Over the years, modern SEO has evolved for the better and there is a lot of different advanced practices followed to ensure a better SEO result. One such thing to consider is the semantic distance along with term relationships. This is one of the most significant aspects that will ensure a better on-page optimization.

Semantic distance typically refers to the term relationships between the different words and phrases that you use in the text. However, this differs from the physical distance between the phrases. It also focuses on the ways in which the terms connect within the different other aspects of the text such as:

Have you ever wondered how the search engines deduce that the term “Labrador” refers to a specific type of dog breed when the two words ‘Labrador’ and ‘dog breeds’ may be far apart and not in the same sentence? This is what semantic distance and term relationship is all about. 

  • It is the search engine algorithm that resolves this problem! It measures the distance between the two different words and phrases that may be even within two different HTML elements. 
  • It then determines which is closer to the concept and are more semantically related. The closer the distance, closer will be its relation with reference to the context.

That means that the phrases that are located in the same paragraph are considered to be closer semantically as compared to the phrases that are typically separated by many blocks of the text.

Shortening and explaining the semantic distance 

If you sue HTML elements just like Tayloright SEO it may shorten the semantic distance between the concepts. It will ideally pull them closer together. For example, 

  • The list items can be considered at equal distance to one another and
  • The title of the document may be considered to be close to all other terms in the document.



At this juncture you should also know about the schema markup. This is an ideal element that will provide a better way to structure the portions of your text more semantically just in the right manner so as to define and explain the relationship more explicitly. 

The most significant advantage that schema offers is that it leaves nothing to guesswork for the search engines. Each and every relationship is clearly defined. However, there is one significant challenge that the webmasters may face and need to overcome which is to employ a special markup. 

Till date there are a lot of studies conducted on it that shows show low adoption but there is clear indication that this concept will be rightly and extensively used for the purpose of ensuring a better on-page optimization.

The phrase-based indexing

Now that you know about the concept of semantic distance and presumably have an extensive knowledge about the need and ways to use the keywords properly and more strategically, it is now time to look beyond the individual keywords and phrases as well as the relationships between them. 

  • The search engines also employ specific techniques to rank pages by indexing each of the pages. This is done on the basis of complete phrases. 
  • In addition to that the search engines rank the pages based on the relevance of those phrases.

This process is called the phrase-based indexing which is an interesting process as you may find out shortly. The most interesting thing about this process is how Google uses these phrases to rank the pages based on the relevance of it. Ideally, Google does not rank these pages on the basis of the important phrases for a webpage but on its relevance to the context.

The concept of co-occurrence

While using the concept of co-occurrence, the search engines is able to know that there may be a few phrases in the text that may tend to predict or relate with other phrases in it. It all depends on the phrase or words your main topic targets. For example, the phrase ‘John Oliver’ will ideally co-occur with several other phrases such as:

  • ‘Late night comedian’
  • ‘Daily Show’ and 
  • ‘HBO.’

Any page that tends to contain any of these related terms will be more likely to talk about ‘John Oliver’ rather than a page that does not contain any of these related terms.

When you add incoming links to this from those pages that have a relation to these phrases or the co-occurring phrases, you will automatically provide your page with a more powerful and contextual signal.

Entity Salience

If you look at the future of SEO you will see that the search engines are now exploring better and newer ways to use relationships between different entities and not just simple keywords in order to determine the relevance to the topic. Google research paper published a description of one such technique of assigning relevance through an entity salience.

  • Entity salience is something that goes beyond the conventional keyword techniques such as the TF-IDF. This helps in finding the relevant terms in a text document by leveraging the known relationships between two or different entities. 
  • These entities can be anything in the text document but it has to be distinct and well defined. The stronger is the entity relationship to the other entities on the same page, the more significant will that entity becomes.

On the other hand, a phrase may appear for multiple times and these phrases will be weaker in establishing entity relationships and it is highly likely that it will not be as significant as it is expected. 

Cautions to create content

When you craft your content, you must answer as many questions as possible. Ideally, good content will answer different questions and will be more semantically relevant to these. This will ensure that the search engine will find all the elements of a top-ranking site in yours while its search and find that your content answers to all the questions in the best possible way.

Therefore, do not ignore term relevance and semantic distance when you create your content for better SEO results.