need to consider when you are designing and optimizing your page. The content and quality of your site gain even more significance and importance using this type of search.

Written By: James Blackburn, Website Office Staff Writer

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