Author: Anete Jodzevica 8 minute read
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Semantic SEO for Your Content to Rank Higher

Semantic SEO approach can help you create high-quality content that ranks on Google. The word semantic is defined as the meaning or interpretation of words and sentences.

Some say that semantics is the future for SEO, but do you know what it really means? 

In this article, you’ll learn more about what semantic SEO is, what semantic techniques can be used, and its role in search engines.

So let’s dive in!

What is Semantic SEO?

Semantic SEO is about creating content around topics instead of plain keywords. It aims to answer all user queries about a certain topic rather than focusing on one specific keyword.

Looking from the user perspective, it’s much easier to have all the questions answered in one article than going through 5 different ones, right? 


Suppose a user wants to understand what header bidding is. In that case, he might also wonder about other aspects of this subject–how it works, what are the benefits and disadvantages. 

In this case, having content with an in-depth analysis of this topic is the key to a good SEO strategy. It gives users all the necessary information on this subject and decreases the risk of switching to a different page. 

Additionally, having images, videos, or graphs helps users understand your content better from different perspectives.

semantic content

Why is Semantic SEO Important?

Semantic SEO allows creating content with a bigger purpose. The pages that use this SEO strategy usually have higher rankings on the search and more in-depth content for users.

Google wants to provide users with the most valuable and helpful content, and following semantic SEO only increases the chance of your content being recognized as one. Taking into consideration Google’s E-A-T principles also helps to create high-quality content.

Optimizing content semantically can be considered as one of the best SEO techniques, but the main idea is to create content optimized for users and not only for search engines!

What Are The Benefits of Semantic SEO?

There are 5 key benefits of using semantic SEO:

  • Improved content quality. By focusing on the broader topic term, you are more likely to provide users with all the necessary information and ease their search process.
  • Increased average time users spend on a page. If users find your content interesting and helpful, they will stay on your page longer.
  • Improved domain authority. In-depth topic research includes fact-based analysis of the subject, bringing more quality to your content. 
  • Opportunities for internal linking. When you dive deeper into a certain topic, you find that it can be related to other topics you cover. That gives you a chance to insert internal links organically. 
  • Rank for more keywords compared to other sites. Creating longer content allows you to rank for more related keywords, which increases the chance of users finding your page through different searches.

Semantic search describes how search engines look at used keywords’ contextual meaning and intent. It helps to display more accurate SERP results because they aren’t just matched to the keywords from the query.

Instead, a semantic search engine like Google and Bing understand these keywords on a deeper level and provide users with the best-matching results related to their search. 

A semantic search example is an answer displayed in a featured snippet.

featured snippets

Humans have a natural ability to understand the context behind different words and phrases, and search engines are improving this aspect to create a more humanlike interaction with users.

For computers to better understand the human language, they use a natural language processing (NLP) model. With every algorithm update, search engines get better at it.

semantic content

Overall, semantic search helps to create synergy between the human language and the machine language. 

How Does Semantic Search Work?

Semantic search works as another layer to the search engine algorithm–it processes the content to understand the context. 

To understand the content semantically, search engines work through 5 steps:

  1. Understand the meaning of each keyword in the query. 
  2. Find connections between these keywords to understand context.
  3. Consider UX signals (e.g., bounce rate) on pages, as well as the user’s search history, location, interests, etc.
  4. Filter the search results based on contextual relevance to the search query. 
  5. Provide users with the most optimized search results. 

The short answer is yes. Google uses semantic techniques as it allows upgrading its search formula for higher user satisfaction.

Google uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to provide the best SERP results and improve the UX. They are also important to maintain a successful semantic search. Therefore, Google constantly makes updates to its algorithms.

There are 3 Google’s semantic search updates: 

  • Hummingbird (2013)–interprets the meaning of different words in the query to understand the context and provide results that match the searcher’s intent.
  • RankBrain (2015)–works as a machine learning system that understands the meaning behind queries and serves related search results. It’s a part of the Hummingbird algorithm, and it also works as a ranking factor.
  • BERT (2019)–uses NLP technology to even better understand search queries, interpret text, and identify relationships between words, phrases, etc.

All of these updates are made to optimize the computer’s understanding of the context behind search queries. It’s an in-depth machine analysis of words and intentions. 

To provide the best search results, Google also considers the bounce rate and time spent on the page. It affects the page ranking in the SERP.

Why Does Google Use Semantic Search?

Google uses semantic search to:

  • Understand websites by topics covered and not just keywords used.
  • Gain a better understanding of the user’s search intent.
  • Separate low-quality websites from high-quality ones.
  • Provide quick answers to questions (e.g., featured snippet, knowledge graph).
  • Integrate Google technologies, like RankBrain, BERT, and Hummingbird.
  • Improve the user experience (taking into consideration the Core Web Vitals signals).

How Do Keywords Affect Semantic SEO?

Since semantic SEO is based on broader topic research, combining multiple, semantically related keywords around your desired topic is the key to this on-page SEO strategy.

semantically related keywords

Semantic keyword grouping allows increasing the total number of keywords your page could rank for. It also brings a higher chance of receiving more organic traffic.

See an example of semantic keyword grouping below.

semantic keyword grouping

Source: SearchEngineJournal

But don’t confuse this method with keyword stuffing because that could damage your SEO performance. Avoid a semantic gap and use keywords naturally, as they should align with the context of your page.

Search engines like Google already rank pages for multiple keywords. And because Google uses semantic analysis, it can easily detect topic synonyms and related terms in your page.

As long as the chosen semantic keywords fit in your content and don’t interfere with readability, you should incorporate them in your title, headings, meta description, and body.

What Keywords Work Best For Semantic SEO?

When you focus on semantic SEO writing, your main goal isn’t to optimize around a single, short, high-volume keyword. Instead, you should use semantic targeting for topically relevant, medium-tail keywords. 

Medium-tail keywords are more specific than short-term ones (so they’re not as competitive), but they can reach a higher search volume than long-tail keywords. Consider them as good SEO keywords!

(searches per month)
Short-term keywordSEO101 000
Medium-tail keywordLocal SEO services5400
Long-tail keywordLocal search engine optimization services800
Data from

With the help of semantic search, search engines target multiple keywords on your page, and if you focus on medium-tail keywords, you’ll most likely get ranked for some short and long-tail keywords as well.

How To Improve Your Semantic SEO?

We have gathered 5 tips for you to improve your semantic SEO performance:

  • Focus on the topic and create a structured plan that covers all the possible questions a user would have about it.
  • Know your target audience. Analyze and understand the user’s search intent to provide accurate answers. 
  • Perform semantic keyword research, and then combine those keywords into similar groups. Focus on medium-tail keywords and relevant synonyms.
  • Check out the “People also ask” section and related searches on Google, and incorporate answers to those queries.
people also ask
related searches

Last But Not Least

Semantic websites bring more value to the user, and using semantic writing improves your SEO. 

It’s a ranking factor as search engines use semantic fields, so follow our tips to create high-quality content and reap the benefits!

Setupad takes care of website monetization while allowing you as a blogger to gain more time on your true calling–quality content creation. Join us, and if you have any questions, email at [email protected].

About Anete Jodzevica
Anete is a content marketing specialist at Setupad. In addition to writing articles, she works at gathering information, verifying data, and explaining complex concepts to others. Anete believes that simplicity is the key to brilliance.

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