Natural Language Search and SEO Impact

By: Glenn Judah

Each person has their own unique style of communicating from particular word choice to sentence phrasing. When you tell a story or talk in conversation, it feels natural. Communicating with a search engine on the other hand, can feel forced.  We are used to performing keyword-based searches to find information on the web.

This is changing.

According to Search Engine Watch, natural language search “is an attempt to make searching faster and more effective by understanding searcher intent and more complex, multi-part queries.”

Google wants to answer our questions based on how we would ask a real living person. Computers and technology has made major improvements to process natural language and respond appropriately. Google made advances to understanding and answering questions with voice search in 2008, and the Knowledge Graph in 2012.

The search engine giant says “the Google app is starting to truly understand the meaning of what you’re asking.” This allows Google to understand the semantics and intent for each search query.

How does this work?

Search Engine Land reports Google is improving at handling superlatives, times and other complicated questions. Examples include:

  • What are the largest cities in Texas?
  • What songs did Taylor Swift record in 2014?
  • Who was the U.S. President when the Angels won the World Series?


What impact does natural language search have on SEO?

Google and other search engines have been moving away from the importance keyword targeting for delivering relevant search results. Natural language search is the next step in this process for evaluating page content beyond keywords and looking at overall quality, related topics and searcher intent.

Google wants digital marketers, content writers and webmasters to create content that is for the user, not the search engine. If you speak the language of your consumer, then the correct keywords will naturally come through the content.

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