Why Businesses Are Utilizing Semantic Search for Better Results

The digital landscape is constantly evolving, and the way users interact with information is no exception. Traditional keyword-based search engines – while still dominant – are slowly giving way to a more nuanced approach: semantic search.

What is Semantic Search?

Semantic search delves deeper than just keywords. It analyzes the intent behind a user’s query, the relationships between words, and the context in which they’re used. As explained by Daniyel Carlson when discussing the different types of keywords previously here on the blog, there are other factors beyond the search queries themselves such as the user’s reason behind the action. For instance, this person may be looking for information or intending to purchase an item. Understanding all these complexities is what semantic search addresses. It allows search engines to deliver results that are more relevant to the user’s actual needs, even if they haven’t phrased their question perfectly.

The concept of semantic search has been around for some time, but its practical application has matured significantly in recent years. Pioneering tech companies like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon have been at the forefront of this development. For instance, Google launched Hummingbird in 2013, which began their application of ‘entities’ such as products, places, and organizations and ‘abstract concepts’ like social or psychological ideas. They integrated these two factors into their algorithms and machine learning systems, which allowed their search engine to better understand the meaning behind queries.

Why Companies Today Are Benefiting from Semantic Search

By understanding the advantages of semantic search, companies can optimize their online presence and achieve better results across various aspects of their operations. Here are key reasons why businesses are increasingly adopting this technology:

Improved User Experience

Semantic search helps businesses deliver a positive user experience by ensuring they find the information they’re looking for quickly and efficiently. Take for example a user searching for “best laptops for video editing.” A traditional search engine might return results based solely on the keyword “laptops,” potentially leading to irrelevant content about general-purpose laptops.

A semantic search engine would understand the user’s intent (finding a powerful laptop for video editing) and show results that cater to that need. This not only improves user satisfaction but also keeps them engaged with the business’s content for longer. Google Search and Microsoft Bing are the most popular names in this space.

Better Content Matching

Content is a cornerstone of any successful digital strategy, but with the vast amount of resources available online, it can be difficult for businesses to find exactly what they need. Semantic search helps businesses find content that matches the right audience. Technology Magazine’s discussion on AI search highlights Alphasense, which is helping its clients make smarter business decisions through this strategy. By understanding the types of questions users are asking about the industry, the company can tailor which results to serve to address these needs.

Deeper Customer Insights

Semantic search also provides businesses with valuable insights into user behavior and search patterns. By analyzing the types of queries users are making, businesses can gain a deeper understanding of their target audience’s needs, preferences, and pain points. This information can be used to refine marketing campaigns, develop new products and services, and personalize the overall customer experience.

For example, a company selling fitness trackers might notice a surge in searches related to “fitness trackers for sleep tracking.” This data can inform the development of new features or marketing campaigns specifically focused on sleep tracking. IBM’s Watson platform focuses on this kind of data, and its goal is to provide businesses with such insights to help them grow.

Unstructured Data Analysis

A large portion of a company’s data exists in an unstructured format, such as emails, customer reviews, and social media conversations. This data can be a rich source of insights, but it’s often difficult to analyze with traditional methods. Semantic search addresses this pain point. MongoDB’s breakdown of semantic search notes that it excels at processing unstructured data by identifying key themes, entities, and relationships within the information. This allows businesses to extract valuable insights from their data that would otherwise be hidden.

Imagine an e-commerce company using semantic search to analyze customer reviews of their products. They could identify recurring themes of dissatisfaction, allowing them to address product issues and improve customer satisfaction.

Competitive Advantage

Semantic search provides businesses with an edge by ensuring a company’s website and content are more visible to potential customers. Additionally, by understanding search trends and user intent, businesses can anticipate customer needs and tailor their offerings accordingly. This proactive approach gives them a significant advantage over competitors who are still relying on traditional keyword-based strategies.

One company that does this is Salesforce. Their Einstein Search tool leverages semantic search to help salespeople find relevant information and resources quickly. It helps their clients get one step ahead of other players in their respective industries.

These are just a few examples of how businesses are harnessing the power of semantic search. As technology continues to evolve, there will be more innovative applications to emerge. That’s not to mention similar technology that may be combined with semantic search. In another post, Business Upside tackled generative AI and how it’s poised to grow. Businesses that embrace such trends will be well-positioned to thrive.

By maximizing semantic search, businesses can create a more user-friendly online presence, gain valuable customer insights, and achieve better results across all their business channels. Semantic search is not just a passing trend. It’s the future of online search. Companies that adapt and leverage this technology effectively will be the ones that stay ahead of the curve and continue to succeed in the digital age.