Understanding Semantic SEO

Understanding Semantic SEO

Semantic SEO is SEO 2.0. It is search entity optimisation. E-commerce experts have already been using the changes to SEO to their advantage.

What is Semantic SEO?

To start with, we need to explore the notion of semantic SEO. When we use search on Google and such, it throws up relevant and meaningful results. There is a difference between these two things. People are looking for results which are meaningful, not just relevant.

Let’s say you are looking for a printer online. You type ‘HP printers’ into the search bar and get a number of results. Some will be relevant but the ones that you are more drawn to will be meaningful.

You may very well click on the Amazon result. This is because the prices are clearly mentioned in the meta description, acting as a beacon. Other results may just talk about their printers and printing supplies, or boast that they have special deals without getting into the specifics.

If we click through, the top results pages have clearly delineated the HP printers but there are other offerings too. Everything is laid out in an easy to understand fashion and the sidebar is intuitive and helpful. Printers are listed by price and category and by brand as I specifically searched for HP. The further down the SERP we go, the less easy to use the sites become. In some cases, HP printers don’t even appear at all on the landing page – a poor user experience all round. On good landing pages, HP printers are shown next to pricier bands, with a couple of others thrown in to compare features.

So what does that mean for us and our idea of semantic SEO? Basically – semantic SEO is when Google takes your original query and extrapolates from it to give meaningful results which may not be entirely what you searched for but deliver a better user experience regardless. If you only want a specific brand then it could be a little annoying but many people when searching for an item aren’t 100% set on the one they want yet. It helps to inform consumers of their options.

From an e-commerce perspective, what marketers need to know is that keyword and content is becoming less important. What really matters is the user experience. If you know what you’re selling, what peripherals and accessories people need, and how to cross sell effectively, then you’ll go far up the SERPs. The Google algorithm does obviously take into account the keywords you are using, but it also needs to be sure that you are providing the best experience for the people it is delivering to your site.

You don’t want a page stuffed with only one brand of printer, or washcloth, or lip salve. People don’t already know what they want most of the time, and if you display a number of product lines, you are trusting that your visitor may actually want something else, or something more. For example, they may realise that they need printer ink, or paper, or a desk.

Semantic SEO can help increase revenue by trusting in smart customers. Think about how Amazon and eBay do so well. They aren’t just selling single items, they’re showing you what other customers bought with their products, they’re up-selling, cross-selling and making further buying opportunities easy for the customer to find. If your site only shows one product on a page, then customers will only buy one product.

E-Commerce Semantic SEO Tips

To get started, here are our tips for semantic SEO.

  1. Are you on top of your SEO knowledge? Before you start any semantic SEO campaign, you should make sure that you know your Panda from your Pigeon, understand predictive search, the Knowledge Graph and also have an understanding of tools such as Schema.organd Yandex Structured Data Validator.
  2. Find out about semantic keywords and work out how they relate to your site. This can be done using Google Trends, Google Advanced Search and through social media tools such as SocialMention. Explore the terms that people are using and how they are using them. A good keyword research session for your site should help you to see any trends that you should be thinking about when it comes to the structure of your site and cross selling opportunities.
  3. Link pages of your site. Map out category pages and product pages that have high authority. Cross link these with other relevant pages on your site.
  4. Split-test some of your display options and see which ones work best. See if you can figure out what your winning formula is.
  5. LSI keywords(Latent Semantic Indexing) and co-occurring words will need to be used across your site. These are words that appear in conjunction in search. Try to use these often. If we’re looking at printers, the types of words we expect to see would be ink, cartridge, supplies etc. By using these terms search engines will see what your site sells and give you additional points.
  6. Hummingbird, Google’s algorithm isn’t focused on keywords and content but on the end user, so make sure that you are too. Don’t just think about one key word per page, use multiple keywords and think about what it is that your customer really wants to see.
  7. Semantic markup in your HTML is a key part of semantic SEO. Schema.org can help you to mark people, places and products in your HTML, assigning attributes to objects and terms that people are searching for.

The key takeaway is that when it comes to SEO, you need to understand your customer and anticipate what their needs are. This will help you to go a long way when it comes to achieving e-commerce success. Cross-selling and up-selling aren’t just good for your revenue streams, they are also good for your SEO scores because Google wants to send people to a place where they can find everything that they want. Make sure that you are letting the search engine giant know that your store is the place to go.

Author Gyles Seward

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