Age of Article Warning:
This article was originally published 24 months ago. The tips and techniques explained may be outdated, or information may longer be applicable. Please consider this when viewing the below content.

What is Semantics and how is it relevant to search engines such as Google?

Semantics is the study of the meaning of words and the context in which they are being used. By focusing on the relationships between similar words and their meanings, it is a method of understanding how language is used through words, phrases, sentences and texts


When it comes to searching on the web for a particular topic, Google uses semantics to understand what the user is actually searching for.

It’s a complex concept, however in simple terms a search engine such as Google, determines the intent of a search phrase by using “semantic understanding”. This knowledge is gained through analysis of countless webpages it has indexed, that provide associations between words and phrases commonly appearing together inside the content of pages, in links, and in other texts across the internet.

So for example, if you’re wondering “where does the Queen live”? Well you don’t need to type into Google “home location Queen Elizabeth” for Google to understand.

When you type in “where does the Queen live”, the answer comes back “The Queen lives in Buckingham Palace in London. She also has other homes too. Her favourite is Balmoral Castle in Scotland where she spends Christmas. Windsor Castle is another of the Queen’s homes.” Google also gives you a list of website pages to choose from such as “Where does Queen Elizabeth II live –”.

Searching on Google


How can I use semantics to improve my search ranking for words that relate to my main keywords?

Well the first step is to make sure that your content contains a good mix of words about your page topic, to ensure that Google fully understands what your page is all about. For example if you’re a mobile hair and makeup artist, then your website home page could contain a range of possible search phrases, such as:

  • makeup artist
  • mobile hairdresser
  • hair and makeup
  • hair and makeup for formals
  • makeup group lessons
  • Bridal Hair
  • mobile service

If you are not sure what words and phrases are related, then you can use Google’s Semantic Operator to see some semantic keyword relationships. Add the tilde symbol  when searching for a keyword phrase on Google to see other words that Google has determined are related.

Important SEO note:
By searching with the tilde symbol ~ , you can find the phrases and words that Google is looking for when someone types in a search query. Then make sure you include these on your webpage

Based on the mobile makeup artist example you could enter into Google search: ~mobile ~makeup ~artist ~hairdresser.

Then look at the search results, look for bold words and also look for “searches related to” at the bottom of the search results page. Make sure that your website contains all of the relevant keyword phrases. Here are some of the semantic search results:

  • mobile makeup artist
  • hair stylist and makeup artist
  • mobile hairdresser
  • mobile hairdressing by
  • premier mobile hair and makeup team
  • mobile makeup and hairstyling service
  • mobile wedding hairdresser

Now that you have your extended list of keywords to work with, write your web page content to be engaging and easy to read, while incorporating all the related keyword phrases that you have found.

Bonus Tip:
If you want to find out the actual Google search volumes for semantically related keyword phrases, then you can always plug the phrases into the Google Keyword Planner. Use this tool to find out important information such as monthly search volumes and competition. If you are a local business then you should adjust the location filter in your Keyword Search, to make sure the results are relevant for your business area.

Start today to target more Google traffic

By including a wider variety of semantically related keyword phrases on your important webpages, you will target more keywords, to ensure that Google knows exactly what your webpage is about. And also don’t forget to make sure that your text is easy to read and understand. Don’t pack it full of repetitive keywords, but keep it interesting and concise.

A good idea to keep in mind when writing content is to write it as though you are talking to a person in front of you. Keep it interesting, use a variety of different phrases and don’t repeat the same words over and over or you will lose that person’s interest.

Increase your Website Traffic using Google Semantic Search was last modified: May 20th, 2015 by David Tiong
Increase your Website Traffic using Google Semantic Search