If you are a business owner, whether you have been in the industry for years or whether you are just starting out, one of the common facts that you should know is that your business will have a hard time competing if you have little to no online presence at all.
For you to be able to achieve stellar online visibility, SEO is one of the most important aspects that you should invest in. Whether you understand how SEO works for businesses in Sydney or not, its significance for a successful business boost is undeniable.
It is possible that you have only been hearing about Search Engine Optimisation recently, but it has been around for decades. It was not until Google has decided that SEO should be about the user’s search experience that businesses actually started paying extra attention to the quality of their content so they may rank high in search results.
Being one of the search engine giants and the most popular one at that, Google took the lead in focusing on giving the users quick responsiveness to their online search questions. Not only that, but Google also fortified their process so that they will be able to provide accurate results despite any circumstances such as misspelled words, incomplete phrases, or poorly worded phrases.
Passive web users would not really want to get down with the technicalities of Search Engine Optimisation, but unbeknownst to them, they would subconsciously prefer web pages with better SEO practices since these are the ones that would give them a better search experience.
There was once a time when Search Engine Optimisation was based on a strict structure of keywords. This resulted in SEO professionals cramming keywords into every nooks and cranny of the websites that they are working on. This also means that sometimes, the content of the website does not make sense anymore. Why? This is because in hopes to provide SEO Services in Sydney or anywhere else in the world that would bear results, SEO professionals would prepare content that would contain their targeted keywords and/or phrases in the most unnatural phrases just for the sake of ranking.
During these dark times of Search Engine Optimisation, content creators created for Google and the machines, not for the users. Google changed all this by changing the standards from literal to semantic.
How did change start?
In the year 2002, Google has updated its algorithm several times along with the implementation of requirements to sort and rank websites. These updates made it hard for webmasters with getting away with excessive link baiting and keyword stuffing. This resulted in better and more relevant content that is actually useful to the users.
This trend in the algorithm continued in 2013 which materialised through the Hummingbird algorithm update. This algorithm update has changed how Google interpreted the questions that web users ask. This update allows Google to look for the meaning and intent behind the question instead of just the identical words and phrases.
This means that as a user, you will receive results which are relevant to the intention of your questions instead of results which matches your questions word for word.
The Hummingbird update came to life through the realisation that the world has developed into a fast-paced society which in turn caused the web users to search shorter phrases in their searches while still expecting relevant results.
Have you heard of RankBrain?
One of the major factors on the Hummingbird update that Google released is the RankBrain. This is the artificial intelligence that helps Google’s algorithm machines to be able to process and interpret complex searches and user intentions upon their search.
RankBrain is also what helped bring the concept of the intent being the foundation of semantic searches on the surface.
The influence of Voice-to-text Searches
Along with a fast-paced society, users are now equipped with technological innovations such as smartphones and their speech-to-text features.
It is less likely that you have not heard about the speech-to-text functionality of smartphones. This is the feature that allows the user to speak a keyword or a phrase into the Google search bar and convert them into typed texts.
So, from simple and short keywords and/or phrases, search engines now have a more complex and sophisticated set of questions to process. This feature also allows users to utilise terminology and phrases they use in verbal conversation.
We are all guilty of sounding different as we speak compared to when we are typing. Google is aware of this which is why the Hummingbird algorithm update has shifted the process from a machine-based course into a more user-centred experience. This means that Google has changed its mechanical process to a more semantic one.
The Positive Effects of Switching to Semantic SEO Searches
Google would not continue to develop a process if it is something that is not giving any benefits. The fact that the improvement of the semantic search is significant every year means that it is bringing some good to the search engines and their users as well.
1. A semantic search allows the user to have a more intuitive search
What does this mean? Over the years, users have gotten used to the fast and relevant results that they get from search engines without being completely aware of the changes that have been applied. But they will surely remember the times when they had several attempts to find answers to their questions only to be disappointed by the initial search results.
Also, back then, target keywords and phrases are just jammed into the content with no regard whether it still makes sense. This is how some users end up on websites that do not really address their concerns. This created a gap between the web user’s search intent and the results that are being presented to them.
The semantic search improved this situation by focusing more on the intent behind the user’s questions instead of paying close attention to the specific words or phrasing of the keywords. Because of this improvement, even the best SEO companies in Sydney and all over the world had to come up of a new strategy to boost their ranking on the search results.
2. This improvement in the algorithm gives users content with better quality
No matter how good a platform is, it is nothing without its users. This why every algorithm update is working towards the improvement of the web user’s search experience. The height of Google’s update for a more semantic search is the Hummingbird algorithm update. This update, as continuously reiterated on this article, helps the search engine process and provide the user with the most relevant results based on the intent of the users instead of the keywords that they are using.
Thanks to technological innovations, people are now able to enter search questions similar to how they talk. Since this type of search is less formal it has much less emphasis on the specific keywords and phrase structures, there is a need for high-quality content for a page to actually rank.
No amount of keyword stuffing can help a website improve their ranking unless they actually do provide high-quality content for the users.
The need for high-quality content would push the content creators to do more thorough research on topics. This also encourages them to write the content in such a way that the content is easy for the users to understand while providing great value.
3. A semantic search process helps with providing a better user value optimisation
The goal of having a semantic process is to be able to create and provide the best value for web users. Google wants to be able to address the concerns that their users have. This is why this new update encourages Search Engine Optimisation professionals to invest more time in optimising their content to ensure that it will be useful to the users.
Since the focus is not focused on the keywords, it is quite a challenge for digital marketers to determine the intention behind a user’s question. Since there are no concrete standards for the ranking, content creators are playing it safe by actually providing its users great content for their audience.
4. The more semantic process allows more flexibility on the web content
Since this kind of search process does not focus on the keywords word-for-word, it allows a certain kind of flexibility for the content creators. They no longer have to match every single word on their target keywords or phrases which gives them the freedom to use alternative wordings and word synonyms on the content that they create. This allows them to be more creative, unique, genuine, and, ultimately, useful.
The Bottom Line
The changes that Google has implemented may come off as a challenge to business owners, digital marketers, SEO professionals and content creators, but at the end of the day, it does improve the overall experience for everybody.
It improves the user’s experience by providing relevant search results for them and it also benefits professionals working on the Search Engine Optimisation by giving them more freedom on the content.