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How to Optimize Your Content for Semantic SEO – ReadWrite



How to Optimize Your Content for Semantic SEO - ReadWrite

Google’s progress over the last 20 years is mind-blowing when you think about it. Not long ago, users were impartial to the likes of Yahoo, Bing or even Ask Jeeves. Those names have since faded into the periphery while Google has gotten better at serving up relevant answers in record time – even if we’ve entered incoherent phrases littered with typos. Basically, Google gets us. And it keeps getting better at it.

The ever-evolving game of SEO has been largely dependent on the smarts of the Google Algorithm, and it’s changed a lot over the years. The latest development? Semantic SEO. But what is it? And how do you optimize your content in a way that keeps the Google robots happy? Let’s take a closer look.

Where did semantic SEO come from?

To understand how to optimize for Google, it helps to understand a bit of its history.

Initially, SEO relied on singular keyword-focused algorithms. Then came some pretty catalytic jumps, namely with ‘Knowledge Graph,’ ‘Hummingbird,’ ‘RankBrain,’ and ‘BERT’ between 2012 – 2021.

Knowledge Graph was revolutionary in creating a mindmap for Google to see the links between words. And Hummingbird made it possible for Google to understand a search queries’ full meaning rather than just as a string of individual keywords. It was also able to interpret a webpage’s overall topic, rather than just scan for certain words – a big reason that nefarious black-hat SEO technique keyword-stuffing fell out of favor.

With a priority in understanding users’ search intent better, the context of these search terms is also judged against existing search histories, considering their relevance within local and global parameters. Or in other words, it added context.

So say, for example, you typed ‘corona’ into your search bar. Currently, Google will predict that you’re more likely interested in the COVID-19 situation affecting your city, rather than the beer. So the first results you see will be related to just that. Semantic SEO is a step forward in the world of Google contextualizing.

What is semantic SEO?

To get to grips with semantic SEO, it’s helpful to unpack the word semantic.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, semantics is “the branch of linguistics and logic concerned with meaning. The two main areas are logical semantics, concerned with matters such as sense and reference and presupposition and implication, and lexical semantics, concerned with the analysis of word meanings and relations between them.”

Semantic SEO is based on lexical semantics – so how the words relate to one another.

1. How to optimize your content for semantic SEO

Google aims to respond to users’ questions with articles containing the most valuable information and predictively answer follow-up questions. It knows humans are curious creatures, after all. So we will teach you how to optimize your content for quality AND be picked up favorably by Google’s radar.

First, you need to understand the intent of your article. Or in other words, which of the reader’s needs are you answering? Intent falls into 3 categories – and it’s crucial to know which of these your piece falls into if you’re going to keep readers happy. Users are browsing on the internet to either –

  1. Learn something;
  2. Buy something; or
  3. Find something specific (e.g., a shop their friend has just mentioned).

The breakdown of this intent falls roughly into 80%, 10% and 10%, respectively. Most users are on the internet with specific questions that they want answers to. So it’s important to understand the questions your article is trying to answer — otherwise, your website won’t convert, your bounce rate will be sky-high, and Google will penalize you for not being what your readers want.

2. Create quality content (not pieces jammed with keywords)

Most users don’t jump on Google to open a digital encyclopedia and sift through information. Remember that. They want the specifics, and the worst thing you can try to do is provide a short, surface-level general overview of the subject. Google Knowledge Panels and Wikipedia already exist for this exact reason.

Knowledge panels are snippets of ‘general info’ pinned to the top of search results. So really, your general info article is getting into the ring with Google, and you can guess who we’d place our bets on.

Once you have the question your article is trying to answer, really unpack the value in that. Ensure your piece is thorough. You can even go as far as answering other questions related to that route of curiosity.

Top tip: According to recent web design statistics, content you wrote years ago can still work to boost your SEO and organic Google traffic. Google bots actively crawl every page of your website to find relevant matches to users’ search queries. Maintaining an active blog increases your chance of multiple pages being picked up and shown on the first page of Google.

At the end of the day, your piece should be chock-full of long-tail keywords connected to the topic of interest. Google will pick up on the quantity and quality of the semantically connected phrases peppered through your article and increase the relevance score of your article.

A quick example…

Say you’re writing an analytical piece about Harry Potter. Your semantically connected phrases could include ‘seventh Harry Potter book,’ ‘The Boy Who Lived Next Door,’ ‘Harry Potter,’ ‘Neville Longbottom’, and ‘understanding the prophecy.’

Google would crawl this article and understand it is suited for readers who want to understand the relationship between Potter and Longbottom. In contrast, semantically connected phrases for an entertainment piece about the cast could include ‘child actors,’ ‘cast of Harry Potter,’ and ‘film journey.’

Ten years ago, the SEO strategy for both articles would have been to stuff the keyword “Harry Potter” in as many times as sanely possible. Thankfully, Google’s comprehension skills have improved, so we can focus more on writing richer pieces of content, without repeating ourselves unnecessarily.

3. Long-form content is better than short

It is difficult to cover a topic well in less than 300 words. So don’t waste the precious chance with a case of cat-got-your-tongue when people arrive at your show.

Google doesn’t want its users to have to hop through various pages to get the answers – that would be a bit like phoning up a customer service helpline that kept redirecting you to a different department member for every question you had (oh wait…been there). Frustrating!

No one’s limiting your time on stage, so go long. Instead, write pieces of 2,000-2,500 words that cover more ground and cast a wider safety net in answering a multitude of questions.

These longer articles can really help boost your lead conversion and drive organic traffic to your site. They also provide you with more opportunities to add semantically linked phrases – and when it comes to optimizing your site for semantic SEO, that’s definitely a good thing.

4. Increase the relevance of your article by reverse-fitting it to Google

Look at what comes up in the Google dropdown search bar. This will give you ideas for semantically related phrases you can tie into your article. It’ll also give you a better understanding of your user’s interests.

Google’s dropdown list will help you understand your user’s interests.

Additionally, you can scroll down to the end of the search results page, and record the small list of ‘Related Keywords’ displayed here.

Collectively these can guide what you cover in your piece, give you a mindmap of LSI keywords (aka long-tail keywords) and the kinds of medium-tail keywords you can use. Incorporating more of both of these is preferable. It means you’ll cast a wider net for your article because Google will automatically include you for the longer-tail keywords.

5. Rank well for informational queries to earn a ‘Featured Snippet’

Everyone used to covet the Position 1 spot on a Google search results page. But now, people are aiming for Position 0. Why? Because you’re not only first, but Google additionally shows an open sliver of your content. It’s really like getting a foot into the door of attention, increasing traffic to your page from the users who’d like to read more.

You can aim to be chosen for these ‘featured snippets’ through structuring your content with question headlines, followed by bullet point answers or scannable content. Incorporating various headlines with popular questions and relevant answers will improve your chance to rank better for the overall topic. Instead of just reeling in people based on one keyword, you can catch people who asked various kinds of questions to do with your topic.

If you don’t get the Position 0 spot, don’t fret: aim for another highly-placed spot instead. You will recognize Google shows an accordion-style FAQ of follow-up questions underneath the ‘featured snippet.’ When clicked on, a snippet of the answer opens up, so it’s a very respectable runner-up prize.

6. Use structured markup and semantic tags in your code

Not seen by users, this backend advanced SEO technique helps the Google machinery understand the organization of your article. Using semantic HTML elements enhances the accessibility and searchability of your article. It also improves your chances of achieving the coveted Google 0 position.

Using semantic tags tells the browser a little more about the meaning and the hierarchy of the content. Instead of seeing <div> and <span> for differing blocks of content — use semantic tags like <header> <nav> <article> <footer> to organize your content. And within content blocks, use element heading tags (h1, h2, h3, h4, h5 and paragraph). These break up the text and order your copy according to importance.

Final thoughts

There’s an opportunity to delve deeper into topics to rank well as a specialist article covering a niche topic. You can also feature it as an informational snippet in Position 0. Now Google has caught up in leaps and bounds; you can worry less about gaming the system with keyword-stuffing — and instead, challenge yourself to write even more meaningful content.

Image Credit: freeboilergrants; pexels; thank you!

Irwin Hau

Irwin Hau is a private business consultant and Founder of Chromatix, a multi-award-winning web design and conversion agency based in Melbourne, Australia. Since opening shop in 2009, he’s gone on to amass over 70 awards and mentions for work in web design and digital solutions.


Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending



Google eyed for $2 billion Anthropic deal after major Amazon play

London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.

According to an Oct. 10 report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.

The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:

“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”

The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:

“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”

The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.

The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.

Featured Image Credit: Photo from; Thank you!

Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.

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Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs



Deanna Ritchie

As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.

Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI

In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.

According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.

One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.

To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.

Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations



Deanna Ritchie

As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.

Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation

To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.

The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.

Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.

The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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