What is Semantic Keyword Research and How Does It Impact Your Website’s SEO?

semantic keyword research: It's not as easy as it looks

We’ve all heard about how important keyword research is to any website. Its density, placement, and relevance are being considered when Google bots crawl your pages. However, there are some instances when we notice that our site does not rank in search results pages even though we’ve made sure the keywords have been strategically inserted. Could we be missing anything? Did the SEO specialist not do his job? Did you ever consider semantic keyword research?

What is semantic keyword research?

When you type in a search query, say for example the word ‘freelance’, Google will not give you just one result that only discusses the meaning of the word. Instead, it will consider different angles such as:

  • Freelance jobs in your area
  • Highest-paying freelance jobs
  • Freelance jobs for mothers
  • Freelance jobs for IT specialists

However, in most cases, people use more than one word as the keyword to guide their search. But even with this, Google still sometimes gets it wrong because it has to rely on the words you include in your search. This is where semantic keyword research comes in

Semantics is the branch of linguistics that deals with deriving meanings from words. We can say that semantically related keywords are phrases or groups of words that are conceptually related to each other.

Therefore, semantic keyword research refers to how modern search engines treat and rank web pages based on a specific keyword (short-tail or long-tail keyword). They no longer look for exact matches but go deeper into the intent or meaning of each word in the search query.

How does semantic keyword research impact your website?

Considering semantic keyword research in your website’s SEO can mean the difference between landing at the top of search results pages or nowhere in these pages. In the past, SEO was only based on a framework of keywords that resulted in webmasters stuffing keywords into every inch of their pages. But after Google first implemented a series of updates to its algorithms, the way things were done changed. So today, it doesn’t matter if your keyword density is high or if they are in the right places. What matters is the intent or deeper meaning of the search query and how this is reflected in your site.

What are the benefits of semantic keyword research for your website?

Semantic keyword research provides a level playing field for SEO

There’s no need to worry about your website not ranking in search results pages because, on the contrary, semantic keyword research provides a level playing field for honest SEO strategies. Here are some of its other benefits.

1. Better content

The top priority of every algorithm update is always a great user experience. And because of these updates, plus Google adding Artificial Intelligence for searching through websites, SEO strategists are now more compelled to provide high-quality content.

2. Quality results in search pages

Google naturally returns hundreds and thousands of websites in its results pages, giving users tons of options to find what they are looking for. In the past, this was problematic because they had to click on each URL before they could find the best website. However, ‘rich answers’ are now possible, thanks to short snippets that describe what the content is about.

3. Less emphasis on keywords

Semantic keyword research has put an end to the overrated emphasis on keywords in writing content. Though it’s still a key part, you don’t anymore have to be concerned too much about exact matches and the ratio of keywords to the length of your content but on delivering content that satisfies what users want.

How can you optimize your website for semantic keyword research?

Consider the following tips when optimizing for semantic keyword research.

1. Think ideas

Think outside the box

In the past, SEO strategists simply needed a list of ranking or highly-searched keywords as basis for writing content. With semantic keywords, ideas or topics are more important than how words are arranged in your content.

So, a valuable tip is to write a comprehensive article that covers an entire topic instead of going for different shallow content for a broad search term. Then, apply the best practices for keyword optimization to ensure that your content is searchable and keyword-optimized.

2. Match your content to intent

When you have a highly-searched keyword at hand, think about why a user will search for that keyword. People usually use keywords in three ways:

  • Informational keyword

This is when the user wants to learn something. AKA ‘known’ keywords

  • Navigational keyword

Unlike the first one, this keyword is used by the searcher to arrive at a certain website or item.

AKA ‘go’ keywords

  • Transactional keyword

This keyword is used by visitors that are looking to make a purchase. AKA ‘do’ keywords

3. Use featured snippets

Google wants to offer rich results to users to provide them with information that they can see right in the results pages. So, make sure to optimize your content not only for lists and boxes but also for feature snippets by using long-tail keywords and text that clearly answers the questions of readers.

4. Use synonyms and related searches

When it comes to keywords, quality outweighs quantity. You can use the following three-tiered approach in building your campaigns.

  • Tier One Keywords

These keywords are related keywords to your website, which you want to rank for. Also called ‘core keywords’, these are the ones that you’ve been targeting for years. For example, freelance jobs.

  • Tier Two Keywords

Tier two keywords are keywords that add intent and context for customers, leading to relevant traffic and better searches. For example, freelance jobs in Melbourne.

  • Tier Three Keywords

These are extra descriptions that narrow your audience. For example, freelance jobs in Melbourne for mothers.

These tips are going to guide you in improving your rankings in search results. However, there are times when search results and intent don’t match. You can address this by monitoring your analytics since your data can help you identify content weaknesses that are preventing customers from coming to you.

With this, it’s about time to use semantic keywords in your website to better your rankings.

Let's learn more insights like this

We are committed to sharing useful content, tips and insights for the ecommerce industry. Sign up below to get more valuable content straight to your email.



Writer, blogger, software reviewer.

Read more about these topics: