Semantic search is not just for organic traffic; it is also for paid searches. Understanding the difference between a broad and precise search is important, but semantics is the search intent behind a query.

Google focuses much more on search intentions and keyword variant. Knowing the connection between intention and semantics can help you to limit yourself to the perfect audience.

How does semantic search work?

What is semantics, and how does it apply to search? Semantics focuses on the search intention of a keyword and the thoughts and feelings that the person has when searching for the keyword.

This is a complicated subject, and there is no “black and white” step to follow. There is a lot of context and concepts behind every search query, and many SEOs miss it by thinking that basic query research will solve all their problems.

What the semantics for paid campaigns, we’re talking about misspellings, plurals, variant, synonyms and other related words and phrases related to the keyword.

If we understand what semantics is, we can understand how it affects the paid search.

The goal of every advertiser on Google is to make as many relevant keywords as possible visible. The problem is, no matter how much research research you do, Ubersuggest, Ahrefs and SEMrush, you will never find all the keywords people are looking for in your target audience.

This is where semantics comes in.

Google uses semantics in broad and phrase searches to find a wider range of searches and triggers that match the user’s intent and display your ad.

Exact match vs. Broad match in Semantic Search

To understand the semantics, it’s important to know the difference between exact and broad match in Google ads. An exact match requires the user to enter the exact keyword you have chosen to display your ad.

For example, if you used ‘wedding cakes’ with exact matches, the searcher will need to enter some of the following keywords into Google to show your ad:

  • wedding cakes
  • white wedding cakes
  • chocolate wedding cakes
  • cheap wedding cakes
  • and so on

These are exact keywords because they contain the phrase exactly as it is. As a result, this type of advertising does not use semantics, because it does not provide the necessary flexibility to locate related phrases with the same search intent.

Here’s another example: if someone searches for “wedding cakes” or “wedding cakes”, your ad may not be showing because Google thinks it does not match your intent.

Although the searcher is the same, you do not use semantics in your ads and may experience a higher CPC because you focus on a much narrower audience than necessary.

The use of semantics for paid vs. Organic search

When it comes to organic search, many SEOs and site owners like to find every slight permutation of a keyword and incorporate it somewhere in their content. This was at one time the best strategy.

With the RankBrain Update, Google has started implementing machine learning and AI to understand the search intent and context of the search, rather than rewarding the people who put as many keywords in their content as possible.

The goal is to make the process of finding information on Google as natural and conversational as possible.

For example, if you asked a friend, “Who is the richest person in the world?” they can respond, Jeff Bezos.

If you were to ask, “Who has the most money in the world?” the answer would be the same, correct?

This factor should also apply to Google searches. Just because two people ask the same question differently does not mean that they should receive two different sets of search results. The question has the same intention and the question asks the same answer.

If we apply it to organic searches, it will tell us that we do not have to worry so much about getting every variation of the keyword, because Google will identify the similarities and help us to rank all the keywords with the same intent.

In another way, Google’s machine learning also uses your habits as a searcher. After searching for the richest person in the world on Google, I searched for ‘the most money’ to see what it would yield.

The number one result on Google was still relevant to my original search. Since I did not look through anything, Google is still scrambling to find an answer to my query.

Why use semantics for paid searches?

Googlreleased data it tells us how important semantics is for paid searches. About 15 percent of daily searches are new searches they have never seen before. If those 15 percent of searches have never been in Google’s database before, how can anyone retrieve them using keyword research or competitive analytics?

You can not.

When it comes to long tail keywords, the goal is to grab as much of it as possible. However, thousands and thousands of search phrases never hit the keyword research phase because it generates no traffic, and most people will never include a keyword without traffic in their content.

Unless Google does it for you.

This factor has also become widespread with the rise of voice searches. Voice commands are much more common today than they were released in 2011. Twenty-seven percent of the population use voice search on their phones. It is also believed 62 percent of individuals would make a purchase using speech technology on their smart home device.

We all know that people do not talk like they do on Google search. Semantics plays an important role in Google’s ability to do a voice search and translate it into accurate results.

3 Steps to use semantic search for paid ads

What can you do to benefit from semantics? By now, we see the importance of semantics for paid searches, but what should you do to ensure you reach as much of your audience as possible?

  1. Worry less about keywords for Semantics

    We should all be less concerned about creating content around keywords and rather creating content around topics.

    The goal is to cover a topic as deeply as possible, and the keywords will come naturally.

    Many SEOs talk about ‘silos“And”cable. These two strategies help you build content in a way that increases site importance and authority. By doing so, you are showing Google that you are an expert on the subject, and this should give you priority over your competition.

  2. Focus more on intention

    I always preach the importance of search intention, but it has become Google’s bread and butter. This makes it harder for SEOs to play the system by stacking a bunch of keywords in their content.

    When choosing keywords for a paid search, you want to focus on the thought behind the keyword and the intent. Think about the questions that lead people to your site.

    What are they trying to do when they come to your site?

    Are people there to learn something? Buy something? Inquire about something? Once you have determined this, you will want to find keywords that match the intent.
    In this image, the keyword ‘best deals on iPhones’ has a search other than ‘best iPhones’, pictured below. Although both contain a similar phrase, the person searching is trying to achieve different things.

    Someone looking for deals is already in buy mode; they want to buy an iPhone and are looking for great deals.

    Someone looking for the best iPhones may not have dialed the phone yet. They want to make brands, research quality, read reviews and learn more before making a purchase.

    These two individuals are at different stages of the purchasing process.

    Understanding this can help get more people to your site, and may even lower your bounce rate because they will get more for what they bargained for when they landed.

  3. Do not ignore the user experience when it comes to Semantics

    With the release of Core Web Vitamins, we know that Google pays attention to the experience in the field. Factors such as loading speed, loading delay and page layout are important.
    The focus shifts from advertisers and affiliates and turns to the users. Google does not care how well you understand SEO and how many hours you have spent on keyword research.

    All they care about is that people get what they want on their website. If you give people what they want, Google will reward you. If you are not, they will reward your competition.

    For many years, website owners pumped out sub-par keyword-laden content that was built to rank, but ignored the people searching for these keywords. It will not cut it anymore.
    Work on improving your pages, optimizing your mobile site, and noting the bounce rate and duration of the session. These are all indicators whether you are choosing the right keywords and not focusing on the right audience.

    If you notice that certain paid ad keywords have a higher bounce rate, it may mean that you are not getting the right search. Semantic advertising is not just about words; it is also about relevance. You may have the best offer in the world, but it does not matter if your website is not functioning properly.

Measure the success of your paid search campaign with Semantics

How can you measure the success of semantic search in paid advertising? The most important measure you want to track down is the success of individual keywords with broad hits. By figuring out for which words Google’s AI is showing your ad, you can determine if you should keep advertising for the broad keyword.

For example, if you advertise a website that sells iPhone cases, and you find that it’s heard from you search intent does not match the phrases your ad appears for, you may want to customize or completely target something else.

Two other metrics that can tell you a lot about the success of your campaign are the Refusal percentage and average time per page. If you target the right audience and bring the right people to your page, they’ll probably stay for a while.

If you have a 90 percent bounce rate and an average time on a page of less than a minute, chances are people will end up on your site, dislike what they see, and go somewhere else.

This may be a sign of a deeper problem on the site, but in this example you may want to make sure you are getting the right people through.

Google Analytics Dashboard Semantics

You can use tools such as Google Analytics or the Google Ad dashboard to explore this data.


Much of this article will be good news for many of you. This means that you do not have to lose your mind for hours keyword research more. By using broad hits and focusing on intent, you can pick up all the relevant keywords without manually identifying them.

If you need a little more help, we can walk you through the necessary steps to get your campaign up and running.

The paid advertising space is constantly changing and adapting to the digital environment, and we all need to keep up with the changes. If we do not, we risk losing our competition while paying more per click and receiving lower quality door classes.

Keep semantics in mind when setting up your paid campaigns and really think about what the person is trying to achieve when typing a phrase into Google.

How did you use semantics to limit your target audience?

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