Understanding semantic search for SMBs

To succeed online your company needs to have a firm understanding of Search Engine Optimisation, and all the nuances this encompasses. One of the important factors is keyword research, but semantic search could be about to shake this up.So what is semantic search? And what do SMBs need to know about it? Well, here at Pumpkin Web Design we are Preston’s leading web design and web marketing professionals. We provide a wide range of high quality, effective website solutions and content marketing services across Preston and the North West, from Southport to Wigan, as well as Manchester. This includes higher ranking on the SERP. As a result, we have produced this guide to everything you should know about semantic search for SMBs.

What is semantic search?

Semantic search is a relatively new way for search engines to understand the intent behind a search query. This involves finding the meaning behind the words searched for, instead of matching the words in the text to the content on a website. This can be very useful for determining the real purpose of the search, and subsequently showing the results that will be the most benefit to the searcher.

What are the different elements of semantic search for SMBs?

To achieve this level of understanding, the semantic search needs to apply three different elements. These are:

  • Context
  • User intent
  • Conceptual meanings

Understanding the context of semantic searches

With semantic search, search engines try to understand the context in which a search is being made. Context can range from simple context, i.e. someone in America searching for football, as opposed to someone in the UK, to much more complex context. Determining this context is combined with personalisation, as search engines will use that individual searcher’s affinities, previous searches, and previous interactions to return the content that is best suited to the current query.

User intent for semantic searches

For semantic search, understanding the intent of the user is also an essential factor. This means that the search engine needs to establish the outcome that the searcher is looking for. In relation to SMBs this is the difference in a potential customer looking for an immediate purchase, and one that is looking for more information. By being directed to the right piece of content on your website, the user can be sure of an improved experience, and this can even help your website increase sales and sign ups.

Conceptual meanings for semantic searches

Finally, semantic search relies on understanding the conceptual meaning of the search words used. When this works successfully it means that the search term doesn’t need to use specific words or phrases to get the right results. For example, someone searching for a baking tray could also use the words ‘cooking tin’, ‘oven tray’, or even a phrase or question like ‘what do I need to cook oven chips’? What this means for business, especially SMBs, is that different types of content can help your website rank for relevant search terms, both from the traditional keyword style, as well as with the newer semantic search. It also means that you can consider creating an information bank designed to answer questions or queries potential customers or clients may have.

How is semantic search different to keywords?

So, how does semantic search differ from the keyword method? Well, the main and significant difference is that with semantic search results can be returned that do not contain matching text. When keywords are used, the search engine uses natural language understanding, and a range of other tools to establish what the user wants, and return the appropriate results. But this is based on a character matching algorithm, and as such, a search for soap will classify soup as a closer match than washing powder, because of the matching characters. Semantic searches can avoid this issue altogether by using all the information available to provide search results in context.

For more information or advice, get in touch with the professional today, here at Pumpkin Web Design.

Pumpkin Web Design Ltd is a small and highly results driven digital agency working for like minded clients in Preston, Manchester, Chorley, Southport, Blackburn, Burnley, Morecambe, Wigan and the UK. Our services include web design, SEO, content marketing, video production, brand design and much more.