The SEO industry is focused on semantic search, otherwise known as entity search. Some are curious if semantic SEO is actually a legitimate term. In technology, terminology in is debated for years before a term in finally settled on and adopted across the board. Even SEO is still getting its fair share of doubt as to whether it’s an actual discipline. But most in the SEO industry can agree that semantic search and semantic SEO involve actions that produce results, even without query terms.
Google and Bing are both making a shift toward semantic search as it brings up more reliable and accurate results. This is a challenge for some as the SEO industry has for years relied on keyword placement. Most SEO experts say keywords will still be valuable even as entity-based searches gain popularity.
Entity-based search programs will try to interpret the user’s intent and reach a search result through personalization, localization and entity disambiguation. When a user types in a keyword and knows exactly what it is they’re looking for, that has to maintain some value in search results. Most SEO experts agree that there can be no more powerful signal of intent than the keyword, which is why using keywords will never die.
Those practicing SEO have always had to guess at what Google and other search engine companies were basing their algorithms on to stay ahead of the game. Of those tech experts who believe keyword-only searches will eventually go the way of the dinosaur, the theory is that search engines now work better with full sentences because they offer more context and provide more information that can help the search program determine user intent.
What do SEO experts need to know about entity ranking? First, if Google hasn’t recognized what you do as an entity, it’s not going to show up on Google’s Knowledge Graph, or an entity graph. To come up as a result in the search, it’s critical to establish yourself as an entity. Entity rankings rely heavily on semantic search programs.
Keep in mind that more users are taking advantage of voice recognition software to interact with their technological devices. It’s more natural for people to use this technology by stating their query as a full sentence. While these might be coincidental, SEO experts will have to heed and structure what they do less around keywords and more around semantic search and entity ranking.
SEO will also need to understand that mapping strings to entities is extremely important. Keyword placement is still valid, but these key players must embrace the fact that pages need to say something rather than offer low-quality content loaded with keywords.
Others in the industry caution that too much worry about semantic search and entity search run the risk of forgetting about the customer. If your site is informational and you provide quality content, you’re giving the customer what they require. The site has to be somewhat easy to navigate and some attention to keywords must be given. It’s at this point when all the above is accomplished that any thought to entities and semantics should be addressed.
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