A complete guide to a semantic core. What semantic core is and how to work with it
By the end of this tutorial, you will understand:
- What semantic core is
- What types of keywords are there
- How to collect a semantic core
- Tools to collect semantic core (free/purchased)
- How to track results and why
- How to avoid the basic mistakes in collecting semantic core
What is Semantic Core
Basically, the semantic core is a grouped word list that your website is ranking for or going to rank in search engine systems like Google. So when people ask Google, they can find your website results among others
You can be a top 1 on the first page of Google, and more probably you will get more impressions and clicks by users because it’s easy to find your website being the top 1 or top 4
Evaluate by yourself, based on the results below, what would you click at first? 1 or 2
And this is going further as you might see, because not just only rank position matter, but your general view in Google in search result page (SERP), so-called “snippet”
Turning back, now we know what semantic core is and even a bit about snippets, but are there any other conceptions or something I should know to work with it? And the answer is yes it is
But firstly let’s have a look, at why would you need a semantic core for
Why Would You Need a Semantic Core?
The semantic core is the tool, same as if you would be trying to cook a chicken soup using a recipe.
Hypothetically, You know what ingredients you need: chicken, onions e.t.c
But the proportions also matter, and if you make a mistake, and add 5 tablespoons of salt instead of 1 it would be not the good soup that you were trying to treat your family with
So semantic core is about proportions and “ingredients”. The proportions are keywords and the ingredients are keyword types
Moreover, semantic core allows you to track keyword positions in search engines systems like Google, so eventually you will be able to see where you started (point A) and point B where you are now
Down below, I will show you, what to count during semantic core work
What is Search Intent?
Search intent – is a set of content rules or user expectations/purposes based on search engine system algorithms about what kind of content a user wants to see after typing a keyword in a search bar of engine systems like Google.
Imagine that you are looking for a non-fiction book
You are probably expecting to see the hard-covered or whatever covered paperwork that looks like a book, and it’s readable, so you can just open it up and read
Moreover, you are probably expecting to see content related to your specific topic or a book name, and there shouldn’t be any cookie recipe inside it or manuals about how to repair your car
The search intent does it the same way, the search algorithms are trained to do that way, to understand what people want to see, based on diversity metrics and research
Basically, every single Google algorithm when you see it, updating over and over again, carries a bit of these improvements to fit people’s needs better
As I’ve mentioned before, there are 4 search intent types
Keyword Types Working With Semantic Core
There are 4 intent types of keywords also called “Search intent” that you need to keep an eye on
Informational query type – is a type of query that people ask a search engine system, and expect to see an answer to a given topic, mostly: articles, news, recipes e.t.c
(basically what I’ve shown you above. Do you need an answer to a certain question? For example, “How to…play a football, or “Do I need to wear a hat during the winter?” – these are your informational keywords.
Navigational query type – is a type of keyword that people are looking for to get to a certain website or a webpage, mostly a particular page or a company name
For example, we use the “Amazon” keyword in a search bar, which means that we want to reach an exact website
And here is it, top 1 rated, waiting for us
Or let’s say we are looking for an exact page
For example, I want to buy a Nike shoes not from Nike’s official store, but from the website I know, for example, “Best Buy” company
As you can see the result is on position 1, because I’ve typed the exact brand name “best buy” keyword, and added the category I wanted to find which is “Nike shoes”
And I got a proper navigational-type result for it
Commercial query type – is a type of keyword that people use to find a product or a service.
The majority of these keywords are GEO-dependents, which means the product or service people are looking for, has to be in a certain location, like (country, city, area, or state), because the cost, delivery time, and other conditions depend on these metrics, and they can be more relevant to the user.
For example, let’s say you want to buy a new refrigerator
The first thing we need to pay attention to, is that we can observe a new block with Google Maps, but why is that?
Very logically, because basically if you click on the map, you will see many companies are offering their products in the almost same area where you are located
My location for now: North Bergen Manhattan
And I got results from Google: North Bergen – almost the same location square
This means the “Buy refrigerator” keyword is commercial and GEO-dependent and of course completely relevant to its result, because I wanted to buy it by using the commercial keyword “Buy” and also, without typing a city or any location I got an accurate result based on my current place
So now I am more participative and concerned to buy a new refrigerator because it would be cheaper for me and delivery conditions seem better but wait for a second…
I need to read about it first
and maybe look for a company I was advised by my friend before buying it from the first link
or read reviews on that, because I know nothing about a product, but only the shipping conditions and the price.
Just want to make sure everything is okay, and I don’t lose my money for nothing
I think you’ve got a point about why I describe those little chunks trying to choose the right product because the next type of query is pretty much the same but with a little difference
Transactional type of query – is a type of keyword that people use to buy a certain product or service knowing about it (completing the action) with interaction/or being advised about the product or service in the past
The main difference between transactional and commercial types of queries is that the transactional keyword type brings people that have more interest in the product (they were aware of it in the past).
Which, mostly, causes better conversion rateAn action that's counted when someone interacts with your ad or free product listing (for example, clicks a text ad or views a video ad) and then takes an action that you’ve defined as valuable to your business, such as an online purchase or a call to your business from a mobile phone at the end, because people already know what exactly they want to buy
1. Informational queries – are keywords that people use to find an information such articles, reviews, how to do something and so on so forth
2. Navigational queries – are keywords that people use to find an exact website or webpage
3. Commercial queries – are keywords that people use to find/buy a product or service, preferably at the same location when they are
4. Transactional queries – are keywords that people use to buy a product or a service, read about it in the past, were aware/knowing about the product or service
Additionally: Mixed queries – are keywords that can contain more than 1 query type. Basically, when you see a search result page where you see an articles, products, and even companies all together at the top 10 of your keyword in Google with no explicit predominance of one type of query over the other ones
Now we are going to speak about tailed keywords and their difficulties and why they matter in the semantic core.
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What are Long-Tailed Keywords?
Long-tailed keywords are search queries that can specify an answer about a service/product or any other information by adding clarifying words to existing keywords to show more precise information about a given topic in search engine systems like Google.
For example, the “Lawyer” keyword – is a head, when “Lawyer in Texas” – is a mid-tail, and “Personal injury lawyer in Texas” is a long-tail keyword
Here are 3 keyword tail types:
- Head keywords
- Mid-tail keywords
- Long-tail keywords
Basically, you can define long-tail keywords by yourself, seeing huge keywords you can say what is what.
But analytically, better using SEMrush or any other tool that can show a volume of a given keyword and its difficulty.
Find the keyword’s head, then you’ll be able to find the mid-tail and the long-tail ones, just by comparing their volumes
For example, the “Nike” keyword is having a very high volume
It is definitely a head because it has 1 word only and the volume is too high compared to other keywords related to Nike, and of course, the keyword difficulty has a huge value which is 100%
The other one down the list would be the “Nike air force 1” keyword
We can say that this is a middle-tail keyword, it has less volume and keyword difficulty (KD) Keyword Difficulty (KD) is a metric that tells you how much SEO effort it might take to organically rank a page in the top 10 results on Google for a certain keyword. is lesser as well
Last but not least that long-tail keyword mostly has less volume and keyword difficulty as well
For example, “Nike air force 1 with butterflies” would be a long-tail keyword because it specifies the exact model with the supplement
“Nike” – is a head keyword
“Air Force 1” – is a mid tailed
“With butterflies” – is a long-tailed part, it specifies what exactly a user wants to find
Knowing the fact that long-tail keywords mostly have less KD and volume, you can focus on them first
if you have a new website or can’t boost current high-volume keywords, that truly will give you a chance to optimize long-tailed keywords first, and then move to mid-tale keywords and eventually to head ones
Put it simple
- No traffic, new website, no positions – start with long tails first
- Traffic is okay compared to competitors, a website is old enough, and has a good rank, but not what you wanted – start gathering new long tails for semantic expansion, and don’t forget about mid-tales, it would be a good plant for head keywords for sure anyway. Then try to optimize content for head ones.
Let’s go further getting to know how to collect a semantic core properly based on information for your website to grow its organic traffic and be aware of every single keyword group, that you are working with, and at the end track it!
How to Collect Semantic Core?
First, you need a tool for putting and saving keywords, for example, I use Google Sheets
Then you need a tool that can observe a keyword statistic, like keyword volume, and check for its existence
For example, I use the SEMrush tool to find a keyword I want, and it’s pretty useful to find the keyword type that I need
but anyway, logic is pretty much the same as whatever tool you use, so here are the steps
- Find a head keyword of a given topic
- Then find its synonyms
- Find related keywords
- Work with user questions (FAQs), and extend your landing page as comprehensively as possible
Let’s give it a try
Find a Keyword of a Given Topic
Let’s imagine that I need a semantic core for a Lawyer in Texas state, the lawyer firm selling its lawyer services to clients
What I am going to do is turning my SEMrush and go to Keyword Overview Tool
putting my assumed keyword Lawyer in its search bar, to just take a look at what is going on there
Select a proper location over here
And last but not least, click “Search”
Then go a bit down below, and click to “View All” to observe all given keywords that the tool has
As a result, you will get a bunch of keywords related to the main one and the keyword itself
Let’s try with a first related to us – “lawyer“
Seems to me, that the Lawyer is not a good idea, because if we put it to Google search
We see mostly articles and news content type, which is an informational query type, and this is not for us, because we sell Lawyer services not just talking about them and spreading out news
As you can see, the whole search result page contains mostly articles and news pages, well which is not what we need
And this is exactly one of the most common mistakes when trying to collect a semantic core using the wrong query intent and not changing your page from commercial type to informational type by analyzing competitors first
Well, since we know that we have a local business that sells service, and we know about commercial query type, we might assume that we need to find a keyword with a city at the end, so this would be a certain alert to Google that we are looking for some precise state-wide content, which mostly means not a piece of news or articles but a service.
Let’s try this one – Lawyer in Texas
I click on the “Texas” anchor over here
Getting over 8k keywords and 48k volume seems not bad at all
Now we can collect our most related to business keywords
For example, let’s try these keywords:
1. Lawyer in Texas
2. Texas Lawyer
As you can see, the results are almost the same.
Logically, these keywords are identical, and we don’t need to gather all of them.
When you have finished gathering main keywords using a tool, it is time to look forward and maybe find some synonyms for that
So we can track not just exact strict keywords, but their versions with the same meaning that could help us not to lose any.
Find Synonyms to Your Keywords
Go to Google, type a keyword, and take attention to snippets
What does Google show as a result of a given keyword in things like title and description
And very fast and easily we can find out, that the lawyer keyword is very relevant to the “Attorney” keyword, which is pretty much the same
Checking that out to make sure
As we can see, the lawyer and attorney keywords are perfectly matched and are relevant to each other.
When we found a synonym, do the same steps as we did with a “lawyer” before
When you do that, we will be able to track more keywords, which eventually is good for reporting website performance in organics, isn’t that good?
But hold on a second, is there any way to make a page look more comprehensive and competitive to get more traffic to it?
But what do I need to do?
Here is a good free tool right inside the Google search result page
Find Related Keywords
Related keywords can help you to extend the semantic core
Extending a semantic core is a very useful thing to do
That allows you to rank pages in search engine systems not just by main topic keywords but for their related ones, eventually, you get more Impressions How often someone saw a link to your site on Google. Depending on the result type, the link might need to be scrolled or expanded into viewand Clicks because audience coverage becomes much bigger
Related Searches Tool
Helps to identify related topics close to a given keyword, which can be useful for further awareness and understanding the topic more comprehensively
You can find this tool at the bottom of the result page in Google when typing any keyword
You can use these suggested keywords to add new pages as additional content related to the main topic and get traffic from it.
For example, you can add “Top 10 lawyers in Texas” as a separate page, and get traffic from it
By the way, it would be easier to get a higher rank here, because those keywords above are less competitive than the “Lawyer in Texas” keyword cluster
As a practice shows, less keyword volume means less keyword competition which is easier to optimize
Now we know where to find relative topics for free right from Google search, let’s find out how to get questions in terms of getting additional helpful content for people
People Also Ask Tool
People also ask for block – which helps to find related questions to a given keyword, you can collect those for creating FAQ blocks on the page, or just include them in the structure, which eventually will make the content more complete and helpful for people, which causes more organic traffic
You can find this tool when you type a keyword on the Google page result, and use these keywords to include it in your website content in addition to the topic
Back to our Lawyer example, you can include these questions in the FAQ block on the Lawyer page and even appear on rich results in Google
These are very handy free tools that you can use at any time to collect more keywords for your website.
I am a big fan of collecting questions and answers on pages
One more tool for collecting questions that will save your life during semantics
Using this tool you will probably be very happy because it shows all questions that people are looking for during their googling session by the certain keywords
And it goes further because you can literally find keywords for most countries and in the diverse amount of languages
What to do:
- Enter your keyword
- Choose the right location
- And select the preferred language
Here are your questions that people might be interested in
You can switch to a graph if you feel more comfortably
With these keywords, you can build up your webpage structure and make the webpage look competitive and complete
Notice. On the free plan there are only 3 searches available from your IP address once a day, if you need more, you need to upgrade to PRO
Or if you have a Semrush subscription plan, you can do the same in Topic Research Tool
1. Find main keyword related to the page
2. Find its synonyms
3. Extend a topic, suggest something more to people, something comprehensive, by using external tools to find new keyword or use inside google tools completely free
4. Group up obtained result (cluster it) by using special tools or use just a free one, for example google keyword planner
When you’re done, now it’s time to group up all keywords by groups also called clusters, so eventually you’ll be able to properly arrange keywords, and create new pages based on what’s happening in Google search
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Keyword clustering is a process of allocating keywords by groups, also called “clusters”, that helps you to understand what keywords are good to place on a certain page and what keywords to place on other pages.
Because all keywords belong to a certain group.
Basically what people are expecting to see is not just divided by keyword types (informational, commercial e.t.c), but for keyword substance, like what exactly people are expecting to see, something specific
For example, imagine being a supervisor at a groceries shop, and your task is to categorize all products by their shelves.
So, eventually, you need to see milk products near milk products
And the cookie products are near to cookies because it is the same group of grocery. You can’t just locate milk products along with alcohol ones.
See the wrong categorization over here? The same can happen with your keywords and clustering.
Because it is not how it works, you probably will confuse your clients during groceries
The keyword clustering process is pretty much the same, but instead of allocating groceries, you allocate keywords to its groups.
So both, you and the search system will be aware of what exactly is allocated on the page and what keywords are responsible for that.
You don’t confuse any, during optimization
Let’s have a real example
You need to collect a semantic core for a Nike shoes page, the store is located in New York and shipping conditions are only within the New York city
Basically, you’ve followed the previous steps, and now you have a bunch of keywords that you need to group up
Imagine having these keywords you’ve collected
|Nike shoes buy
|Nike shoes in Texas buy
|Nike t-shirt buy
|Nike t-shirt buy in Texas
So which of them should I use to properly optimize and eventually track my page for effectiveness?
Logically, you understand that the “Nike shoes” keyword is perfectly matched with a Nike shoes group, and you can add a town or a state let’s say “New York”, and it will be okay, just a question of scale
But if you have not 10 keywords but a hundred or a thousand
Seems a bit confusing, because you need to check out, each keyword, by typing in google search manually
How will you know what pages to create and maybe there any others you can add and optimize additionally to get more and to lose it instead
From my experience, if you’re adding keywords that don’t match the current search intent, you will be basically trying to rank them not knowing that the house foundation is wrong at the beginning
This is where clustering tools are very to come in handy, saving a lot of time and helping to identify what is right and what is wrong, building up a quality and sustainable “house foundation” at the beginning.
One of them is the Keyword planner – basically grouping up keywords feature is already included, don’t need to do anything, but the precision is less, and you can’t configure it how you want it. And sure thing you need a registered account first with payment details moderated by Google, which takes time.
Or you can use any other web tools that you want to use, I will not describe it all here, I will just show you a logic
- Find a tool (for example, site-analyzer)
- Import collected keywords inside the tool
- Configure data collection inside the tool (basically they all have the same configuration, like what search engine system checks, what top-number depth and e.t.c you can read all of that on the page of the selected tool)
- When you have configured a tool and run a process, wait until a tool will generate all information
- Export obtained data
Eventually, you will see a group name and its related keywords that you can use, like these
|Nike shoes buy
|Nike shoes buy
|Nike shoes buy
|Nike shoes buy
|Nike shoes in Texas buy
|Nike shoes in Texas
|Nike t-shirt buy
|Nike t-shirt buy in Texas
|Nike T-shirt in Texas
The group column name means landing page that you need to create as a separate one,
Nike shoes group – a commercial landing page selling shoes
Nike stock group – an informational landing page about a Nike stock
Nike news group – an information landing page about Nike news
The keyword – what exact keywords are perfectly matching this landing page
Now this is your semantic core grouped up by clusters, and you can definitely know what pages should be created and what pages to create separation to match the intent of a given keyword and get organic traffic from it
Not doing that means that you could be losing your potential traffic, setting up the wrong content (plus money, plus time e.t.c), and waiting in the hope that these keywords would be ranking well in Google
Tools to Collect Semantic Core
We will take a look at 2 types of tools that I use to collect a semantic core
- Free to use
- Flexible (you can choose country, city, area, change date and language)
- Keyword ideas included, help you get an extended semantic core easily
- Automatically grouping keywords and separates them by clusters
- Contains export feature (CSV, Google Sheets)
- Need a Google AdSense account with a billing information filled up, takes time.
- Search volume isn’t accurate, and performed as an average volume in range
- Free tool
- You can select whatever country you want
- You can also get keywords for Bing, Youtube and Amazon
- You can also see related questions to a given keyword
- Shows keyword difficulty
- Only top 100 keywords are available to see
- Only top 10 keywords are available to track by its volume and keyword difficulty
- Only 2 metrics are available to track on free plan
I personally use Ahrefs standard plan for collecting a semantic core, it has all basic metrics like volume and no keyword limits.
- Very flexible tool, you can basically calculate anything and find whatever keyword form you want
- Aside from Google keyword research feature, you get at least Youtube, Amazon, Bing and 5+ big sources to analyze
- Useful tools to collect extended semantic core all in 1 place
- Keyword traffic potential, you can export a useful report for your customers to show pre-predicted analytics, so you don’t to waste your time
- Convenient interface, allows you to interact with many other features easily in 1–2 clicks
- The only one is – cost. Basic plan starts with $99 up to $999 for enterprise
Compared with other tools like Serpstat the cost is 2 times higher. But It all depends on what you need,
based on my experience Serpstat tool is good for SEO individuals while Semrush is more often used by SEO agencies working with many projects and time with faster speed and a more useful interface
Another useful tool that I worked with is Serpstat
Pretty much the same, but on my opinion the interface is less convenient than SEMrush has
- Price-to-quality ratio is perfect
- Free trial with no pay, support team gives you access to its tool for 3 days
- Everything to collect a good semantic core is available in
- The interface is slow and sluggish
And yeah, they are sometimes a bit racists
So if you are living outside the US or in English-spoken countries, you better not pay a yearly subscription, because you can stubble with something like this
Okay so now
When we finished our semantic core, collected it, and grouped it up, now it is time to track it for analyzing how search result evaluates your keywords assigning a rank, and make sure that you are going in the right direction
- Find 1-5 basic keywords of a given topic
- Find its synonyms
- Find related-to-topic keywords, to extend basic semantic core using build-in-google or external tools
- Don’t forget to cluster all keywords you received, it will help you to navigate through many different topics and eventually become a leading star in content creation
- Use tools for collecting and clustering semantic core, will save your time many times over
- Do not forget about the main point of semantics, is that semantic core is actually a handy tool, that helps business to growth via more audience coverage, and in order to know what exactly to cover you need these keywords first.
How Do I Track Semantic Core Results And Why?
Tracking results is a very common and useful technique that helps your business and website understand what keywords you have at the near top and what keywords aren’t there and even not in Google, so you can work with it, making sure that you are ranking high enough for them.
Eventually, you will understand what exact pages aren’t ranking well enough to get organic traffic from them, and what pages are the top ones, so you can be proud of yourself and just keep watching it
For example, when your keywords are in the tracking system, you can see what positions are they in exactly and compare it with previous dates for strong and useful reports. So you see the result of your work.
For tracking ranking results in search engine systems like Google, people are using tools that save a lot of time and could be visualized in 2 clicks, for example, if you need to perform a results report for a month/year and even an exact day
Instead of doing it manually, typing every single keyword in the search bar, we use these tools
Tools to Track Keyword Ranks
What I have used for a long time
You can take a look yourself at what is the best for you, but I recommend you to use Seranking because it is faster, more modern, and more convenient
Unless you don’t need to track keywords for the Yandex search engine, because it is not available on this service anymore since 2022
The logic of any tool is the same
After you have collected your semantic core, all you need to do is to export your keywords to a tool to track it
Steps to do that
- Export your keywords (google sheets, excel, whatever you want)
- Import your keywords inside the tracking tool
- Set up a tool configuration (based on what you need, what time to update your keywords, search engine system, country e.t.c)
I have these keywords to put inside the tool to eventually track it
|Lawyer in texas
|Lawyer near me
|Top 10 lawyers
Open up the Seranking tool
Click Create My Project
Filling up credentials for a new website
Adding keywords that I have (don’t forget to attach every keyword to its relevant folder(group), so you can track it easily)
Chose search engine that you want to track results on
Don’t forget about language and location
Then, add your competitors to compare your website positioning and competitors in the future
Click continue and then finish
And that’s it
Now you can track keywords easily!
Avoiding Common Mistakes During Semantic Works. Pitfalls
I’ve prepared a list of common, widespread mistakes that people do during the work with a semantic core collection
By the end of it, you’ll get a high chance not to get caught in these nets
- It is not necessary to collect all the keywords with the same meaning for 1 page, for example, if you are trying to collect semantics for the bitcoin price page, it is enough to collect 2–5 keywords, no need to collect a hundred of them with the same logical meaning
- Focus on the keyword clustering step. Very important, because if you lose your way, you will probably lose a lot of time and money trying to understand why your content is not ranking for given keywords, hiring new specialists, or wasting time on that. It is better to lay a good foundation, then fix all mistakes when your content is already working and ranking
- Don’t collect keywords for non-existing pages. For example, if your website is selling electric kettles only, but somehow in your semantic core you are seeing keywords like electronic devices – get rid of it, it ruins statistics during keyword top analysis.
- Don’t ignore long-tail keywords, they might be with a less volume, but it’s easier to optimize them, especially if your website is new
- Prioritize gathered keywords and their optimization. First focus on what the business needs, then additionally generate content for other ones sticking to the plan
- Coordinate collected keywords with a client first. It would be a waste of time thing if you gathered a thousand keywords, and the client did not agree because a business is not engaged in a particular service or sale. Instead gather markers for these keywords, pick 1 keyword for each group and show it to a client, then you will gather extra when its
These 6 pitfalls will help save your time during the gathering semantics process
Here is a step-by-step thesis to reinforce the material about semantics in SEO
Find head keyword
Extend it by adding more keywords, make your semantic core look comprehensive
Cluster it and define what pages to create and land your keywords to
Track it by adding your keyword group to the tracking tool
Make sure you don’t make the typical mistakes during semantic work
I hope you have enjoyed this article, and now ready to go to and do your own work with semantics
Also, you can share this material with other people, to help to spread a message and back again here to re-check yourself in case you missed something, or you can leave a comment below in a comment section if you have some thoughts.
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