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May 28, 2018

How Marketers Can Take Advantage of the Semantic Web

The Semantic Web and SEO are becoming more intertwined by the day, especially considering Google’s rapid advancement of machine-learning and AI. Jumping on board with semantic SEO will no doubt improve your content marketing, site navigation and local SEO.

But does the Semantic Web have any advantages for marketers? That’s what we will cover in this article. 

Spoiler Alert: The answer is a resounding “yes!” 

Start with Keyword Intent 

Digital marketers are familiar with the never-ending quest of singling out users looking to make an immediate transaction. In the past, the only way to do this was to segment users into affinity/interest categories in analytics and PPC bidding. 

However, targeting the potential customers that were seriously looking to make a purchase was beyond our capabilities within this segmentation. Not anymore. 

Here’s where the Semantic Web comes into play. Google’s machine-learning RankBrain system now allows us to target a user based on the intent of their search. 

You can separate keyword intent into three basic categories in order to craft your marketing strategy: 

Navigational: These users are looking for a specific website but don’t know the exact URL. Most likely, these will be branded search terms like “WooRank”. 

Informational: The most fickle of the three categories; these users are looking for information on a certain topic. The problem is, these users can fall anywhere on the sales funnel from awareness to transaction. As a marketer, you will have to formulate a keyword strategy to target each step. 

Transactional: These users are ready to show you the money. They are seeking a page that will allow them to immediately convert, whether that includes making a purchase, signing up for an email list, or creating an account.

Supplying pages that pair keyword intent to content will optimize your marketing strategy in two ways:

  1. Search: Informational queries will have increasingly relevant results. 
  2. Conversion Rate: By providing content that is relevant to user’s search intent, you will be more successful at moving users through the sales funnel. 

Enhance Your Brand

Optimizing your content for semantic search heightens your authority on a subject and makes you a leader in your niche. Authority and leadership are invaluable traits in competitive markets such as digital marketing. 

Optimizing your content to establish expertise is a great selling point for your potential customers. More often than not, users want to buy from someone who know’s what he or she is talking about. 

Once you have established your proficiency and skill, you can start honing in on more competitive parts of the market. For example, if you are an expert on home construction you can branch out to other construction services, such as kitchen remodeling or DIY home projects. 

Google will reward your company once your brand is recognized as an expert. Aside from SERPs ranking your page higher than less authoritative domains, you are also more likely to appear in the Answer Box. 

Google’s Knowledge Graph and rich snippets allow you to refine your interaction with your users, right in the Search Engine Results Page. Optimizing your content makes your branded search results much more appealing.

Check out the SERP for the automotive company Ford:

The Semantic Web is working unquestionably hard for Ford here:

  1. The Knowledge Panel – This is where you should be making sure the detailed information about your brand is current. 
  2. Social media profiles – Here, you can ensure users are able to access you on your various social media platforms. 
  3. Top News Results – This isn’t entirely under your jurisdiction, but if you optimize your brand, Google will more easily connect you to relevant news stories. 
  4. Latest Tweets– Your social media presence should be front and center! Connecting your Twitter account (and staying active on Twitter) will help you enhance your brand. 
  5. Local Results –  If you can successfully optimize your local entities, you will be included in a very valuable local pack.

Search Entity Optimization is responsible for these rich results. You can make the most of your marketing opportunities by optimizing your brand with a semantic markup (like Schema.org). 

Superior Product Feeds

Marketers can clearly use the Semantic Web for organic search marketing, but what about paid marketing (PPC)? 

The Semantic Web can help you there, too. 

Online retailers can curate their product feeds with ease and keep the feeds current with semantic markup. They can even automate the process. 

Here’s how:

  1. Add structured data HTML to your product pages (name, price, image, description). 
  2. Add Google Merchant Center add-on to your Google Drive. 
  3. Select “Update fom Website” to crawl your site and create a spreadsheet with the data from your product feed. 
  4. Submit the feed to Merchant Center using the add-on you installed. 

You can turn on automatic item updates if you wish to automate the process, or you can recrawl your site to update everything manually. 

All digital marketers understand that site search is a very important conversion tool – and Semantic Web technology can help with that. 

Users who use site search convert better than other potential customers – they know exactly what they are looking for. You need to make sure your site is returning the most relevant results when a user submits a search on your site. If not, your most promising users will leave you in the dust. 

In conclusion…

It’s undeniable that the Semantic Web is the future of search, SEO and digital marketing. Campaigns that rely on Google for traffic feel the impact of semantic tools. Luckily, there is so much marketers can do to increase their reach and grow their audience. Using semantic tools can help you boost conversions and sales – so what are you waiting for?


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Courtney McGhee is on the Marketing Team at WooRank, an SEO audit tool that has helped millions of websites with their SEO efforts. A former journalist in the U.S., Courtney shifted gears and entered the digital marketing world in Brussels, Belgium. Courtney blogs about SEO, Marketing Trends, Social Media Strategy, and the Semantic Web. Connect with Courtney on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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