In search engine optimization, semantic keywords are ones you can map on a word web together with the original keyword. For example, if your original keyword is “search engine,” some semantically related terms are “ranking,” “algorithm,” and “SEO.”
Semantic keyword research is a crucial part of setting up your SEO plans. Since these kinds of keywords are related to the original, they provide search engine spiders with more information on the topic, letting them more accurately determine the depth and breadth of your content, which leads to better rankings.
Also, ever since Google’s Panda update, search has shifted towards prioritizing content that sounds more like natural language. Keyword stuffing and similar strategies used to work, but today search engines watch article “thinness” and penalize low-value content. Another update, Hummingbird, changed how search engines evaluated relevance. Instead of looking at the frequency with which keywords appear, results needed additional words that provide deeper context.
For example, in a blog post with “homemade foot scrubs” as the main keyword, algorithms won’t only look for this exact phrase. It will also find related words and phrases like “pedicures,” “foot care,” “foot peel mask,” and others.
Should You Look for Semantic Keywords?
Some SEOs would argue that you do not need to put too much effort into looking for semantic keywords if you write well. The content you create will naturally incorporate the words that need to be there. While this is true, especially for long-form content on a highly specialized topic, there is no harm in having a dedicated semantic keyword strategy.
Being mindful of the keywords you include will help you appreciate how often certain words appear in searches, which helps you create the best possible combinations of words. Here are some tools you can use when finding semantic keywords for your posts.
Related Search and People Also Ask
When you look up a keyword in Google, the search engine will usually provide you with a list of seven to eight related keywords at the bottom of the search results page. These are Google’s Related Search Suggestions, and they contain words and ideas that might be related to the keyword you used. Though these are not “semantic keywords” and more of variations on the keyword you used, you can use related search to branch out and find other aspects of the topic you should cover. For the sample search above, where the user looked up "search engine optimization," you can see that the related searches show keywords with "tutorial," "google," "techniques," and more. These keyword suggestions show you that Google finds these topics relevant to the broader topic of SEO.
Another area to look at in search results pages is the People Also Ask portion. This interactive box shows you an organized, automatically generated breakdown of the other queries users have asked about this topic. Below is the People Also Ask result for the keyword "search engine optimization." Besides adding words to the keyword, this portion of Google SERPs rephrases the term. It allows users to branch out into related topics during their research.
The Google Search Results Page
You can also look at individual results on the SERP, particularly the portions in boldface. Google highlights related terms and instances where the keyword appears in the meta description, so taking note of these will help you identify phrases that Google considers relevant to this topic.
For example, the first two SERPs for the phrase “content writing services” shows that Google considers “content writer,” “article writing services,” and “content writing” as related keywords.
Google Keyword Planner
Besides helping you create pay-per-click campaigns, the Google Keyword Planner can help you build a list of semantic keywords. This tool lets you search for keywords based on their popularity and search rates. You can also use it to look at suggested keywords and related search terms.
The Google Keyword Planner can help a marketer understand the kinds of searches people make in their industry. In addition to semantic keyword mapping, you can also learn a bit about user intent when going through results from Keyword Planner.
Besides Keyword Planner, you can also consult Google Trends for semantic keyword research. It can help you uncover which terms are popular in which regions and the keywords related to these. For example, if you search for “content writing services,” set the time frame to five years and the location to Worldwide, you will see that people also search for “professional content writing services” and “social media content writing services.”
Google Trends can also show you the other terms popular to people who have searched this one. In this case, people who searched for “content writing services” also looked up “creativity,” “website content writer,” “pricing,” and others. These insights will help you determine topics for your articles, and words users consider to be related.
Other Tools You Can Use
Besides Google’s tools, there are various others you can use in creating a plan for semantic keywords. For example, social monitoring tools like BuzzSumo can help you monitor conversations in social media about your industry. You can set up alerts for specific topics and follow discussions in real-time.
You can also use software like SEMRush’s Keyword Magic Tool, enabling you to understand keywords deeply. Besides search rates, you can plan campaigns and uncover networks of topics related to keywords. SEMRush’s tool has nearly 20 billion keywords, so it will be easy to find keywords related to your chosen one. The platform also lets you sort results by volume or other traits that would help you develop the content you need.
Two other tools you can use are Niche Laboratory and LSIGraph. Niche Laboratory helps you find keywords and topics for narrow fields of expertise. It also covers ambiguity detection, identifying synonyms, and finding raw data from forums, e-commerce sites, and news sources.
Meanwhile, LSIGraph uses a metric called LSV or Latent Semantic Value. This metric uses search volume, traffic potential, and keyword competitiveness for determining which keywords should make it to your article. They score phrases on a scale of zero to 100, with 100 being the most suitable for including in your post.
In search engine optimization, you need to create content that appeals to human readers and search engines. Understanding how search engines rank posts will help you write articles that fit the bill. Hiring an agency providing SEO writing services also helps!
Ranked helps you find the right words for your audience. Our SEO platform and service helps enterprises and agencies drive organic traffic to websites and build an online presence for the long term. Contact the team to learn more or start your free trial today!