What Exactly Is Semantic Search (& How Does it Affect SEO)

Ten years ago, SEO strategists across the world followed a relatively similar process.

Step one, conduct keyword research. Step two, randomly write those keywords into the text on a page approximately five billion times. And step three — rank number one for that keyword.

I hate to break to you, but that isn’t the case anymore.

Several algorithm updates like Hummingbird and RankBrain brought about a new concept: semantic search.

While this may remove jobs for black-hat keyword stuffers, SEOs who prioritize the importance of providing a good customer experience can sigh in relief that Google is now on their side.

Google and other search engines are continuously striving to satisfy the searcher with the most accurate results — which is precisely where semantic search comes in. In other words, it connects search intent with the context of your content to provide the most relevant and helpful results.

With these updates in place, how does this affect search traffic? And what do SEOs need to consider moving forward?

That’s what I’ll cover in this article.

What is semantic search?

To start, let’s dive deeper into how semantic search works.

Semantic search is the process search engines use to try to understand the intent and contextual meaning of your search query in order to give you results that match what you had in mind.

In other words, semantic search aims to know why you are searching for these particular keywords, and what you intend to do with the information you…

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