How To Do SEO For Your Own Website Part 1: The Semantic Core

How To Do SEO For Your Own Website Part 1: The Semantic Core

Welcome to the World of SEO

Understanding what Search Engine Optimization  is and how you can use it to your advantage is what will separate you from your competition and bring your business to the next level. More often than not, users are either entirely overwhelmed by the concept of SEO or they simply believe that it is a hoax that isn’t worth the money. As it turns out, SEO is not magic, nor is it a trick. It is a series of tried and true methods used on a website in a meticulous and planned fashion in order to consistently increase the amount of traffic brought to it. The unavoidable side effect of increased traffic to a website is it’s elevation in search engine rankings.

We want to make one thing clear: everything that we will be writing about in this series has not only been verified by several other web development sites, but also used and implemented by them as well.This is practical advice used by real people at real companies.

This is our first article in a series whose main goal is to teach you the ins and outs of search engine optimization. We advise that you read the articles in this series carefully because they are packed with useful tips and tricks that, if followed precisely, will bring you enormous online marketing success. This first article focuses on a crucial aspect of SEO: the construction and use of the Semantic Core.

Search Engine Optimization Basics: What is the Semantic Core?

Material by SEOHow To Do SEO For Your Own Website Part 2: Structure of the SiteHow To Do SEO For Your Own Website Part 2: Structure of the SiteWhat is SEO?What is SEO?

Your company website is a representation of your business, plain and simple. We already know that design and layout play a huge role in user experience, but just as important is the content that makes up the bulk of the site. The best websites employ something called a semantic core, which can loosely be defined as an ordered set of words and phrases for which users will search and be brought to your website from search engines. These words and phrases are used throughout your website in order to be “picked up” by search engines when users search for them.

Not all words are created equal, however. Words are divided into categories of high, medium, and low frequencies, a ranking based off their popularity. For example the phrase “Web Design” will be high-frequency (HF), “Web Design Company” will be at mid-range frequency, and “Top Web Design Company in Montgomery County” will be low-frequency (LF). As you can probably guess, the more popular a word or phrase is, the more competition you face when trying to use it as a representation of your business (this is because many other people are doing the same thing). On the same note, the more competitive a keyword or phrase is, the better the results will be when using it as representation of your website in your semantic core. Being at the top of Google’s rankings for competitive keywords and phrases is a trying task, but one that can yield invaluable results.

Describe Your Company with Tails and Specifiers

It is important to keep in mind that up to 40% of all requests users search in Google will never be regularly sought after. By this we mean that while you may find a unique way to describe your business, other people will not search for your company in that way. It is only through using competitive and relevant descriptors or specifiers can your website really come to the forefront of Google’s top ranks.

The best requests are made from HF and mid-range words with many qualifiers mixed throughout. Here are a few examples:

It is important for you to sit and think about how people may be searching for your business, and then to construct a string of possible searches that contain HF and mid-range frequency keywords and phrases and use them throughout your website. They will become integral parts of your semantic core.

Building your Semantic Core to Begin Website Optimization

We know that the quality of both your company and website is far above that of your competitors, but don’t write them off just yet. By looking at your competitors’ websites, you can begin to gather words and phrases that would be helpful additions to your own semantic core. Check out the headlines they have on their websites. Do a couple of Google searches and see if their website appears as a top submission. You can even view Google’s recommended keywords.

Collect words and phrases at your competitors’ websites and view Google’s recommended keywords, img 1Collect words and phrases at your competitors’ websites and view Google’s recommended keywords, img 2Collect words and phrases at your competitors’ websites and view Google’s recommended keywords, img 3Collect words and phrases at your competitors’ websites and view Google’s recommended keywords, img 4Collect words and phrases at your competitors’ websites and view Google’s recommended keywords, img 5Collect words and phrases at your competitors’ websites and view Google’s recommended keywords, img 6
Suggestions are located at the very bottom of SERP and can give you an idea about your audience and what they are looking for.

You should also remember that not everyone searching for your business knows it as well as you do. It might be helpful to poll friends and family with the simple question of “What would you type into Google in order to find my firm’s website?” This type of self-conducted research will provide you with the insight necessary to bring organic traffic to your company site.

We ask that you use caution when working with fee-based online marketing programs. It is true that they will help you optimize the routine operations of SEO, but not one of them will be the “all-in-one” solution to receiving professional results online.

The best way to understand the value of words and phrases in Google’s search rankings is to consult with Google itself. Google AdWords will be your best friend in building a semantic core for your company page. It uses huge aggregate sets of data in combination with localization techniques in order to determine how many times a particular word or phrase has been searched and even how many times it was searched for in your area. Pretty cool right?

When constructing a semantic core, it typically takes us anywhere from five hours to a few days.  You are just as capable!

Use Google AdWords to determine how many times a particular word or phrase has been searched and even how many times it was searched for in your area, img 1Use Google AdWords to determine how many times a particular word or phrase has been searched and even how many times it was searched for in your area, img 2Use Google AdWords to determine how many times a particular word or phrase has been searched and even how many times it was searched for in your area, img 3Use Google AdWords to determine how many times a particular word or phrase has been searched and even how many times it was searched for in your area, img 4

First, sign up for Google Adwords.

Next, open up Google Planner and begin researching various keywords and phrases. Make sure that you specify the region in which you would like users to search for you. It’s great if someone in California finds your website. However, if you are in Philadelphia, Denver, or Austin, they probably don’t plan on hopping on a plane to fly to you. That’ll only be a waste of your time.

Now, with your list of several hundred keywords and phrases, compile it into an organized document and save it for later use.

Keyword Research Tools List Beyond Keyword Planner to Build a Semantic Core

There are many services for creating a semantic core on the internet - some are paid, some offer a free trial for a few days and some are free. At Direct Line Development, we prefer to use a combination of a few different tools that vary by type to achieve the best result for websites.

Oftentimes, various techniques allow you to enhance an already existing list of words. We recommend that you use, in addition to Google Keyword Planner, one of the major SEO services such as Ahrefs or Semrush and add them to your keyword research tool list. Each of them has semi-automatic process to create a semantic core and they work the way they were designed. More recently, Google has been effective in helping build an organic semantic core by suggesting to a user the keywords related to their search that people have used.

For the collection of Google suggestions there are a few programs that can help. A free version is going to be sufficient for smaller projects.

Divide a Semantic Core Into Few Sub-cores for Each Theme

If your company offers a few different, but industry-related services, there must be a difference between all of them in the semantic core. For example, for our website research we gathered separate cores for each of our services and features, such as web design, web development, search engine optimization (SEO), logo design, animation и graphic design. All of these services are related to one in another in some ways and, therefore, it’s important to differentiate them by not using similar words. For instance, the core for “web design” cannot have words from the “graphic design” core. You need to demonstrate to Google that a relevant page that user searched for shows up and not, for example, something with keywords “logo design for small business near me” if the page about web development.

How to Do a Quick Keyword Research in Your Niche

It’s fast and simple. After you build your semantic core, separate it by services and perform a keyword research in your niche. Also, you need to find words that are repeated for better analysis. For instance, let’s say the most popular keyword in all searches of your semantic core is “company”, but your service is “web design”. What do you do? You need to promote a phrase “web design company”. This phrase will not likely going to be the most popular on your list, but if you combine all popular phrases, it would be a number one.

 Accordingly, if your “web design company” phrase moves up, don’t forget to use it in your web content using the correct and popular tails and longtails (near me, for small business, local, etc.), then your site will begin to show up in searches with these words organically.

The Importance of Stop Words in Keyword Research

This is an extremely important step that people tend to leave out in their research process for website. Stop words prevent you from showing up in searches not related to your business. If you don’t use stop words in keyword research, then your semantic core will have a large amount of useless information, which will guarantee to negatively affect your work in the search engine. You need to remain competitive in the market that you’re in, not anything else unrelated to your business or service. Here is an example of stop words for our company-related theme, specifically “web design”.

Semantic Core exeption words

Your semantic core will decrease by 25-30% if you exclude searches with these words

Best SEO Techniques: How Many Words Should be in my Semantic Core?

Here is an answer we are sure you will love: it depends. That’s right. Depending on the site, the number of words will vary entirely. If you are a small business offering only a few services in a very specific location, you will only need several different combinations of keywords for your semantic core. If you are a large corporation or a store engaged in online marketing, you will need thousands of keywords. As a rule of thumb, a typical semantic core will consist of three or four strong HF words and at least 100 mid-range words.

Many companies make the mistake of using only a few mid-range and LF words, thinking them to be unimportant. The problem with this, however, is that substantial results come from the many variations of the phrase that become available from having a diverse list of these types of words in your semantic core. The greater the depth of your semantic core, the more likely your website will occupy top positions online within Google’s search result rankings.

We will discuss how to increase the number of searches your website receives from your semantic core in an upcoming article.

Example of semantic core for web design company

Summing it up

A company without a semantic core is doomed to fail in the realm of online marketing and search engine optimization. They will be lost without targeted keywords methodically chosen to represent their company in search engines. By compiling an accurate and informed list of keywords and phrases into a semantic core, you place your company or business in a position that is now relevant to potential customers. It is not something to be overlooked, but rather, the first step in laying a solid SEO foundation for your website. But just like a house, the foundation needs to be done correctly or else it will collapse on itself.

By following the advice in this article and the ones to follow, you are embarking on the best path forward in order to bring you and your company the best online results possible.

We understand that SEO can be intimidating at first, and this is why we welcome you to leave any questions you may have in the comments section below and we will get back to you promptly. At Direct Line Development we are experts in SEO and have years of proven tactics. If you enjoyed this article, feel free to check out our others or call us for more information. Cheers!

The article was updated on June 19, 2018.

Alex Kudimov
Alex Kudimov


Steve Greenspan

I'm glad there is something written about "tails", when I think of keywords I tend to only think of them as single words but this seems to be informing me that I can use whole, specific phrases to try to better target my audience. Great advice!

Ben Hayward

What is the average conversion rate of a website keyword that is placed in the top page of google? Can you substantiate this for people?

Fred Yuldashev

These tips are very useful and can help you to stay 1 step ahead in search engines.

Aleksei Kudimov

If you are on the first search result place you will have at least a 10% conversion rate.

Gregory Queen

At what point should SEO start to score higher, if Semantic Core is thorough?

Aleksei Kudimov

You will definitely see the first results in 5 to 6 months

Greg Queen

Angelica, a Semantic core can help you target keywords that are less competitive, and and work those keywords into your blog. As an example, when we started our SEO campaign, we targeted "Custom web design in Philadelphia Area". Now we are top 10 in keyword "Web Design." Strategy plays a big role.

Greg Queen

When doing SEO, you should focus on your core principals. By trying to cast too wide of a net, your results will be less successful.

This post is very helpful to get started with building a strategy for getting good SEO results. Spending some time with keywords and qualifiers is an important first step in becoming more visible on internet.

In a highly competitive world of searches, it's extremely important to have a great strategy in selecting keywords, tails and specifiers. It is imperative that you take your time with this task. Understanding your competitors and their strategies will give you a great start. What are people searching for? What's the volume of searches for those Keywords? It's only then, that you begin to construct a Semantic Core. The Content will be built once you have this task completed. SEO is ongoing and needs to be revisited often to make sure that your tactics are up to date.
It takes a while to get great results, but everything counts!!!

This is a great start for anyone looking to learn how SEO works. Already seeing some increase in rankings!

Great article on how to form an SEO strategy instead of just throwing darts as most people do when starting an SEO campaign.

I like that the article points out that LF and MF words must be used along with HF words. The more diverse text is, the better it is for SEO. Previously, I thought that HF words are more important, but it makes sense that variety is good because it will also appear more organic and will enhance the richness of text.

So many people/companies think that SEO is simply taking solid keywords and enveloping them into their content. Great to see something like this which highlights keyword research to begin the journey of building a site from the back to the front around a well-executed strategy.

Great article! It is true, depending on the size of your company and the services they provide, it depends on how many semantic words you need!

The content of your site needs to be original and structured. This is a great reference to how you should approach such important SEO matter.

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Stephen Greenspan
Stephen Greenspan
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