For the proactive content marketer, excelling under present circumstances is never good enough. To be truly effective, one must skate to where the puck will be rather than where it is right now.
One of the biggest challenges for SEOs and content marketers at every level is matching content with intent. Search engines continue to become ever more clever with each passing month, which makes the proposition all the more challenging.
To rise above the rest in the SEO department, content marketers need to understand the concept of “semantic search” and its ramifications.
The Future of SEO: Introducing Semantic Search
There’s a persistent belief that Google et al. primarily use major keywords to index and rank content. The reality is far more complicated these days. That’s why it’s important to understand a concept known as string entity optimization.
Simply put, string entity optimization is all about crafting content that isn’t centered entirely around keywords. To better understand how search engines really categorize data, check out the Introduction to Computer Science course on Udacity.
It’s quite illuminating and worth looking into. If you don’t have the time, just know that search engines now use many indicators to better “understand” content in the way that actual human beings do.
On the Road to a Semantic Web
The crux of the matter is that keywords are becoming less relevant in the eyes of major search providers like Google and Bing. Today, they’re relying on databases of “entities” to determine the best results for a given query.
Take a look at Google’s Knowledge Graph or Trends to get an idea of how this works. Already, platforms such as Siri, Google Now and the much-vaunted but so far little-used Wolfram Alpha are addressing questions rather than searches defined by mere keywords.
In essence, the future of search is comprehending intent and responding the way a human would.
Make Your Brand an Entity
If you want to get ahead in the organic rankings, it’s crucial that your brand is well-represented by structured meta data that can be understood by cutting-edge search algorithms.
Using Trends as your guide, you can see how well you’re doing in this regard. Once Google has you indexed as an entity, you can go about creating focused content that will appeal to a specific subset of searchers asking specific questions.
More and more, context rather than keywords are ruling the day. Content marketers, take note: the rise of Google Glass and other contextual search portals are harbingers of the end for keyword-based web search.
How to Play It — Questions, Not Keywords
The impeding demise of keyword-based SEO presents both a crisis and an opportunity. For smart content marketers, little has changed when you really think about it.
Triumphing in a competitive marketplace will continue to come down to serving the public best. Using Q&A sites such as Quora to brainstorm your content optimization is highly in vogue and becoming more so with each passing day.
If you’d like your content to deliver results, it has to answer pressing, relevant questions regardless of the keywords used.