Search engines use a kind of fuzzy logic to connect words together according to their meaning. Computers recognise words that tend to be associated with one another, and in what context this occurs. Information is then built up in order to help search engines work out and remember which words and phrases are related. Once these semantic relationships are learned, search engines can see that different pages on the web are connected, because they contain words or phrases which are generally seen together.
Semantics can be confusing for human brains as well as computers, with web content that contains ambiguities being particular exasperating. It pays to choose words carefully, especially for parts of a site concerned with navigation. It has been known for web users to flounder while using a website about camping, when confronted with a link title with the wording ‘site map’. Does the link text refer to a map of the website or a map of the camp site on that page? Not knowing can be off-putting, shaking a visitor’s confidence that the company behind the website knows what it is doing.
In another example, on a website with articles about bicycle repair, when readers see a dropdown menu with ‘select region’ at the top, they might be forgiven for wondering why the area they live in makes a difference, only to find the regions mentioned are actually different parts of a bike. Most UK copywriters can avoid these potential pitfalls which affect the usability of a website, and subsequently have a negative impact on SEO.