Semantic Search for Small Business
As you begin planning for the new year now is the time for small business owners to educate themselves about arguably the biggest change occurring in the business world right now: semantic search. Understanding these changes and developing strategies to adapt to them is a top priority.
So how has search changed?
Previously, a person would type in some key words, which Google converted into a string of numbers and code which produced results statistically close to what was being searched for. Often you would have to adjust your keyword choices and search again.
Now a person types in a search query using natural language, and Google actually understands the words being used. It now understands whether you are looking for a person, place, or thing, and the connotations that each of those has. Hence the phrase “from strings to things”.
Because of this, Google is getting better and better at figuring out the intent behind the search and able to predict what answer is being searched for much more accurately. This process is not 100% yet, but as Google acquires more and more data, the quality of the search results will continue to improve.
This means that keywords and links, while still important, are starting to decline in SEO benefit, and content creation and social interaction are rapidly increasing in importance.
Here are some major takeaways for small business owners – the ABCs of semantic search .
A is for…
Authority. With semantic search, Google is looking for people, and the websites behind them, to show that they are a trusted authority in their field. It is vital to build authority and trust to show up well in Google’s search rankings. In other words, you have to show that you know your stuff. Providing help to others and sharing content are extremely important, and using social networks, especially Google+, is the primary way to accomplish this.
Authentic. Google is not just looking for authority, but also trust. If you are to become a trusted authority, you must be authentic. People want to know the person(s) behind a business. Your online presence needs to be honest and real, reflecting your real life business values. Think of yourself as the (online) neighborhood storekeeper who people come to because you’re honest, fair, friendly, and helpful. People have to get to know you before you develop a trusted reputation. It takes time and effort to develop that in the online world as well.
Authorship. Authorship is a vital piece of establishing your online authority. It is the means that Google uses to establish the link between the person creating the content and the content itself. This is not difficult to set up and is an absolute must do to establish your authority with Google.
Amerland, as in David Amerland. Read Google Semantic Search by noted analyst and author David Amerland and go the the head of the class! This is the ultimate semantic search resource, and was the primary source for this article.
B is for…
Blog. You will need a blog for all the content you are going to be creating. (See C). A blog (a contraction of web and log) is an interactive way for you to post articles online and connect and interact with your audience. WordPress is the most commonly used platform for this and can be obtained easily, including here.
C is for
Content Creation. Remember “authority” ? Well, creating relevant, interesting content is how your achieve that. Your posts need to reflect who you are and what matters to your business. Show you can be of value to others by supplying information on things that are important to them, offer a new perspective, or give help solving a problem. The content you create goes on your blog, which you can then share out to social media. Many feel that Google+ is the most effective social platform. for meaningful social interaction and engagement, and obviously, since it is part of Google, gets a lot of attention in Google search.
Constant, consistent commitment. Google loves fresh content and a constant supply of new data, so continually producing new posts and articles is now an integral part of your business that requires constant attention. Once you begin creating content, it is important to be consistent, so decide on a schedule you can stick with. Of course the more you can consistently do, the more results you will see. It takes commitment to stay the course.
Does that sound as easy as ABC? These strategies are not rocket science (though the Google search algorithms may approach that), but implementing them requires a serious commitment of time and effort.
Even though the small business to-do list just got longer, I am actually very excited about these changes because now a small business actually has a fighting chance of being found in organic search. So with that, I would like to end with one last thought.
A is for Advantage. Here is one way small businesses actually have an advantage over larger companies. Small businesses have the ability to turn on a dime. You don’t need to build a case to convince management or a board of directors that changes need to be made. You can make a decision to go in a different direction and just do it. Making the decision now to align your marketing strategies with semantic search may give you an early jump on your larger competitors.
Have you made the decision to get on board with semantic search?
photo credit: werner22brigitte/pixabay