Sometimes a concept can be hard to imagine until you see it exemplified in the real world. While marketing is not a complex subject, trying to sniff out the rules associated with Google’s Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) through trial and error can result in hours of content marketing tweaking. All this just to figure out what works and what doesn’t. That’s why it’s sometimes easier to get the scoop on how to handle algorithm changes by seeing an example of it done successfully by someone else. This is especially true of concepts like semantic keywords in marketing. By now, most business owners know that simple keyword density will no longer cut it to place high in the SERPs. However, the idea that Google can track meaning now, not just keywords, is too hazy a concept to understand. What exactly is a meaning cloud and how do you use it in your content marketing? To understand this concept, let’s turn to the example of an Australian dental office trying to generate business by targeting its specialty: dental implants.
In the past, the keyword dental implants would be used in content to obtain a specific keyword density, like 2 to 3 percent. In Australia, Google shows that the term “dental implants” would provide an estimated 4,400 monthly searches. The keyword itself would be a high competition keyword with many other websites targeting it to generate traffic. Thus, despite the average estimated monthly searches advertised, the fact is it might not generate a large amount of traffic to your website with so many others to choose from on the SERPs. Yet, it still shows promise. Thus, many marketers might use that keyword, in a specific keyword density, to impress the search engine that their particular content was of higher quality than all the others on the Internet. This was the only way to do things because Google was searching for keywords, not content. Now, all that has changed with the introduction of semantic keywords and semantic searching.
Google not only knows people are searching for “dental implants,” but that people who search for that also search for a variety of other terms associated with it that give it more meaning, such as “cheap dental implants” and “dental payment plans.” They will also be aware that many people who are looking for cheap dental implants in Australia will search for “dental implants Thailand” to figure out if a bit of medical tourism might be in their future. This is valuable information for marketers and business owners who want to impress Google that the content they have on their site matches the search intention of someone who inputs that term into the Australian version of Google. It’s not just about advertising dental implants because the dentist specializes in it. Google is not interested in why you want to provide content for others. They’re more interested in pinpointing the specific answers to queries posted to it in the search engine, and that requires they know what the questioner actually means when they type some terms into it. It’s the content provider’s job to convince Google that their content answers the question posed to it, by including associated keyword meanings in the content and focusing less on keyword density.
Going back to Joe Dentist who wants to create a content marketing strategy to place his copy higher in Google’s SERPs, Joe goes to the Google Adwords Keyword Planner and puts in the term “dental implants.” The Keyword Planner tool will show Joe the associated keywords and what search volume they each have. Joe will realize that if he targets “dental implants” alone, he will have tons of competition. But, there are plenty of other keywords that can produce significant traffic when you add them all up. These are typically long-tail keywords that have less competition associated with them. These keywords will also clue Joe into what topics are of interest to people searching for dental implants and can provide him with unique content ideas to steer traffic his way, based on the meaning Google gives to the associated search.
After inputting the keyword “dental implants” in the Keyword Planner, Joe comes up with a bunch of keywords. He decides to focus on a number of them that add up to half the traffic volume as the main keyword, but produce more long-tail opportunities that are less competitive. They might include the following terms:
From this list, Joe will sit down and brainstorm topics of interest to someone searching for this meaning cloud. It becomes obvious that topics that concern costs associated with dental implants, whether in Australia or Thailand, would be popular. Also, people want to know how they’re going to pay for dental implants and what problems might occur with the procedure. Potential titles might include:
You might be wondering why a dentist in Australia even wants to mention dental implants in Thailand. People will know these are available due to the meaning cloud when Google serves up the SERPs. You’re not telling them anything they won't eventually find out. However, by adding your own content to your website addressing the topic, this allows you to give your side of the story. You can persuade visitors that they’re still better off getting their implants within Australia rather than traveling to Thailand. The content will still be answering the question with the right associated meaning, but it doesn’t mean you can’t spin the article to persuade people to buy your services, not someone else’s.
Google is still looking for quality content. They like to see images with alt-tags, links, and graphs within your content. Visitors who are visually oriented will also appreciate these additional touches to the copy on your site. It can also be necessary to make it easy to post in social networking sites that rely on images and graphs to appeal to people looking at hundreds of status updates in a day. You can post provocative images that showcase poor dental implant horror stories on the Internet to create an emotional response and compare them to your exceptional work side-by-side on the same page. It not only creates a story line, but also gives an instant shock factor that steers visitors towards your services instead.
Joe will be tempted to go old-school and post all his content on his website alone. Google will find it, but they will rate it higher if they find different copy being shared on other places on the web, too. Google can track an article’s authorship with the author tag and if they see other sites citing Doctor Joe as a notable reference on dental implants, that’s the kind of thing that impresses Google. Joe’s content strategy should include content marketing on more online venues than just his website. He should share content on social networking sites, in online forums, in article directories, and anywhere that people go to find answers about dental implants from reputable sources, while claiming authorship. It should all be original, quality, content that makes use of semantic keywords.
Avoid getting bogged down trying to figure out what semantic keyword searching means, in terms of specific Google algorithm coding. That’s not really helpful in the practical world. Instead, focus on creating a content marketing plan that delivers the content that Google wants to see and is enthusiastic about serving up to the people who visit their search engine. First, learn how to find meaning clouds that promise good traffic counts with long-tail keywords that have low competition. Secondly, figure out how your content can address the searches that Google gets in a way that is topically interesting to readers and satisfies their curiosity, while also showcasing your business as the place to go. It’s really doesn’t require anything more than that.
Google Adwords (n.d.) Google Adwords Keyword Planner. Retrieved from: https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner