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Semantic Search vs Keyword Search: Which is Better?

Published in Apr 02, 2024

9 min read

Semantic Search
Keyword Search

Nowadays, people turn to the internet to find answers, but the method being used to search answers can make a big difference. Fortunately, search technology has developed both simple keyword searches and advanced semantic searches.

Keyword search matches exact words in queries with content but often misses the search's context or user intent. On the other hand, semantic search focuses on the query's context using natural language processing and machine learning.

The question here is, should your business rely on traditional keyword search that zeroes in on the exact words users enter, or shift towards semantic search that comprehends into the intent behind every queries?

In this article, we'll compare these two approaches and show how they provide more accurate and relevant results, making it easier for businesses to provide their customers what they want.

Keyword search looks for exact matches of search terms and focuses on how often and where these terms appear. It's simple and effective if you know the right terms to use, but it can be challenging to grasp the context or intent of a search, sometimes leading to irrelevant results.


  • Quick and easy to use.
  • Works well with exact search terms.
  • Simple to set up and maintain.


  • Needs help understanding context or synonyms.
  • Doesn't learn from past search history.
  • Can miss relevant results if exact words aren't used.
  • May return irrelevant information.


Meanwhile, semantic search refers to the process of how search engines recognize the meaning and context of a search query. It uses techniques to recognize synonyms and related concepts and aims to find relevant content even without exact term matches.


  • Understands the meaning behind queries.
  • Finds related information without exact terms.
  • Looks at the user's search history.
  • Searches feel more natural.


  • More complex and costly to implement.
  • Can sometimes misinterpret intent.
  • May produce unexpected results.

Businesses looking to integrate search into their platforms should choose between semantic and keyword search depending on their website's content, audience, and goals.

Keyword search is ideal if your business deals with highly specialized content where users will likely know and use specific terms. It works well for catalogs, product databases, and technical repositories.

Semantic search suits businesses with a broad range of content or if you aim to provide a more intuitive search experience. It's beneficial for e-commerce sites, customer service portals, and content-rich platforms where users might express queries in natural language.

Now that we have compared keyword and semantic search and their impact on businesses, it's clear that the choice can notably influence your platform's effectiveness. Now, it's time to decide: Should you switch to semantic search?

Switching to a search option that's more intuitive and user-friendly, and that can understand natural language queries, might be a smart strategy for your business.

Here are the advantages of semantic search:

Advanced Context Understanding

Semantic search deeply analyzes the context in which words are used in a query. It doesn't just look at the words themselves but also considers their meaning about each other.

This makes sure the search results really fit what the user wants, even if their search terms are not specific.

Intent Recognition

Through AI and NLP, semantic search identifies the user's intent behind a query. Whether the user is looking for an explanation, multiple documents, or a list of products, this semantic search model can differentiate these needs.

People receive search results tailored to the query's words and its purpose, which can significantly improve user satisfaction.

Continuous Learning

Machine learning algorithms allow semantic search to learn from each search interaction. It figures out how people search and what results they like best. This makes the results more accurate and tailored to what users prefer over time.

Synonym Handling

Unlike keyword search, semantic search can understand synonyms and semantically related keywords with its NLP algorithms.

How Does Semantic Search Impact SEO?

With the rise of smartphones and smart speakers, more people are using voice commands for their search queries. Voice search is on the rise, with 62% of adults in the U.S. using voice assistants and 35% having a smart speaker at home.

Therefore, websites need to focus on content that sounds natural and optimize for those conversational keywords and phrases.

Here's how businesses can adapt voice search to their websites:

  • Optimize for long-tail keywords and natural-sounding phrases that match spoken questions.
  • Create content that answers common questions, using FAQs and incorporating Q&A formats.
  • Ensure content is informative and matches the user's search intent for better relevance.
  • Implement schema markup for clearer context and content understanding by search engines.

Prioritizing Search Intent

Semantic search focuses more on why people search than what they type into the search bar. This makes SEO strategies concentrate on understanding the searcher's real intentions.

There are four types of search intent:

Informational Intent

The searcher is looking for information or answers to questions, with queries often starting with "how," "what," "why," or "when."

Example: "what is a chatbot" or "what is SEO."

The searcher is looking for a specific website or page. They already have a destination and use the search engine to get there quickly.

Example: "Denser login" or "ChatGPT customer service."

Transactional Intent

This type of search is made by someone ready to buy a product or service. They might be looking for the best deal for a specific retailer.

Example: "buy Premium plan ChatGPT" or " subscription cost"

Commercial Investigation

The searcher is considering a purchase and wants to compare options or find reviews. They're still deciding whether to buy but are gathering information to make that decision.

Example: "best AI chatbot 2024" or "ChatGPT vs JasperAI."

Getting familiar with these search intents helps create content and SEO plans that match what people seek.

Implementing semantic search comes with its set of challenges:

  • Needs advanced AI to understand search queries.
  • Requires powerful computers and can be costly.
  • Must continuously learn and adapt to new data and trends.
  • Involves navigating data privacy laws and securing user data.
  • Must quickly adjust to language and search behavior changes.
  • The setup and upkeep of semantic search can be expensive.

Despite these, the benefits like better accuracy and user experience are worth it, and tools like help simplify and reduce costs.

Setting up Semantic Search Into Your Website

Step 1: Sign Up with


Sign up for and start with a free account.

Step 2: Create Your Chatbot


Start creating a chatbot. This chatbot can interact with your own data or knowledge base. It's designed to communicate using the specific information you feed it.

Step 3: Choose 'Web'


Select 'Web' as your target platform to ensure your chatbot is optimized for web integration.

Step 4: Site Crawling


After setting up, will begin crawling your site. This process is quick, taking only a few minutes to gather the necessary data to power your semantic search.

Step 5: Integrate with Your Website

Once your Denser Bot is ready and tested, integrate it into your website or app. A short snippet of code is all it takes to get your Denser Bot live.

Follow this full integration guide.

Expand Your Website's Search Capabilities

Traditional keyword-based search gives users results that match the words but might not be what they want. Users may waste time going through information that's not very relevant.

Improve your business website's search experience with's advanced chatbot. This tool transforms standard searches into engaging, conversational interactions. It's like adding a knowledgeable assistant to your site, ready to guide your visitors through their search queries as naturally as speaking to someone.

Start Bringing AI into Search with

Upgrade to a smarter, more interactive search solution and set a new standard for customer interaction on your site. significantly improves over traditional keyword search by handling search queries more smartly.


Try out a free trial or schedule a demo now.


Semantic search outperforms keyword search by understanding the meaning behind every user’s search, not just the words. If you want to improve your online presence, using a great semantic search engine is a smart choice. uses this advantage by understanding users' queries. It considers the overall context and what the customer tries to find and ensures semantic search results match the search intent.

Because semantic search considers the searcher's intent, it can often compensate for misspellings and still deliver accurate results.

Vector search helps this process by using math to compare the similarity between queries and potential results. While semantic search understands the contextual meaning behind words and context, lexical search (exact match search) only looks for the exact phrase or specific keywords.

Will semantic search replace keyword search entirely?

While semantic search is getting more popular, keyword search is still useful, especially in specialized areas. However, the trend is toward integrating semantic capabilities.

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