Semantic Search Definition

Google have moved from measuring websites based on their perceived online popularity in terms of back-linking profiles, to a new and improved system of measurement that they call semantic search.

The old system of ranking was open to abuse and manipulation and rather than continuing the ongoing cat and mouse game with the SEO industry of refining their algorithm only for new and inventive systems and practices to emerge to ‘game’ their rankings, they have instead moved to a more robust method of assessing web content.

In the bricks and mortar world before the internet, we often made decisions based on the collective intelligence and opinion of our friends and colleagues. Google have taken this as a basis for rankings and incorporate many social signals into website rankings.

In conjunction with refined content analysis which has removed the need for high density keywords within your content. Google can now understand the intent of your content by relating keywords together using Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI). This in turn means that your content can be created for people rather than for search engines.

Because those people’s engagement with your content is then measured, Google can determine the value of your content to users and rank it accordingly.

google latent semantic indexing

How Semantic Search Works

With the old ranking system, you could publish a keyword rich article, post or document and by linking to it from other websites, the content would rise up the rankings.

With semantic search, back-link popularity is just one piece of the jigsaw. On top of the link profile relating to your content, Google now measures how your visitors interact with your content.

Using social media including Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and others, in conjunction with on-site activity such as comments, re-comments, conversations etc, Google can determine the inherent value of your content to those people reading it.

In Googles new world, content that is not shared, tweeted, liked, commented on, pinned and otherwise disseminated across social platforms is not as valuable as content that is widely distributed.

This introduces several new challenges for website owners. If you are going to attract significant volumes of traffic through search, then you need to amend your online marketing strategy to reflect Google’s traffic engagement needs and social requirements.

The recipe for internet success is now more complex in its structure, and is littered with many pitfalls and opportunities to be excluded from Googles listings. The ingredients necessary for a top ranking site can be found here.

Additional Resources:

Does Google Hate Your Website?

Google Webmaster Tools

Why Don’t I Rank In Google?

What is SEO?