April 16


Explaining Semantic SEO and How it Affects your Content

By Jason Khoo

April 16, 2020


Welcome guys to another edition of Zupo SEO Talk and Tea. 

Today's conversation is about what semantic SEO is and how it affects your SEO and your marketing strategy. But before we dive in today, it is SEO Talk and Tea, so if you watch any of our videos, we always introduce the tea. Today we have a green tea, and again, if you've seen the other views where I've had this tea, I don't know what any of this says. I just know it's the green tea. That's pretty sweet and I do like drinking it, so that's enough reason to drink it today. So let's dive on in.

What is semantic SEO? Semantic SEO is an area of entity indexing and understanding entities that have SEO. Of course, if you're a little bit more technical, I may be butchering it or making too many parallels, but this video is more for those who are unfamiliar with semantic SEO or entities as a whole. And this video is more meant to just explain how Google has modernized their indexing. So if you're a SEO expert or purist, this video isn't really trying to be 100% accurate in terms of the academic sense. I'm just trying to explain what semantic SEO is to someone who's trying to start SEO or their expertise does not lie in SEO.

But what semantic SEO is, it's the understanding that Google does not index straight by keywords anymore. So the days of just using a keyword over and over and over again on your website and you're going to rank isn't really the case anymore. Google is a little bit more sophisticated with that. I'm sure on the news you've heard about machine learning and how AI and how they understand language better. Yes, to a certain extent they have. And so that's where semantic SEO comes in. Semantic SEO is the understanding for Google of topics, clusters, entities. They understand synonyms now, so if you're saying soda and pop, they generally know that you mean the same thing. Soccer, football, same thing. So depending on ... Not American football, but anyways, you get the point.

Where I'm trying to go with this is that when you're writing content and you're optimizing for SEO, you need to give it a semantic sense, you're not just adding a bunch of keywords so that Google can see you, those keywords and you rank. It's more about showing your authority on a topic.

So a great way to best understand this is an example I love to use, if you know anything about me, I watch the Simpsons a lot. I probably watch two to three episodes at night before I go to bed, so I watch the show a lot and so I'm going to use them as an example. For Google, when they're evaluating websites, let's say they found a website talking about Springfield. How do they know if you're talking about Springfield natural city, Springfield, the city from the Simpsons, or something else? Well, how they understand that is if you talk about Springfield on your website, but you also talk about this Simpsons, Homer, Bart, Marge, Lisa, you have content about these different topics. They can cluster those topics together and understand you're talking about the Simpsons in the show. Now, if you're talking about Springfield, but then you talk about city ordinances, the community, small business in the area, the local council that's there, they're going to have more understanding that you're talking about maybe a real city called Springfield.

So when it comes to semantic SEO, it's optimizing not based on keywords in a sense, it's going a higher, more macro level and optimizing based on topic clusters and authority entities. So what that means for your marketing is if you're going to optimize for a certain keyword group, you can't just be using a keyword over and over and over again. You need to be addressing the topic. So a common example of that that I like to use a lot is let's go, and you're a dentist, you need to talk about cavities, implants, all the different things, teeth cleanings, all of the things that you could talk about. And so as a dentist team, it might seem redundant to talk about what a cavity is or what an implant is because if someone's coming to you, they probably know what that is already, but that's where SEO is a little bit weird.

You're not optimizing for the customer, you're optimizing for Google. So Google needs something to make sure that your website, even though there's pictures of dentists and all this great stuff, that you actually have authoritative content and a thorough library of content based on the topic you're trying to ring for. So if you're trying to rank for dentist and you're talking about cavities, what is a cavity? What is an implant? How do you get one? What's the process? It sounds redundant, but it helps your topical authority, which helps your semantic SEO. So when it comes to your own marketing, whatever keyword group you are trying to optimize for, ensure that you have a full thorough library of content for those topics that you can write about, that you can find your website, and it'll connect all the clusters together.

Another great example, I talk about SEO, but generally going to talk about SEM, PPC, what Google is, keyword research. That topic intuitively is all put together. Google understands that. I understand that as a expert in this field, and I hate using the word expert, but I'm a professional in this field and therefore I know that these top clusters fit together. You have to do the same thing for your own company. So when you're doing your own marketing for this, there's a lot of great tools out there you can use AnswerThePublic, SEMrush has a tool, I believe Ahrefs has some variation of that tool. You can find them online. There's a lot of great semantic SEO tools that you can find. Sometimes you can just use your general intuition to just know what [inaudible 00:05:26] those topics are and then just commit to writing that content and putting it on the website.

So semantic SEO in short is pretty simple, but it changes the mindset for how you should engage in SEO. Don't spam keywords. It's about topical authority, topical clusters and entities. Can your website show that it's clearly talking about this keyword group or this topic? So if you're confused always, again, think back to the Simpsons example, I love using that example when I'm thinking of it or when I'm training my own staff, and that will help guide you on in understanding is your side being semantically optimized in your strategies.

But again, I hope that was helpful in understanding how to optimize a site. Semantic SEO should be used alongside your content strategy and when you're developing that, and adding content to your website. Hopefully that was valuable though. If you like what you saw, please like and subscribe and I hope to see you guys again soon. I'm going to go ahead and enjoy some more of this green tea that I don't know the name of and I hope to see you guys again soon. Thank you.

Jason Khoo

About the author

Jason is founder and CEO of Zupo, which is an Orange County based SEO consulting agency helping construct powerful long term SEO strategies for our clients. Jason also enjoys multiple cups of tea a day, hiding away on weekends catching up on reading and rewatching The Simpsons for the 20th time.

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