With origins dating back to only the 1990s, search engine optimization (more commonly referred to the acronym SEO) has always meant more visibility for businesses. The businesses that jumped on the SEO bandwagon early saw enormous returns when the Internet boom reverberated the globe.
In modern marketing, SEO is non-negotiable. With 97% of businesses going online to discover products and services, businesses who aren’t easily found on search engines are being passed over for their competition.
Something to understand about Google and other search giants, however, is that they are becoming ‘smarter’ every day. Search engines have evolved to recognize when your business is optimizing content purely for SEO without offering much value to consumers. Google is now starting to shift their priorities to more comprehensive, well-written content formatted for user experience.
Simply put, if you’re trying too hard to rank for your keywords, Google knows, and they’re penalizing you for doing so by leaving your rankings to stagnate and eventually plummet.
To write SEO content that continues to climb the ranks and maintain their position as long as possible, you need to familiarize yourself with the concept of Semantic SEO.
As the owner of a content marketing and copywriting agency, here are my top tips for writing for semantic SEO.
So, What Exactly is Semantic SEO?
At its most basic level, semantic SEO is about what value your content offers your audience. The goal of search engines is to provide the most relevant results related to an inquiry. If a search engine can find information that answers the search query and more, that is the result that will be served. Semantic SEO is the process of creating thorough content that a web user can utilize as a reference for the majority of their questions on a specific topic.
How Do You Write for Semantic SEO?
Writing for semantic SEO is different from writing for what we know as ‘traditional’ SEO. Whereas traditional SEO involves creating content based around the saturation of a specific keyword within content, semantic SEO is written with value in mind.
While you will still implement your keywords when writing semantic SEO content, it will not be the sole focus of the writing. Simply put, the more detailed your content is, the more context search engines will pick up, categorizing your content and ranking it for related keywords and phrases.
To write semantic SEO content:
Know What Your Audience Wants
The first step in writing semantic SEO content is to thoroughly understand what it is that your audience is looking for. One way to effectively do so is to perform a Google search on one of your target keywords.
On the search results front page, Google provides a box with other suggested content, titled “People Also Ask.” In this area, you will see a list of common questions related to your topic.
Structure for optimal user experience
Google and other search engines aren’t just looking for thorough information — they’re looking for a holistic user experience. Structuring your content so that it is readable, easily scannable, and simple to navigate and understand will earn you points with search engines (and your audience!). To properly organize your content for the best user experience:
Create Comprehensive, In-Depth Writing
This is the ‘nitty-gritty’ of creating semantic SEO content. To create the kind of in-depth content that search engines are looking for, you will need to go deep, deep, deep to create ultra-comprehensive content.
This means elaborating on topics, subtopics, and subtopics of subtopics. Leave nothing to the imagination when writing content for semantic SEO. Answer one question after another. If you mention a topic, elaborate on it. If your audience leaves your page with questions, they’re going to go elsewhere to find the answers. When that happens, you’ve lost your lead.
Semantic SEO FAQ
The term ‘Semantic SEO’ isn’t regularly used in regular marketing speak, unless you live, breathe, and eat search engine marketing. Because semantic SEO is still relatively new (well, in ‘internet years’) there are still quite a few questions commonly asked by those new to this type of SEO.
Q: Is there a minimum word count for something written for semantic SEO?
A: There’s not a definitive word count that qualifies a piece of content as semantic SEO, because semantic SEO is about the overall quality of the content rather than the length. Keep in mind, however, that a piece of content that goes in-depth enough to answer all of a user’s questions is going to be a lengthier piece.
Q; How Do I Create a Cohesive Piece and Write Comprehensively at the Same Time?
Many marketers and business owners first begin writing for semantic SEO, the result is sometimes a lack of cadence within the content that leaves a piece scattered or confusing. When writing on a topic in-depth, the topic still needs to be narrowed down.
For example, a plumbing business wouldn’t write a single article titled “What is Plumbing” trying to encompass everything there is to know about the topic. A subtopic of plumbing such as PEX piping would be a better choice, with extensive information on PEX piping, its applications, and other frequently asked questions.
Q: Does writing semantic SEO content mean not using keywords?
While search engines still scan your content for keywords, with semantic SEO, these web crawlers no longer solely rely on them. So, yes, your writing will still include your keywords, but semantic SEO is more about context.
Is Writing for Semantic SEO Worth the Tedium?
Absolutely, resoundingly, yes. When you create content that search engines categorize as useful, informative, and relevant, not only do you have the chance to rank for more keywords, you have a chance to maintain your rankings for longer.
While creating encyclopaedic pages surrounding a single topic might be time-consuming and tedious (which is why many businesses opt to hire a copywriter) the time invested results in high returns.
And, when you think about it, comprehensive content is more than just ranking on search engines; it’s great customer service. Providing your audience with as much information on a topic surrounding your product or service presents your brand in a positive light.
Writing for SEO is for businesses that want to compete, succeed, and build next-level brand loyalty.
- A Copywriter’s Advice on How to Write SEO Content that Still Kicks Ass - January 1, 2021