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How new Semantic Technology is Revolutionizing Advertising

May. 06, 2014



What exactly is semantic technology?



It’s questionable how many of us really know what this means! Semantic technology actually mimics the way in which the human brain works. It is a mechanized way of using complex algorithms to make sense of all website content – including videos, photos, illustrations as well as text – to get an overall sense of the meaning and scope of what a website is about. 

The beauty is that semantic technology is that it has the capability to continually learn and grow – meaning that it can adapt to future changes and become even more sophisticated with time.
Semantic technology is a term that is hailed as a breakthrough by Facebook and Google but what does it actually mean for those of us who work with website content or in internet marketing?

Remember key word stuffing?

In the not so distant past, search engines traditionally focused mainly on matching up the key words typed into the search box with keywords featured in web URLs, title bars, and other metadata. 
Keywords (and negative keywords) were the principal tools of advertisers who used them to select appropriate wording, avoid negative associations between brands and overall target and manage ad campaigns and their placement. 

Keywords were an effective tool in the beginning when the total number of websites was limited and keyword searches returned only the select few pages that were somehow relevant to the individual search terms. Users could easily browse through the limited number of suggested URLs to find the one site that somehow combined all their search terms in one.

But with the exponential growth in the sheer number of websites over the last decade, this type of search mechanism has become outdated.  With such a crude selection mechanism it has proved all too easy for ads to get placed in inappropriate places (check out on this page to see for yourself!). And we all know how bad ad placement can be damaging, embarrassing and negatively affect our client’s reputations. 

Something more sophisticated and selective was needed to return SERPs that more closely resemble the specific web pages that advertisers and other online searchers are actually looking for.

This is where semantic technology comes in. 

The latest search engines such as Google’s Hummingbird (apparently so-named because it is as “fast and precise” as the bird itself) now go beyond the metadata to analyze and try to understand the meaning, intent and overall sentiment of all the information that is contained in individual web sites as a whole – including videos, photos, pictures, illustration and text. 

The consequence is a returned set of SERPs that more closely correlates with what a searcher wants to find. This perhaps means less URLs to browse overall, but each URL listed is a closer match to what the user wants to know.

This will clearly have a profound impact on the way marketers and advertisers approach their work. Semantic technology, which can distinguish between the different contexts in which similar words are used (think ‘beat’ meaning to hit and ‘beat’ meaning to win) will make it now simpler and much faster for advertisers to select exactly the right placement sites in which to place their ads for maximum effect, and this will lead to
better organized, more targeted and therefore more effective campaigns..  

This faster, more precise and efficient search technology couldn’t have arrived at a better moment since predictions are that numbers of online ads will increase by around 15% by 2015. 

Semantic technology and social media

And it’s not only the internet that will be affected. Semantic technology will also mean more effective and appropriate ads on social media too. Advertisers can now tailor their ads more closely to suit the tastes of specific audiences, age groups, or to fit certain individual preference parameters. Using semantic technology it is now possible to automatically match up the ad to individual devices and users for relevant and accurate ad placement in real time.

Benefits for web browsers

And web browsers as a whole are also benefiting from semantic technology. Searchers are not only finding what they want faster, but are also finding that the type of SERPs returned more closely resembles the type of information they are looking for. Google’s, Bing’s and other search engines are already responding better to question type enquiries, even using voice instead of written queries to initiate a search. 
 
There is still plenty of fine tuning to be done before the system can truly be said to work at its best, but with semantic technology’s capabilities for ongoing learning and adaptation, it would seem that the days of truly sophisticated, appropriate, on target SERPs are not far away.
 

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