How to Use Google’s New Semantic Search to Better Your Online Reputation

understand semantic search to improve your reputation online

The buzz over at the popular Moz SEO Blog this week is all about Google’s “semantic search” feature and how it’s changing search results and SEO – and as Google is the industry leader, the changes are sure to spread to other search engines in the near future too.

If your online reputation isn’t as spotless as you’d like it right now, Google’s use of more semantic search techniques in its engine’s algorithm could be the big change you need to fix it – if you know how to work this new system to your advantage.

Sounds great… but what the heck does semantic search mean, anyway?

The Moz article is a great in-depth explanation, but here are the basics: Google’s new incorporation of semantic search techniques into its algorithm means that it will not focus only on the words typed into the search box when looking for results, but at context.

This context includes search term synonyms, the way the search is phrased (is it a question, for example, or only a search for a particular term?), and the matching of concepts. All these factors and more will become more important to Google’s search feature over the course of 2017 and beyond, as Google and its competitors seek to make search engines function in a more intuitive, conversational manner.

They believe this will also undermine the efforts of shadier SEO techniques like keyword spamming.

How can I put this to work for me, though?

Most of the time, your reputation is damaged because of something that happened in the past. If there are negative articles or reviews of your work filling the first page on Google, that could change – because articles that were relevant to the old, more keyword-based search functions may not be as relevant to the new semantic search as newer content.

This means that your reputation can be changed for the better and then preserved through the creation of content that meets new semantic search criteria. That means that your blogs, articles written by or about you, and other web content related to you should be crafted in such a way that it doesn’t just rank highly on Google because of keywords, but because of an actual, nuanced value and relevance to searches involving your name.

This new search will also probably place more emphasis than ever on high-traffic sites like LinkedIn, WordPress, and social media outlets – meaning that you should always keep your profiles on these services fully updated and fully professional.

Anything else I need to know?

Google is also changing the way search results are presented, especially search results for people. The newer format is detailed in the Moz article, and you can see another example of it by quickly Googling a colleague or a favorite actor.

Look at the types of information that are prioritized: news, biography, social media, pictures, associates, personal info – anything anyone could ever want to know about a person, all neatly arranged on the first page.

The bad news here is that anything negatively impacting your reputation now is probably even easier to find – the good news is that you can quickly fix it.

Because there’s so much about a person on page 1 now, and the focus is always on more recent material, it should be easier than ever for you or a professional reputation enhancer to clean up. If your associates are part of a bad reputation, form new links online. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile or it isn’t up to date, get that fixed straightaway, as sites like LinkedIn are often prioritized for professionals in the new results page format.