The semantic web is quickly becoming a necessary component of SEO strategy. With Google enhancing its Artificial Intelligence and learning capabilities, incorporating semantic SEO will help improve your site navigation, your content marketing, and your local SEO.
The semantic web is meant to link data, which is not restricted by format, location, sources, or applications. It promises a more meaningful, complex, and personalized online experience with wider access to information.
Search engines have had a fairly swift reaction to the semantic web and have already begun utilizing semantic technologies in their searches.
The semantic web can do so much more for marketers, though. So what can these technological advancements do for you?
Pinpoint Users Based on Search Objective
Identifying the users’ intent on making a transaction is the ultimate goal for most digital marketers. In the past, the most we could do was group users into interest categories using analytics and big data platforms. Finding people who were ready to make a purchase seemed unattainable.
Now, though, thanks to Google’s RankBrain system, targeting someone based on search objective is possible with the semantic web.
There are three basic searches that you can use to your marketing advantage:
- Navigational: Users who want to get to a certain website or page without knowing the URL.
- Informational: Users looking for a particular piece information. These users could be anywhere in the sales funnel, so a smart keyword strategy is essential.
- Transactional: Users we all want. These searchers are actively looking for a page that will allow them to convert right away, whether that’s making a purchase, creating an account, signing up for an email list, downloading and e-book, or any other conversion your site desires.
It’s your job as a digital marketer to provide a page that matches the user’s search objective. Helping potential customers arrive at an informed decision can be invaluable. This is especially true if your content helps them make a purchase. Using your website and content to fulfill this intent will boost your SEO and conversion rate.
- Search Optimization: Informational content will be more relevant to informational queries.
- Conversion Rate: Regardless of where your potential customers are in the sales funnel, providing content that matches their search objective will make your brand more effective.
Polish Your Branding for the Semantic Web
Semantic content all boils down to establishing authority on a subject, and optimizing your content for semantic search will prove your brand is a leader in your niche. The more trust you are able to build as a brand, the more likely your visitors are to convert.
Expertise is a vital selling point to potential customers who want to buy from someone knowledgeable and trustworthy. Once you’ve established expertise, you have the ability to focus on more competitive parts of the market.
For example, becoming an expert on financial planning can allow you to branch out into other services such as investment options or retirement plans. If you are an expert in guided tours of cities, could you also branch out into other tourism opportunities like culinary tours or wine tours?
Once you have established that expertise in your market, Google will prefer your web pages over other, less authoritative domains. It can also make it more likely that your content will appear in Google’s Answer Box and Related Questions snippets.
Google’s rich snippets and Knowledge Graph panels give you a chance to enhance the brand-user interaction, right in the search engine results page (SERP). Be sure to optimize your pages for these rich results.
Enhanced Product Feeds
The semantic web can help marketers in terms of organic search marketing but it is also useful for paid (PPC) marketing!
Semantic markup allows online retailers to tailor their product feeds and keep them up to date. Retailers can also tap into this technology to automate the process.
Using the semantic web for this process is simple:
- Add the structured data HTML to your product pages (name, price, image and description properties).
- Add the Google Merchant Center add-on to your Google Drive.
- Choose Update from website in the add-on to crawl your website and populate the spreadsheet with your product feed data.
- Submit your feed to the Merchant Center.
To keep your feed up to date, just re-crawl your site. You can do this with an online SEO checker. Or, simply turn on automatic item updates.
Semantic web technology can also power site search, which is an important conversion tool.
Around 75 percent of visitors use site search, and those users tend to convert better than the rest. If your site’s product search isn’t returning the most relevant products, you’re deterring some of your most valuable users.
Integrating semantic capabilities into your site search will allow you to showcase the best products for a potential customer’s need, even if their query is ambiguous.
Structure Your Data
Did you know you can also use semantic tools to implement your search, brand, and product marketing on your website?
One way to optimize your site’s entities is to copy and paste the markup onto your site’s template. If you have an older site with lots of content to optimize, though, that’s not ideal or even feasible. However, natural language processing tools allow you to do this automatically.
WordLift is a WordPress plugin that helps content creators and publishers optimize their articles. WordLift will automatically detect the entities in the content and create the markup to link the data back to the entities.
With WordLift, you can link back to entities using open data sources, or you can create a unique vocabulary for your site and create your own semantic web.
There are so many things the semantic web can do for digital marketers to help increase your reach, grow audiences, improve brand recognition, and boost conversions and sales. A quick SEO audit will show you what areas you need to focus on to get closer to the goals you have set.
Courtney McGhee is a part of the Marketing Team at WooRank, an SEO audit tool that has helped millions of websites with their SEO efforts. A former journalist in North Carolina, Courtney shifted gears and entered the digital marketing world, joining WooRank in Brussels, Belgium. Courtney blogs about SEO, Marketing Trends, Social Media Strategy, and the Semantic Web.