It doesn’t take an expert to tell you that ranking at top of a search engine results page (SERP) drives more viewers to your website. And, more website traffic increases the chances of converting visitors into customers.
So, the question is: How do you get your SERP ranking to number one? How do you keep it there? Answer: SEO.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of designing websites and creating content with the expressed goal of building traffic.
There are many SEO tips and tricks you can use, including using local SEO services and applying semantic SEO methodologies.
Semantic SEO came to the fore in early 2017 when Google finished rolling out a significant change to its search engine algorithms.
Quick History of SEO
To better understand the importance of semantic SEO, here’s a little background:
Once upon a time, SEO was about stuffing keywords. If you wanted to promote dermatology services, the more often the word “dermatology” appeared on your website and in the metadata, the higher your page would rank.
But you could also use keywords that were popular but didn’t relate to your site to attract visitors. A common trick in those days was to load metadata with, ahem, adult-themed terms to get the clicks. It made users wary.
So, Google refined their mysterious algorithms to make only content that related to the host site ranks high. This did a better job of producing quality results. But SEO was still about keywords.
For the latest major refinement to search algorithms, Google stepped into the user’s shoes. Why do people use Google? To solve a problem. Every time you type in a search box, you’re asking a question.
So, Google modified the SEO rules to make the sites with the most relevant, most valuable content rise to the top of SERP. It’s called semantic SEO.
How Does Semantic SEO Work?
With semantic SEO, Google doesn’t just match words. It looks for the meaning of words, phrases, and sentences. It looks at the context of words to assess their relevance those around them.
One way to think about: Google now ranks pages by the quality of information, not quantity of keywords. They want to give their users more value, more quickly. Their goal is to direct users to experts.
Semantic SEO Tips and Tricks
To take full advantage of the new algorithms, incorporate these SEO tips and tricks into your digital marketing plan:
Your content can’t just answer simple questions like “what does a dermatologist do?” or “signs of skin cancer”. It needs to go deeper by answering likely follow-up questions.
For example, on the heels of a question about skin cancer, a person might want to know more about the different kinds of skin cancer; how to know if their situation is urgent; if there are home remedies; or what to expect during a skin exam.
The information doesn’t need to be in one article. In many cases, it shouldn’t be. It can be “findable” through links between pages on your website.
Mix Long and Short
There was a time when 500 words were the sweet spot for content length. Now that Google is searching for experts for SERPs, blog posts, articles and webpages with 2000-3000 words are necessary.
Semantic SEO favors content of various lengths.
A blog post or article can’t be 2000 words for the sake of it. Content quality matters with semantic SEO.
No matter the word-count, the content on each page must be relevant to your site. It must also use natural language and have natural thought progression. It needs to answer multiple, connected questions. Those criteria help Google see it as “quality” content and get bumped up in the rankings.
Think Topics, Not Key Phrases
One of the best semantic SEO tips and tricks is to write for people, not Google.
If a person approached you and asked about the signs of skin cancer, you wouldn’t keep repeating keywords. You’d offer examples, reassure when appropriate, and urge action when necessary. You’d steer clear of technical terms and help them know what steps to take.
In other words, you’d address the topic. You wouldn’t worry how many times you said “skin cancer”.
But here’s the remarkable part: When you use a natural style to write about a topic, you end up using key phrases. And not just the one you thought you should focus on. You end up uses others that are similar or relevant, which is valuable in semantic SEO.
Create Many Pages
A wealth of information helps identify you as an expert in the eyes of Google algorithms. The continual addition of relevant content through blog posts or articles builds your expertise footprint. It also gives you more options for linking between pages, a standard among SEO tips and tricks.
It takes time and careful planning to build a content-rich site but it pays off in the form of where you land on search results pages. It can also help you rank high for a long period time.
The most critical aspect of semantic SEO is knowing what to write about.
The easiest, more reliable way is to use Google!
Start with a term or question you think people who you want as customers ask. For example: “How to clear acne”.
First, as you type, notice what Google auto-suggests. Those suggestions are based on what real people are asking. If any of those suggestions relate to your business, those are topics to address.
Second, look at the results page. Somewhere on that page, Google gives you one of two helping hands. In a distinct box, it displays either a collection of related searches or other relevant questions people have asked.
Use that information to form the basis of your content and you can be confident that people want that information.
You’ve put effort into creating deep, relevant, easy to understand content. Make the most of it!
Reusing content in a different format can count toward semantic SEO because it adds to depth. It can also help you win points with Google, which rewards multi-format content, especially video.
Achieving “Position Zero”
Perhaps the clearest sign of semantic SEO success is reaching “position zero”. That’s the snippet of content with an image that Google pulls from the page with the best of the best content that answers the query.
Have you ever seen that snippet when searching Google? How often do you use that information and go no further? If you’re like a growing number of people, the answer is “often”.
Following all the SEO tips and tricks we’ve listed above can help get you to the coveted place above all other results. But you also need each page to have an image for Google to use. Make sure the image is relevant and the alt tag is relevant too.
Your Digital Marketing Plan Needs Semantic SEO
Digital marketing requires multiple and simultaneous approaches. Semantic SEO is a core component because your website is the one thing you have full control over.
When your site is semantic SEO-friendly, it provides people with value. It helps establish your expertise and can differentiate you from competitors.
Our expertise is marketing for modern dermatology practices. If you’re ready to see how we can you get the results you want as you build and grow your business, contact us today!