Ontology, defined, is the formal representation of a set of concepts within a domain and the relationships between those concepts. In the search space, ontology is used by the search engines to draw relationships between websites, establish link neighborhoods, and establish content relevancy on-page.
Understanding keyword ontology is vital for every operator in the SEO profession. Sometimes, they do it without ever knowing they’re doing it, as creating relevant, similar content is something that happens naturally throughout the internet. In some places, however, content breaks off this divide and hurts SEO for a given website. Other people perform ontological operations, but don’t fully flesh out its capability to maximize several areas of their search campaign.
GoRank has a good SEO Ontology Tool to get you started. Insert any word and they will pop out other synonyms for you to use in your campaign. Ontology is something you can also notice on Google’s Keyword Adword Tool, although it isn’t explicitly referred to by name.
There is an explicit difference between Keyword Research and Ontology Research. Keywords that are relevant to your website and keywords that have ontological relevance are occasionally different, and should be noted as such. The search engines will not always draw the keyword connection that you do. If Google sees a connection in its Adword tool, however, there’s a good chance that they do.
Understanding this, there are a few tips you can implement to strengthen your SEO campaigns:
Keep ontology in mind when creating content. Whether on-page or off, drawing ontological relevance when generating content will show that your website is relevant for whatever you have it optimized for, or are linking out to. By keeping a lot of these similar words in the content, you maximize the likelihood that your page is “perfectly optimized” for your targeted keywords.
Use it for keyword research. Ontology Tools are a good starting point for keyword research, and will help you spark some ideas for additional keywords you can rank or build out content for. Leveraging ontology in your information architecture will also maximize your on-page relevancy.
Diversify anchor text naturally. The search engine’s increased leans on ontology to power their search results means that you can use ontological relativity to diversify your anchor text and still garner benefit in the SERPs. Do your research in various areas, the most prominent of which being the SERPs, to identify words Google clearly sees as a synonym for your term.
Even if a word isn’t a direct indicator for your targeted keyword, diversifying your anchor text to use these natural, connected words can only improve your link profile.
Find link acquisition targets. You can use ontology to locate additional search queries to find good websites to get links from. You can also use search platforms like Google’s Blogsearch to find blogs that talk about your given target. You can either directly ask for a link or scheme a way to guest post on the blog. Either way can be extremely beneficial to your campaign given the extra ontological significance.
Ontology should be looked at as a sub-section of keyword research. Understanding how the search engines interpret your keyword set will be important for maximizing your ranking potential. Leveraging every resource you have to uncover these connections will ensure that every path and methodology you have has been fleshed out.