How do you write natural language search-friendly content? What do I exactly mean by “natural language search,” anyways? The questions keep flowing- and while you’ll find most of the answers you’re looking for here, one thing is for sure. Natural language search is more relevant than ever, and companies often forget about it.
What is Natural Language Search (NLS)?
Natural language search, or NLS, is a way of searching on the internet by using everyday sentence structure and speech. Think about when you ask Siri or your phone a question: that’s Natural Language Search. It’s different from keyword search because it is often very specific, and the user is looking for an exact answer to their question. A keyword search can be broad, short, and even fragments (i.e., t-shirt + blue + *favorite band* + cotton).
In other words, a human will speak to their phone or type in a search as if they were talking to another human. This search is then interpreted by Google and other search engine algorithms
What does Natural Language Search mean for SEO?
As we’ve all become used to Google and searching on the internet, searching for “keywords” rather than whole sentences might seem like second nature. But how do you ask a question naturally? What if you could optimize your site for the natural flow of language? If so, what does that look like?
Take, for example, the structure of a keyword phrase in the context of how a user would search:
“Weather Scranton PA today high temp”
My intent would be informational; I’m simply looking to see what the high temperature is for today in Scranton. But what if you were to ask your friend or someone the same question? You’d likely phrase it similarly to the underlined sentence above.
Tips for Implementing Natural Language Search into your SEO Strategy
1. Know Your Audience
Know your audience and the slang they use, how they interact, and how they ask questions online. By truly understanding your target persona, you’ll naturally find it easier to write your content.
2. Run common search queries, but focus on the language, not the keyword
By running common search queries and focusing on the language rather than the keyword, you can understand what content Google finds most helpful for users and how its written. Take into account sentence structure, slang, tone (i.e., formal, friendly), length of content, subheadings, and what other questions the articles may answer. After you’ve gathered this information, you can then begin to create a content strategy that’s guaranteed to rank.
3. Be concise
Get as much information as you can across in as few words as possible. When proofreading, ask yourself, is this sentence is necessary? Will the reader find the answer or solution they’re looking for with a natural language search?
4. Be conversational
When writing, write as if you’re talking to the person you’re writing to. It can be easy to lose track of the humanness of content writing when there are so many facts, statistics, strategies, and more. That’s why it’s pivitol to read your copy aloud in a conversational voice. Does it flow well? How can you make it flow better?
Writing natural language search-friendly content is critical for the longevity of your SEO plan. As more and more people begin to search with Siri and other AI, the more we need to understand our specific audience. Four ways you can better prep your website for NLS today are to know your audience, focus on language, be concise, and lastly, be conversational.
TIP: Can’t find the answers you’re looking for? Try heading over to your industry’s leading social media platform (i.e., LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, etc) and interact with your audience!
RiZen Metrics is a content marketing and SEO agency in Scranton, PA that also specializes in full-service digital marketing strategies. Interested in working with our team? Let’s talk strategy today!