How To Run a Semantic SEO Analysis for Improved Ranking
How do you keep up with changing search engine algorithms, user preferences, and behavior? The answer is semantic SEO analysis.
This process is challenging and complex and is best left to a capable SEO agency with deep knowledge of keyword research, customer personas, and content marketing. This guide, however, walks you through the basics to give you ideas on how it works:
- The steps in doing semantic analysis
- How to build and improve your keyword list
Read below to learn how to accomplish these points. Let’s go!
Want to learn more about the Digital Authority Partners approach to SEO? Watch this video!
Semantic SEO and Why Do It
Semantics is the study of meaning in language, traditionally undertaken within linguistics and philosophy. It focuses on the relationships between words, their definitions, and how they are used in actual contexts.
When used alongside search engine optimization (SEO), the goal is to understand the context and intent behind user search queries. Hence, you have semantic SEO.
In the process of using semantic SEO, you can:
- Create content tailored for users first and search engine algorithms second
- Improve internal linking and navigation for a better user experience
- Increase your content relevance by optimizing for topics, instead of keywords
- Better position yourself as an expert or authority on your niche
- Uncover strategies to beat your competitors’ content
- Deliver the right leads to your website, thereby increasing conversions and reducing marketing costs
The value of semantic SEO is immense. But you can only make the most of it if you know how to do it.
How To Perform Semantic SEO Analysis
One of the primary purposes of semantic analysis is to match your keywords with user queries, which means digging deeper into their intent.
- Why are they using those keywords?
- What information do they wish to find?
- What action do they want to take?
You can use more advanced keyword research tools, preferably those with artificial intelligence (AI), to speed up keyword and topic research. Two of the more popular tools are Semrush and Ahrefs. How to use them for semantic SEO is similar, as outlined below:
1. Know Your Competition
Although you can always analyze your chosen keywords, it helps to look at your competitors. One of the major goals of optimization is to come out on top of search results, meaning outranking those with the same business model as yours. Further:
- It is easier to find out which strategies could work on your niche.
- You can get great ideas from studying their online marketing strategies, including effective techniques that they might have missed.
- You can better benchmark your optimization performance.
- You need their URL to generate your initial list of user-intent keywords.
Who are your competitors?
Usually, marketers immediately type their key phrases or terms online and mistakenly believe all that appear at the top are their rivals. Take, for example, three restaurants that appear in the local map pack after typing “restaurants in LA.”
At first glance, it seems the other two (if you are part of the three), or all of them are the ones to beat. However, if you are a bakery, or an Indian restaurant, or even a BBQ eatery, then these results are not what you are seeking.
Here are a few tactics for finding your real competitors:
- Know their meta title tag, which almost always includes the keyword for which you and they are trying to rank. Many plug-ins and optimization tools can provide this.
- Check out the members of your industry organizations or associations.
- Dig deeper into their business model. Do you share the same customers, operate in the same area, or have similar price plans? How about the products and services?
- Use the same keyword research tool to reveal the top sites that rank for the keyword.
2. Use the Keyword Gap Feature
Here, you enter the URL of your competitor to generate a list of keywords that they have been ranking well for, but might have missed. It does not matter if you get only a handful, such as no more than 50 or even 20. You will expand your keyword set later.
Remember, not all “missed keywords” best meet your criteria. Again, this is all about user intent. Ask yourself these questions when analyzing your terms:
- What are my marketing goals? Do I want brand awareness, conversion, or customer retention?
- Where is my target audience in the customer journey? Are they still searching for more information, considering several choices, or ready to buy?
- Does the term include a competitor’s brand? If so, it is definitely out of the list.
- Can you optimize it for local search? You will know if it contains a geographical name on the keyword.
- What products or services are they trying to promote? Are they similar to yours?
3. Expand and Refine Your Keyword List
Step 2 can generate a good keyword list, but you must refine it to ensure that you do not miss out on more opportunities. Here are the steps to edit, build, modify, and improve your keywords:
- Identify the broadest or shortest-tail keywords that best match your intent. For example, if you are a cafe, these might be “vegan cafe,” “breakfast cafe,” “a salad bar, or “pastry shop.”
- Input these keywords to generate related terms and phrases, including long-tail ones. These can potentially deliver high-targeted traffic.
- Filter the keywords based on certain parameters, such as language, keyword density, and search volume. Keyword density here refers to how difficult (or easy) it is to rank. Meanwhile, search volume measures the search queries for that key term or phrase over a certain period.
- Refine this list and the one in step 2 with your preferred parameters. These include no:
- Zero-search-volume keywords
- Keywords with brand names other than yours
- Near-me terms (instead, target a geo keyword, such as “vegan cafe San Diego.”
These rules are not rigid. They always depend on many factors that range from marketing objectives to trends, and the target audience.
4. Tie Everything With LSI Keywords
How else can you strengthen the relevance of these keywords to the topic and user intent? Tie everything together with LSI keywords. LSI stands for latent semantic indexing (LSI). It is a system that search engines use to look at related words and phrases to better understand the meaning behind the searched keyword.
Because of these, you get “Apple the computer” if you are thinking of getting a laptop rather than the fruit. These also ensure that you boost your rank for keywords that your target audience uses when searching.
What makes good LSIs, how do you find them, and where do you place them?
- The tools we mentioned here usually provide related-keyword lists. Other options include Google Keyword Planner and Answer the Public.
- Use the Google Search feature. Type your main keyword and check the autocomplete suggestions. You can also scroll down to Related Searches and use People May Ask questions.
- Be careful with using synonyms because not all of them make good LSI keywords. For example, the synonym for “eyeglasses” is “spectacles.” But the most related key phrases or terms are “eyeglass frames,” “prescription,” “rimless,” or “clear.”
- Try using optimization tools like Frase or SurferSEO, too. They generate LSI keywords based on ranking pages for your main keyword. You can choose to create content on these platforms so that, as you type, you can easily cross out the LSIs you have used.
- Sprinkle these keywords throughout the article, including the subheadings and meta tags, without overstuffing them. However, in reality, as long as you stick to the theme or topic, you will naturally add LSIs.
Semantic SEO is not easy but always worth it, considering the vast potential of organic traffic and its long-term effects. These steps can help you get started.
To maximize its benefits, work with Digital Authority Partners (DAP). We help you leverage this optimization strategy with techniques such as predictive analytics, building customer personas, in-depth keyword analysis, and content personalization. Contact us today to learn more about semantic SEO.
Want To Meet Our Expert Team?
Book a meeting directly here