There is an ongoing debate as to how satisfied with their results search engine users actually are these days. One remedy to the dissatisfaction may be semantic searching. But to understand what a semantic search consists of and when it is used, one first needs to understand the basics of a common search, such as Yahoo!.
How common searchtechnology works
The way it works is, when a user types in a keyword the search engine sorts through hundreds of thousands of web pages containing that keyword and spits them back at the user in what it determines to be a reasonable order of relevancy. This relevancy is based on the number of times the keyword appears on the page, and also how statistically popular the page is. Of course, with more than one keyword, the process is narrowed down, but the user is still gambling that the computer understands the meaning of the word or phrase and can find exactly what they are looking for in its vast sea of search results.
How semantic searching works
In a nutshell, semantic searching is looking to cut down on all the speculation to give search engine users exactly what they are looking for, without having to browse through pages and pages of results. This means using, not the statistics of a word, but the actual meaning. Currently a program is in the works to make search engines able to read a phrase and understand the intent as a whole, not as individual keywords strung together.