Why Semantic Search Matters for SEO

Digital MarketingSemantic search is the dominant search technology today. It finds what people want — which is not always exact phrases typed or spoken into a search engine. To do this, it uses multiple data points on every search.

Imagine a website address with a whole web of user data and search terms branching out from it. That is similar to the way semantic search works: It’s all about context. When you type something in, search engines use information about you, your terms and other, similar searches to show you the most appropriate listings.

Why Does Semantic Search Matter?

This type of technology has been around for years now. As such, it’s important to move away from the old, completely keyword-driven SEO techniques. The new paradigm is using content-driven strategies, which prioritize providing useful resources for your ideal visitor.

What Data Do Search Engines Use?

It’s no secret search engines have reams of data on nearly everyone. There is one secret regarding which information is used to inform which search results.

By testing various queries and analyzing responses, analysts can make educated guesses at some of the reasoning behind results. Search engines almost definitely use the location and search history of the searcher – if that information is available. They also use data about the websites:

  • How long other visitors spent on the pages
  • Frequency of selection for the same search terms
  • Whether keywords from the search are on the page

Finally, the semantic search technology uses information about the search itself, such as how it might relate to other, similar searches.

How Do You Optimize Legal Practice Websites?

Optimization should always be done based on specific business goals. Building for semantic search is especially important for competitive, specialized or territory-based businesses. Many legal practices fit into at least one of these categories.

One of the critical steps for many law sites is localization. This means writing content that anchors you in a certain area. The reason — Google often returns local results first, if it can, when people search. For jurisdiction-sensitive terms — like “divorce lawyer,” for example — you want to make sure the search engine knows where you are.

There is also a technical side to optimization. Correctly formatted markup and code is a major element of readability for the search engine. A clear site map also helps. In general, providing search engines with clean code in a well-organized structure is the guiding concept of the technical side of SEO for semantic search.

The bottom line: If you want to take advantage of the way Google and other search engines choose their results, semantic search technology will be a factor. Contact FORWARD Marketing at (773) 227-3269 with any questions about optimizing your site.

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