Semantic SEO has gotten a lot of attention over the past several months. And with changes in search engine algorithms, along with the introduction of Google Authorship and Author Rank, content is clearly at the top of the list when it comes to on-site optimization.
What’s great about implementing it is that you don’t need to learn things like SEO semantic XHTML, but you do have to understand what it means to make SEO semantic copy readable and informative, yet still have all the necessary optimization elements.
Semantic SEO in Plain English
When a lay person first hears the term, most people probably have a misconception that it’s technical, like SEO semantic coding. But in reality, it’s about formatting copy in such a way to be attractive to search engines while still making it usable and share worthy to humans.
[Google] noticed that if you look at page rank–how reputable [Google] thinks a page or site is–the ability to spell correlates relatively well…so reputable sites tend to spell better. —Matt Cutts, Head Google Webspam Engineer
In other words, you don’t have to know how to code a website or create graphic design features, but you will have to get a grasp of what constitutes semantic SEO. However, it’s equally important to know that just including semantics in your content isn’t enough. Other elements have to be present for it to work.
Yes, what the technical definition of latent semantic indexing SEO is, when put into plain English, synonyms and related search phrases. Let’s use “kitchen cabinets” as an example. People who search that phrase also search for “bathroom cabinets”, “kitchen cabinetry”, “bathroom faucets”, “kitchen design” and at least ten or more other phrases.
Unfortunately, including these synonyms and related search phrases just isn’t enough to truly optimize content.
Using Semantic SEO in Content
Okay, so let’s get to the nuts and bolts of how to go beyond semantic web SEO. In order to really create content that is both enjoyable to readers while still pleasing many of the key ranking signals in the search engine algorithms, make sure to incorporate these elements with care:
- Pay attention to spelling and grammar. Matt Cutts has said that while it’s not a direct signal, spelling and grammar do play a factor in ranking; so it’s important.
- Create content with an appropriate length. Keep each page or article between 350 and 600 to 700 words. If you have to go longer, break it up into two.
- Follow a preferred format in the text. Scanning is how people read copy on the web. And search engines like to see a certain format. Make your content easy to scan.
- Include an original image with a descriptive alt tag. Stock images won’t work; original images do. Include with each image your target keyword and describe what the image depicts.
- Throw-in a quote from a reputable source with outbound link. Quote an established source like a government agency, a news organization, a professional association, or an expert in the field.
- Interlink your copy with balance. Link to other pages and blog posts on your website, but don’t go overboard. Link to similar content and not just to your About and Contact pages.
Get the help of a professional copywriter if necessary. Should you not have the time or knack for writing or don’t really understand SEO concepts, hire a ghost writer and publish it under your name or brand.