How Semantic Search is Changing Content Marketing
October 4, 2013 | By David Shephard
Content marketing is the art of sharing valuable content with your readers, followers and fans. You invest in content marketing for a variety of reasons but the ultimate goal is to drive potential customers to your site. Just like a garden, your content marketing strategy is a bouquet of different flowers including blogs, forums, social networking platforms, videos, e-books, webinars, podcasts and pictures. Just like your floral friends, your content marketing needs time to grow. You can trim those branches which aren’t performing and add new flowers to your bouquet as you go along. And, with a little nurturing, you’ll be coming up roses and reach that coveted first page ranking in a search.
Content Marketing as we Know It
Providing valuable content helps you to establish yourself as an expert in the field which is a great way to garner trust. Disseminating valuable information means you become a sought-after resource for potential customers. Proving something to your customers for nothing creates a dashingly good impression and makes them more likely to acquiesce to your requests for email addresses and more responsive to your calls to action.
Of course the Holy Grail of content marketing is to create content so compelling that readers, searchers, fans and users share your content, read your blogs and return to your website often. This will convince search engine algorithms that you are a hotbed of information that is relevant, regularly updated and accurate. This will enable you to surge through the rankings until you meet the coveted first page.
Semantic Search: The Future of Content Marketing
While linking and keywords are the way search engines have traditionally determined relevance, future searches will focus on semantic search. Semantic searches, in short, try to answer questions in the same way a person would. When you type a question into a search engine, semantic search capabilities attempt to understand your intent to deliver more relevant results. It’s a move beyond ranking algorithms to use semantics, which is the science of meaning in language, to deliver more results that accurately and thoroughly answer your question.
If I wanted information about Denzel Washington Movies for example, this is what a semantic search would look like:
Semantic searches mean that your search engines will have to draw on a number of different sources to ascertain your proclivities, tastes, interests and past purchases. By keeping a database of all the things you have searched, bought and read in the past, your search engine can get a better idea of what to include in an answer to your questions. This will also affect the kinds of adverts that are displayed on your search page and make it more likely that readers will click through.
Adapting your content to Semantic Searches
You can prepare for the coming shift in search criteria by offering answers to questions in your headlines and making these the focus of your content. You can refer to the Google Structured Data Markup Helper here for specifics on how to create data that Google can decipher. Schema.org is a common vocabulary system set up by Microsoft, Yahoo! And Google which describes data on the web. When you add the schema.org markup to your HTML pages, search engines can find and decipher your data and email.
Simon Penson from Search Engine Watch sums it up like this: “Look to solve problems for your audience, work hard on schema opportunities and other meta data integration, think more laterally in terms of your ideation process and create great content for that is the short answer.”
Doc Sheldon echoes our own sentiments that there is no substitute for great content and communication: “Bottom line: You need to start building your content with concept and context in mind. That’ll result in better content, more directed to your visitors – then you can stop worrying about whether Google has a clue about the topic your page is focused on. Just communicate.”