Semantic Search: What It Is and How Does It Affect SEO

semantic search
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Semantic search is a method of search that focuses on contextual meaning instead of keywords only. This method finds the intention behind the words. So, we can say that it is about finding the true meaning of users’ words in the search.

As the user’s intent is the primary search component, it depends on several factors.

A typical example is the location or history of the user. Moreover, the impact of this intent is endless, and it’s hard to estimate it. Because it depends not only on what has been said in the past, it also needs a full investigation of the current query.

In addition, factors that contribute a lot to the conversations are the time the conversation takes place and the settings in which it is done. Also, the background knowledge of users affects a lot.

These are some common factors that affect the intent of the search.

Therefore, we can say that semantic search helps solve people’s queries. For example, if a person searches for a restaurant in a search engine, it gives a complete list of restaurants nearby.

It means one does not have to type long queries in search bars. Thus, semantic search has made the lives of people much more accessible.

If you are running your website, then for better conversation rates, you have to engage users in your content. If a person finds all the required information from your site, he won’t need to go anywhere else.

So, you must give users the proper material they seek despite the specific keywords. It is how traffic on your website increases and gives you benefits.

Therefore, we can say that search results are valuable connections between users and business platforms.

How does Semantic Search impact SEO?

1. Voice search

semantic search voice search

According to recent data, about 33% of mobile users use voice commands to get the desired results. For this, they need exact content that can adequately answer their questions.

Thus, web searches have been impacted a lot due to the popularity of voice notes. Also, people try to provide more comprehensive and proper answers to these voice notes.

2. From keywords to topics

keyword topic

Users want to have more comprehensive data. So, instead of using keywords, website owners have shifted to essential topics within the space.

The primary purpose is to provide more and more information on a single site.

3. User experience

UI in semantic search

No matter how much information your site offers users, if it is not user-friendly, there will not be much traffic because search results have become a reality and a necessity today.

Example of Semantic Search


A clear example is if I write “order pizza” on a search engine, it will give me various options of pizza restaurants nearby.

In contrast, if I write bake a pizza, it would offer me a lot of recipes for baking pizza.

But then, if I write only “pizza,” the semantic search operation would bring results that would suit me best. For example, if my history were full of recipes, it would suggest pizza recipes.

But if it gathers information about my hotel, it would give me the best options for ordering pizza.

So basically, this search method aims to extract the best results from limited words.

Current affairs have a vast effect on this search method. For example, a beer brand probably appeared before the pandemic if Corona was written on a search engine.

But after COVID, the same word gives you information about the virus. So, the changing scenarios in our daily lives also impact search results.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding Semantic Search: Semantic search is a technology that interprets the meaning of words and phrases, returning content that matches the meaning of a query rather than just the literal words.
  • How Semantic Search Works: Semantic search uses vector search, which encodes details of searchable information into fields of related terms, items, or vectors. The k-nearest neighbor algorithm then matches vectors of existing documents to the query vectors, generating results based on conceptual relevance.
  • Context: Context can refer to any additional information, such as the searcher’s geographical location, the textual context of the words in the query, or the context of the search history. Semantic search uses these context clues to determine the meaning of a word across a dataset of millions of examples.
  • Searcher’s Intent: The role of semantic search is to improve the user’s experience. It interprets the user’s intent to understand their needs and ranks results in order of relevance based on the query and its context.

Semantic Search Engine

semantic search engines

The primary purpose of a semantic search engine is to put certain information in a semantic structure. It is usually based on frequently asked questions by users.

They are essential because people typically ask questions in different languages and tones.

Therefore, the semantic engine must provide the best results for satisfying their queries. Google, Bing, and Yandex are the most commonly used semantic search engines.

They all are performing functions very well.

How does Google use a Semantic Search?

Google logo icon

To give the users the best search results, Google offers a bottom line to them. It sets rules describing the searcher’s intent and contextual meaning.

Depending on this, users get the best possible result.

Google also pinpoints some “people also ask” to give users more options for their particular search. Most of the Google offices work on closely guarded secrets, but assumptions are made about the capabilities of search engines and how well the website has been organized.

Semantic Search Keywords


They are similar words or phrases with the same conceptual meaning at the back.

Finding proper keywords for your semantic search has been a significant issue in SEO strategy. Semantic search keywords are pretty similar to original keywords.

Furthermore, they provide more insight into the topic and let the users go into more depth than the actual keywords.

Based on this information, the ranking of content is done right by the search engine algorithm.

People used to stuff their content with keywords to use more and more keywords in articles. But today, all the developers have understood that users like to read data more frequently, just like written in their natural language. 

Therefore, using keywords wisely and efficiently to engage users properly is the priority. Moreover, the algorithm prefers content that sounds natural in a smooth flow.

Google can use many tools to find proper search keywords.

Some of them are as follows:

Google Trends

Google Ads tools

Benefits of Semantic Search

It is helpful for both users and search engines. It makes things easier by giving more deep meaning to keywords. Thus, the result becomes easily discoverable for all users.

Moreover, it is a time saver for people searching for any results. Before that, people had to visit different websites to gain the required results with the same keyword.

But now, with semantic search keywords, comprehensive data regarding a particular topic comes before you in no time.

Thus, your query is solved quite conceptually. Also, using this search algorithm, companies offer much support in activities like tagging, analyzing, and correlating internal and external information.


What is semantic search?

Semantic search is a searching technique that focuses on the meaning of words rather than just matching keywords. It aims to understand the intent of the searcher and the contextual meaning of terms to generate more relevant results.

How does semantic search differ from keyword search?

While keyword search looks for exact matches in a database or on the web, semantic search understands the context and intent behind those keywords.

How does Natural Language Processing (NLP) relate to semantic search?

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a vital component of semantic search that allows machines to understand human language meaningfully. 

It helps semantic search by interpreting the context, synonyms, user intent, and the relationship between words, making search results more accurate and relevant.

Can you give an example of a semantic search?

Let’s say you search for “the apple of my eye.” A keyword search might return results about apples, eyes, or both. But a semantic search understands that “the apple of my eye” is an idiom meaning someone who is cherished above all others, and it will return results related to that sentiment.

More Resources:

SERP: Introduction To Google’s Search Engine Results Page

10 Best Search Engines That Are Alternatives To Google