Semantic Search Engine Optimization is a new frontier for SEO experts who want to stay ahead of the Google curve in securing additional search engine rankings for their target search terms. ‘Semantic SEO’ is currently quite misunderstood in the SEO community. Once understood, the proper application of a Semantic SEO strategy for your web site (and for your clients) can pay big dividends in improving your on-page copy, page headings, anchor text and internal linking, and deliver increased site traffic for search engine queries containing alternate word meanings.

An obvious example of an alternate word meaning is searching Google for the term ‘Top Hotels’. If you conduct this search on Google you will see that most of the sites which are ranking Page 1 Google for this term contain the copy ‘Best Hotels’. This is a simple example of Google knowing that you are really looking for the best hotels when you request the top ones. More importantly, for the web sites ranking Page 1 Google for this term, they’re getting the traffic from the search query because they are (often unknowingly) using a better alternate word in their primary copy.

Google is unique in how it applies ‘Semantics’ (aka synonyms or alternate word and phrase meanings) to it’s search results. Traditionally, the use of Semantic Indexing of content derives from the use of ‘Latent Semantic Indexing’ which uses a Thesaurus or an Ontology to offer up alternate meanings for words. The Thesaurus or Ontology contains specific alternate word meanings for the target word.

Google is the gatekeeper of trillions of pieces of data on user searches, so they actually know better than a Thesaurus what people are searching for, and the alternate search meanings that deliver accurate search results in the real world of online search, in fact they have their own internal method for determining semantic relevance.

This has significant implications for SEO experts and webmasters who are interested in ranking on Google for additional search term queries. Visiting a Thesaurus and grabbing the alternate word meanings for a keyword will not guarantee better Google organic search traffic. At best you will capture some of the alternate words, but you will also include words that Google does not think are semantically relevant, and you’ll miss words completely that Google knows are important to searchers.