Hi, I’m Lori Kirk, Brafton’s Manager of Content Marketing with Brafton’s first Connected Content. Last year, Google announced the new Hummingbird algorithm and it took away most of our keyword data. It seems as if the two are related and that they indicate what’s to come with semantic search. Play the video below or read on for the full transcript!
Google has been developing better algorithms that understand the context of searches – what we mean when we type in words and what answers we’re hoping to get. It might be easier to understand this if you think about how a brain works. Everything is interwoven, but there are relationships and connections that make information retrieval almost instantaneous.
Here are three ways to begin making your content friendly to the semantic web:
First: Answer questions with your content
One of the hallmarks of semantic search is that it looks for contextual cues. When Googlebots crawl your organic content, they’re not just scanning for keywords. They want to understand the big picture of what’s there – the purpose of the content – so it can identify results that actually answer users’ questions.
A good place to start is to think about how you can answer customers’ frequently asked questions with your blog content. If you can’t come up with very many, ask your sales department what prospects ask throughout the decision-making process, and tackle these topics first.
Also consider what questions people might ask that would lead them to your products and services if they didn’t know what exactly it was called. They may ask Google to find “Ways to prevent wage theft” and receive answers from companies that sell payroll processing software.
Second: Get active on social media
When you have an archive of answers, you want to share them with people you know are interested. There’s compelling evidence that the most socially active companies will do better in semantic search. Right now, this may only apply to Google+ because it’s the search engine’s network, but it might one-day expand to Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
Google wants to connect internet users to brands that are active online, interacting with people and starting conversations. It’s the digital way to make sure consumers can spot companies with the best word-of-mouth reviews.
The search engine is also on a mission to give users what they see in results pages, so it’s asking companies to label their content with Schema.org markup. This code tells crawlers exactly what they’re looking at, whether a visual element is a picture or video and if text is referring to a product review or a recipe. The semantic markup you might be most familiar with is Authorship.
At the end of the day, the more information you provide, the easier it is for Google to index your brand content and make sure it shows up in search results.
I hope this straightforward, value-focused approach helps you hold onto your search results no matter what tricks Google has up it’s sleeve or how search evolves in the future.
- Worried about losing keywords? Here’s some information about why it’s not the end of the world
- Check out Brafton’s free eBook: Speaking Google’s language: Optimizing content for the semantic web