As a team offering the best SEO in Manchester we are well aware of the fact that an effective SEO campaign is made up of many different factors, and how important taking a linguist approach to SEO is going to be next year.
But what does this mean?
Gone are the days where Google only looks at individual keywords on the page, Google can now interpret language in a very similar way to how a human can.
This is all part of their big push towards serving users with the most accurate and closely matched result for their search, or “quality content”.
So, if Google is looking at language so closely, it seems obvious that SEO expert Manchester should too.
But how exactly does Google understand language?
The scientific study of language, known as linguistics, plays a large part.
With every algorithm update they release, and they have released many this year, Google is taking even more steps towards understanding the many multi-dimensional aspects of language there are – mostly through the use of linguistic features that help us to communicate the context, intent, and meaning behind what we are saying.
This means that behind each keyword there is a lot more going on now, than just online content and searches, and it is the ultimate aim of Google to figure this out.
The linguistic aspects of language
Before we go any further into the topic of linguistics in SEO, it is useful to understand the different aspects of language that we use when we search online.
We form searches using words, intuitively, and these can sometimes take the form of sentences that carry meaning. But language does not just consist of words.
So, how does Google interpret the meaning from just a string of words?
Using additional linguistic information surrounding keywords, Google also looks at:
- Morphology – these are word features such as suffixes and prefixes
- Pragmatics – contextual features that can affect meaning
- Semantics – meanings of words and sentences
- Syntax – sentence features, such as sentence structure
Google uses all of these linguistic features in combination to help its algorithm better process natural language, resulting in a better user experience for searchers with more accurate and relevant search results being served.
High-quality content is still vital
In the old days, it was a common SEO practice to optimise content purely for keywords – with many websites ranking well for keywords despite having uninformative pages.
Now Google processes language using an extensive algorithm that looks well beyond the keyword. It also looks at things such as the broader phrase, and related searches that can provide it with more information around the term.
Through a deeper level of understanding of language using morphology, pragmatics, semantics, and syntax, Google is becoming more able to understand what our searches mean – and what sort of content we then want to see.
This also has an effect on the type of content that Google is now classifying as high-quality. The days of keyword stuffing content to rank well are long gone, and Google is rewarding content that takes into account all of the linguistic factors we have mentioned above.
#Morphology: Understanding words
There is a bit of a misconception at the moment that Google only looks at the exact form of the keyword you are searching for when it presents you with search results. Your target keyword can actually be more flexible than you think.
Morphology, the way we form words, helps Google with this as it informs how it understands and differentiates between the different forms and variations of a keyword.
Let’s say you are talking to someone about a “walk”, for example, you might say “walking”, “walks” or “walked”.
And Google understands this.
So, if you were to publish an article on your website about “Outdoor walking “, Google will understand that “walk”, “walks” and “walked” are all morphological variations of the word “walking”. And it can also understand synonyms such as “outdoor”, “hikes”, “hiking” and “nature”.
Therefore, instead of stuffing your content with the same keyword over and over again, consider using variations of the same word to help your content read more naturally.
#Pragmatics: Understanding context
Pragmatics is the part of the language that helps us understand how context contributes to meaning as during most of the everyday conversations we draw on contextual cues that help us understand what is being said and how we should respond.
Google is continually getting better at understanding the language on a pragmatic level and identifying implied meanings through the use of contextual clues.
Let’s say you searched for “do I need to wear a coat today”, Google will show you weather results despite the fact you do not mention weather anywhere in your search.
A linguistic approach to SEO, therefore, means we need to think about exactly what the searcher means and show them we understand their search by providing them with the most relevant solution.
#Semantics: Understanding meaning
Semantics is concerned with the exact meaning of searches – which is one of Google’s main aims.
The semantic search model uses a variety of techniques, such as looking at the relationship between search queries that are similar as this allows Google to gather a much deeper understanding of the kind of information users like to see when they type in a particular search term.
When thinking about semantic search in your own content it is vital to ensure the information you are providing matches the search intent of the searcher.
#Syntax: Understanding structure
Over the past couple of years, Google has invested heavily in Natural Language Processing (NLP) systems that can help them understand full search phrases.
Google uses them to look at the syntax of both searches and content, relating to the structure of languages such as the arrangement of sentences and word order.
As you can imagine, when it comes to SEO and writing content now it can be really difficult for most business owners to know where to start. There are many complexities to take into account – including linguistics – and that’s where we come in.
SEO MCR, local search engine optimisation services in Manchester, are here to help you ensure your SEO is getting you results and your content is the best it can possibly be. Get in touch to find out more about our SEO services.