The Future of Search: From Keywords to Concepts

Keywords_BigRedSEOUnless you’ve been living under a rock that’s also on the moon, you’ll have heard a few terms being bandied about that mean a great deal to the future of SEO, things like “semantic,” “concept-driven,” and “conversational” search. In short, Google is trying out new ways of reading web pages to better deliver content that its users are actually looking for, and this involves looking past keywords to what those words actually mean to end-users. Since this can be a little hard to wrap one’s mind around, our web design and SEO team here at Big Red SEO wants to take a moment to clear things up a bit and help you start creating content that gets your business noticed by Google.

1. Think about what the user intends

Concepts relate to keywords in the same way that a completed puzzle relates to its pieces. Concepts get to the heart of the matter, the “big picture” that users are searching for, by taking keywords and judging their relationships with one another. For example, if we search “movie where David Bowie steals a baby,” Google knows we’re really talking about Labyrinth, and that we’re not looking for David Bowie’s discography or how-to guides for child abduction.

This teaches us, then, that keywords are still the backbone of search, just not individually. Keywords matter to Google in their relation to one another, and Google has gotten very good at noticing when groups of keywords start to form a concept. So when you’re writing content for your business, it’s good practice to think of the big picture first—optimizing only for select keywords now and in the future won’t earn you a top ranking.

2. What is your content really about?

As we’ve mentioned, keywords are still important, but the way we think about keywords has to change. Google doesn’t simply scan content for keywords any more—instead, it reads pages and tries to figure out what they’re about. This means that Google prefers naturally written content, and will rank pages even for keyword searches they’re not optimized for.

For this reason, it’s becoming a wise strategy to optimize content broadly, and the way to do that is to focus on naturally written content. But what do we mean by that, and how can businesses put those writing techniques into practice that ensure Google recognizes their content as useful and conceptually relevant?

3. Long tail traffic, where every word is a keyword

Every word on a given page is a keyword that Google will use to try to stitch together a concept. Considering that over 70% of traffic comes from keyword searches you didn’t optimize for, it makes sense to put time into understanding the many and varied long tail phrases users are searching with. The great thing is that, more often than not, you’re already using those phrases when you write naturally, and if you’re not, they’re easy to plug in and start using because they’re phrases that already relate to your field. Google will use these long tail terms, as well as synonyms, thematically linked terms, and other closely related ideas to match your site’s conceptual content to what its users are searching for.

Contact Big Red SEO Today at (402) 522-6468!

Our team of Omaha SEO and content development specialists at Big Red SEO scours the Internet every day to stay in front of emerging trends, developing cutting edge SEO strategies that help our clients get noticed by potential customers on Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. Give us a call today at (402) 522-6468 and let us get started taking your business to the top of the search engine rankings!

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