Semantic SEO: The Evolution of Organic Visibility

Semantic SEO builds a curated search engine experience for users and incentivizes high-quality writers to ply their trade.

5 mins to read

Search engines care about quality. They want their users to find answers from topical authorities—experts in their fields who respect their readers’ time. Search engines have begun to implement machine learning AIs to find those subject matter experts. 

This new approach, called “semantic SEO,” builds a curated search engine experience for users and incentivizes high-quality writers to ply their trade. Black hat SEO techniques and awkward, obvious keywords will eventually become obsolete. 

AI has finally given search engines a way to return user results based on search intent instead of keyword matches. The new paradigm cites internal linking that rewards websites for becoming educational experts and subject matter authorities. The established foundations of keyword research remain, but the future of SEO belongs to authoritative, well-researched content. 

Definition of Semantic SEO

Semantic SEO methods optimize webpages for the topic instead of specific words. When a search engine uses semantic SEO algorithms, its users enjoy: 

  • Higher-accuracy results 
  • An improved experience as they find relevant information 
  • Personalized results 
  • AI analysis of searched pages 

Search engines have understood the intent behind user queries since Google’s 2019 “Hummingbird” update. Search engines no longer look for keywords—the algorithms use previous user experiences to gather insights and determine what the readers really want. 

Websites must now play the SEO game the way it was meant to be played and direct users to the most conceptually relevant results. 

AI in SEO: Natural Language Processing (NLP) 

In natural language processing, AI learns to understand what the searcher wants to find. Computers can now “parse the nuances and subtleties of human communication in a way that traditional keyword-based search engines cannot.” 

The algorithms use deep learning to gather additional context behind the connections between words with every search. It selects each word out of a search query, analyzes all the possible permutations, synonyms/antonyms, and varieties of that word, and then moves on to the next one. It then identifies common linguistic connections between those words and builds a more meaningful, targeted search query from the more complex meaning behind the search phrase. 

With time, high-volume machines learn to better comprehend the subtle nuances of each word in a search query. It applies those lessons to future “semantic searches” or “searches with meaning.”   

Semantic search engines thus find the most useful articles, rather than the articles with the best-researched keywords…and move those pages to the top of their search results. 

Benefits of Semantic SEO 

Semantic SEO benefits everyone. It gives the creators of thorough, well-researched content high rankings as a reward for their hard work. Web searchers have opportunities to find what they’re really looking for, even if they don’t put it into words. And search engines beat bad actors who misuse current algorithms, earning brand loyalty for their devotion to finding quality content. 

Higher Rankings 

A website with meaningful articles that help readers will appear earlier in search results. The websites that create the best content, rather than websites that best balance content quality with gaming the system, will rise to the top. 

Topical Authority 

Sites that prove their worth to search engines and readers with many articles become a “topical authority.” SEO will now reward websites with in-depth coverage of their selected topics. Search engines now analyze what other topics a website covers and review its commitment to research and expertise over casting a wide net for as many leads as possible.  

This approach rewards higher quality standards over output volume and incentivizes investment in high-quality content writers and topic research devoted to readers. 

Better User Experience

Semantic SEO will raise the bar for content and website design. Readers who find higher-quality content will get more out of each visit and stay longer as they read better articles. When they feel motivated to come back for more, the chances of conversion rise. 

Boosted Longtail Keywords 

Semantic algorithms destroyed the lexical search, an outdated search method that finds the search query’s exact matches and nothing more. Lexical searches forced writers to use short, nonspecific keywords or clumsy key phrases that sound awkward to both the writer and the reader. 

Semantic SEO empowers writers to utilize longer, longtail keywords that target niche audiences with highly specific terms. Because semantic SEO analyzes the meanings behind the searcher’s query, instead of the exact words, it will match the desired niche audience to a longtail keyword that means the same thing—even if none of the words match.

Longtail keywords pull target readers to the site by matching their search intentions, such as  buying or researching. 


Searchers with goals in mind take little convincing when presented with a Call to Action that asks them to do something they already wanted to. Semantic SEO search engines identify user intent and direct them to the sites that give them what they want. The alignment between customer wants and business goals improves conversion rates as search engines find leads who want what the target website is selling. 


AI tools will only continue to advance. A website that diversifies its content portfolio and delves deep into expert topics invests in its future in the online marketplace of ideas. It builds a reputation among both readers and search engines sure to pay dividends as technology develops. 

Adapting to Semantic SEO Best Practices

AI for SEO encourages quality over quantity. Every best practice represents an opportunity to both perform better and be better. 

Latent Semantic Indexing 

Semantic SEO perfectly understands synonyms and similar words. Latent semantic indexing, or “LSI,” helps AI make connections between words that mean the same thing or are related to one another. It then finds the best search results from the “pool” of connected words rather than limiting itself to the searcher’s exact wording. 

Schema Markup 

Web designers have new opportunities to tell search engines about their site directly rather than wait for the algorithms to learn about their work. Schema markup uses code snippets to “tag” information: 

  • Primary webpage 
  • Content names and titles 
  • Authors 
  • Brief description 
  • Date published 
  • Specialized information, such as prep time for recipes 

Users can’t read these bits of data. Search engines instead use them to display essential information before users visit the site. This invaluable preview proves the website has the answers to their questions and promises the opportunity to learn more without wasting time. 

Become a Knowledge Domain 

Specialization is critical to standing out in semantic SEO. Sites should publish articles on a few topics related to their business to build a library of quality material. In time, search engines associate the website with the subject and direct users to it when it’s relevant.

This process works even if none of the keywords in the query match the ones on the website. If the meaning is the same and search engine algorithms “know” readers will find quality answers from a “topical authority,” it will send them there.

A topic is the subject of a particular piece. Under the semantic SEO regime, websites should choose and delve into a few important topics. A main page, called a “cornerstone content” page, should give a broad overview. Its subheaders, which divide it into more detailed subtopics, should do three things: 

  1. Aesthetic: Divide the page into sections for readability 
  2. Content: introduce a board review of important topics 
  3. Cluster: link interested readers to detailed articles on each subtopic located elsewhere on the site

Search engines now promote details and navigability. A single large page that helps readers find other important pages when a subtopic piques their interest lowers bounce rates and engages them longer. 

Plan the Sitemap 

An easy-to-understand map of content location and connections streamlines the content production process. With a sitemap as a blueprint, developers can: 

  • Sort content into easy-to-understand silos (a cornerstone topic with its subtopics beneath) 
  • Design coherent, intuitive URLs that categorize content by topic and subtopic 
  • Link internally from one relevant subtopic to another 

Google’s new machine learning system scans entire sites in seconds. It doesn’t need help from a sitemap, but it recognizes its human users do. A well-organized sitemap raises user-friendliness rankings and helps search engines find new pages faster, a critical edge in competitive online business. 

Some of these changes are risky to make retroactively. URL changes risk orphaning content as intricate internal linking webs break down. Failed migrations to a new site structure are always a risk. Adaptation matters, but established principles and best practices have yet to disappear. 

Keep Up With SEO Keywords 

In 2024, keywords still matter. Search engines may prioritize searcher intent over exact wording but still use keywords to identify relevant content. Combining popular keywords to attract attention and niche keywords for small, intent audiences works best. To balance those keyword requirements, businesses should employ an online marketing team that understands yesterday’s keyword principles and tomorrow’s AI SEO. 

To Join the Semantic SEO Revolution, Schedule a Call With Alan and Co Marketing 

SMBs love how Alan and Company make their websites cutting-edge lead generation tools. This digital marketing agency in the US specializes in drug rehab SEO. Marketing for drug rehabs demands a nuanced approach, which gave Alan and Co’s team of experts the skills they need to operate SMB marketing campaigns in any industry. 

Schedule a call for more information on Alan and Company’s agency social media marketing and how it helps businesses grow online in the age of AI. 

March 13, 2024

Jackie Rosu


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