Now it really matters what you say and how you say it online. Google’s semantic search is one in a string of factors affecting your site’s ability to be found online; it is likely to have the biggest impact in how you present your products, services and organization. The shift seems more personal for a small businesses owner. Are you ready to give up brand prominence on Web pages to gain visibility?
Many websites have been seeing traffic surges and dips since Google rolled out Penguin and Panda algorithm updates, which penalize spammy activity and reward high quality sites. This volatility can be detrimental to a small company whose business is derived from the Internet. There are great tips for SEO management and advice on how to recover from technical hiccups — your marketer can manage that.
Semantic search relates to the content on your website pages; Google connects them to searches based on the user’s intent and the search term’s contextual meaning. So if I search “how to roller skate backwards,” Google provides tutorials, videos and instructional material instead of pricing or retail outlets where I can buy roller skates. Google is getting smarter, so you need to be smarter about the content on your website.
Let’s say your company provides gardening services. A user is more likely to find your website by searching “how to transplant flowers” than a convoluted multi-word phrase. (Unless he’s a pro, he’s probably going to go for “Shasta daisy diseases” over “stem rot and verticillium wilt in Shasta daisies.”) Your landing pages should follow suit, recognizing the problem your visitor is trying to solve and citing solutions. How can you tell if a plant is dying due to disease? Provide a checklist of criteria. Offer a revival guide. What nutrients can help it recover and thrive?
Take on the role of the educator throughout the site’s content and promote how you will help the user with a call to action. This is an inbound marketing technique used to attract leads. It looks different from “at x company, we provide world-class service at the best rates in the industry.” Bet you a pretty penny the website visitor didn’t type in any of those phrases to arrive at your site.
This is a selfless approach, and it may feel like you aren’t promoting your company or services efficiently. You are, you’re just showing how great your company is instead of telling the visitor how great your company is. Illustrate what sets you apart by discussing common problems and presenting helpful information first, ahead of your company’s selling points. This engages visitors, keeping them on your site for longer periods of time. It adds to your site’s quality, something Google loves.
As the company leader, it’s vital that you are on board with how your products and services are presented online — it affects internal sales and other processes, it affects how you interact with customers. Consider how all departments can collaborate and develop customer problem/solution information. And discuss analytics and site performance with your marketer weekly and then monthly to see how Google is responding to your changes.
- Semantic Search Demystified (arnoldit.com)
- How Google’s Semantic Search Will Change SEO (mashable.com)
- First look at Google’s new Semantic Search (ziggytek.com)