is one of the key elements of a successful online marketing strategy to attract more visitors, increase the traffic, boost user engagement, get more leads etc. A good SEO strategy includes optimum use of the keywords, optimization for RankBrain, In-depth content, embedded videos, optimization for voice searches, effective backlinks etc. Therefore, SEO experts have to be smarter than ever.
In this article, we will cover most of the actionable SEO techniques which are impacting traffic:
RankBrain And User Experience
Google RankBrain is in the news since its inception. Last year Google revealed that RankBrain, Google’s machine-learning artificial intelligence system was their 3rd most important ranking factor. RankBrain is regarded as one of the top SEO techniques of 2018, especially with voice search exploding in the digital marketing landscape.
What is RankBrain?
In simple words, RankBrain measures how users interact with the search results. Being an artificial intelligence system, it helps Google quickly process some of its search results, including the most unique queries. The main functionality of RankBrain is that it filters the queries which Google processes. A considerable percentage of Google searches are managed by RankBrain now. Recently, Google started using RankBrain to rank web pages also, and the implementation has turned out to be quite fruitful.
RankBrain Google is similar to an AI-powered program that uses algorithms and high-level knowledge of language semantics to understand how and why people search. The conclusions are applied to future search results. It also tweaks the algorithm on its own. RankBrain keeps track of the user interactions and moves some searches up in the rankings based on the user interaction data.
Source: Shared by one of Google’s engineers to explain RankBrain
As per the slide, RankBrain sometimes ranks pages higher than they actually should be.
How will RankBrain impact SERP (search engine result pages)?
RankBrain is a search query refinement tool and amongst Google Top ranking factors. It shows up the best results as per the keywords used by every searcher. Here’s how RankBrain can impact SERP:
If RankBrain sees a person searching for “best coffee outlets in Texas,” it may determine that “best coffee in Texas ” is a commonly-searched item, and it can start showing the search results related to that.
Therefore, everything that RankBrain understands how people search may impact the order of the results, which eventually impacts the rankings.
RankBrain majorly focuses on two things ‘dwell time’ and ‘click-through rate’.
What is Dwell Time?
Dwell time starts when a person clicks on a Google search and gets to a certain page or post. It ends when the person returns to Google. The higher the dwell time, the more chances that post has to move up the search engine rankings.
RankBrain measures the Dwell Time, and it also shuffles the results. There is a noteworthy correlation between low bounce rates and greater search engine rankings. Therefore, if you want to move up the ladder of search engine rankings, you’ve to prepare dedicated plans to increase dwell time and reduce the bounce rates.
Average Dwell Time for a top 10 Google result is 3 minutes and 10 seconds. – By ahref
What is Click Through Rate (CTR)?
Click Through Rate(CTR) measures the number of times a post is clicked against the number of times it’s viewed. It is a performance metrics depicted in the form of a percentage. You can meet all your Click Through Rate targets if you appear in the first 3 search results. Click through rates on Google can be seen via the Google search console which is present in Google Analytics.
Organic CTR is regarded as the main RankBrain ranking signal. Therefore, make sure your posts are curated perfectly to get more click. The titles should be persuasive, make good use of the numbers, use power words in the title tags, and use other techniques to make sure your posts are clicked. Also, try using brackets and parentheses as in a survey, titles with brackets outclassed titles without brackets by 33%. Also, if a page has an average CTR, page generally gets a ranking boost.
Make sure that both your CTRs and Dwell times are improved. If they are good, then even RankBrain may not be able to negatively impact your ranking.
Become an SEO Jedi
Now, that RankBrain is used increasingly, you may have to very soon become an SEO Jedi.
How to become an SEO Jedi?
Keep an eye on your CTR, Dwell Time and Bounce Rate
In the past 12 months, organic CTR has dropped to almost 39%. Therefore, it is very important to make sure that the organic CTRs are high. As higher CTR and Dwell Time sends a very strong message to Google. This indicates that your webpage contains everything that the searchers are looking for, therefore, your page should be ranked higher. Also, higher bounce rates can negatively impact the ranking. Google is crowding out the organic search results with answer boxes, ads, carousels etc. As a result, your posts and pages have to be extremely persuasive and optimized to get the click. Also, the UX (user experience) has to be impeccable as well.
Click Magnet Method is the king
Click Magnet method helps you quickly get more traffic to the website. This method is centered on the norm that ranking on Google is impacted by clicks in the SERP. Click Magnet Method is a simple process. You can easily implement it to attract more traffic to your site by increasing the click-through rate percentage.
Implement the Click Magnet Method with 3 steps:
Find Google AdWords Ads: Find the keywords that you would want to use, and have a look at their ads. Write down the most commonly used terms and phrases.
Include the commonly used terms in your SEO Title and Meta Description: The second step is to simply include all the recurring terms in your titles and Meta descriptions.
Get the clicks: If you’ve done your research work of finding the most recurring words, and have also included them in your titles and Meta descriptions than you’ll definitely start getting more clicks.
Comprehensive in-depth content wins
In-depth content is not only good for SEO but the overall performance of the website as well, which includes reader engagement. As only lengthy and informative content has the potential to solve readers’ problem. Also, search engine loves in-depth content. Google is very smart, and they want the websites to focus on the context of writing.
In Search Engine Results Pages, top result pages cover the entire topic in-depth.
Google is constantly getting better at understanding what a searcher is looking for. This evolved understanding is making it easy to identify what content satisfies a searcher. In order to attract organic traffic, it’s becoming more and more important for the websites to write in-depth content. As we know, Google is on a journey to become a ‘knowledge engine’.
Providing detailed information to the customers is always a good idea. It is even going to help the marketers. Lengthy and informative content will not only take you higher up the search engine rankings, but will also help the visitors get complete information about your product, services, or company.
To make sure that your informative content works, make sure you include meta descriptions which accurately exhibit the unique value of your content. Also, write catchy yet definitive titles.
How to write comprehensive in-depth content?
To write attractive, informative and useful long content, it is important to do a thorough research of the topic first. After that, break the main topic into various segments, so that it is easy to explain each and every part of the content piece. Needless to say, it is utmost important to add relevant keywords to the in-depth content.
Add LSI Keywords to your content
LSI (Latent semantic indexing) Keywords are semantically linked to the main keyword. LSI which is used to find relevant keywords associated with the main keyword is a system which the search engines use. LSI keywords should be integrated into the in-depth content to make the content more understandable by the search engines. It is a proven way to boost organic traffic.
Example of LSI keywords
When you search the term ‘best restaurants in California’ on Google, automatically, you will be able to see auto fill words which are linked to this main keyword. Several keywords in the description content of web pages will be highlighted. All these LSI keywords are recognized by Google’s algorithm and are related to the original search phrase.
Use a tool ‘LSI keyword generator’
Now that you know the importance of LSI keywords, the next step is to find a way to know the best LSI keywords for your in-depth content. With the help of ‘LSI keyword generator,’ you can easily gather all the relevant keywords for your content.
Listed below are some of the best LSI keyword generators:
Twinword Ideas LSI Graph
Twinword SEO Plugin
Ultimate Keyword Hunter
Answer The Public
Google keyword planner to get LSI keyword ideas
A popular Google product, Google keyword planner is used to get traffic estimation of the main Keywords. It also helps to know more keywords which are related to the main keywords. So, in a way, this planner helps us to gather the LSI keywords related to the targeted keyword.
The best part about using Google keyword planner is that you don’t need to spend any money. Just create a free Google Adwords account, create an Adwords tool, and start searching for the relevant LSI keywords. It’s that simple!
Google giving importance to mobile first Index
Google is planning to use your site’s mobile version to rank it on the search engine and for indexing. This implies, that now, you have to make sure your site is fit for mobile searches. Your website’s design and content have to be optimized for a smartphone to rank high both on mobile and desktop. Therefore, make sure your site is responsive and is designed perfectly for a mobile user.
As per the recent reports, more than half of the Google searches are done through a smartphone. This is because of the exponential growth of the use of mobile phones. stats clearly indicates the need for an optimized and responsive mobile version of every website. With Google’s move to roll out the Mobile first index, it’s becoming all the more important for the brands to optimize their mobile sites if they want to rank higher on the search engines. As it is, the searches are more done on the mobile, so, at the end of the day, it will only benefit the company if they make their website mobile friendly.
Steps to prepare for Google’s mobile-first index:
Display 100% of content which is present on your website’s desktop version to mobile visitors as well.
Make sure that your website is responsive.
Focus predominantly on the User experience of the mobile version of your website.
The visitors will not wait to hit the back button if they don’t find it easy to navigate through your website. And, as we know that RankBrain measures the ‘Dwell Time’, therefore make sure that your website is flawless.
On a constant basis, analyze the mobile usability report in Google search console
Why go for video content?
According to CISCO, 80% of all online traffic by 2021 will be through video content. This is because 43% of people want to see more video content. As companies are realizing the importance of video content, therefore, they are trying their best to curate and offer optimized video content to their audience.
How can video content improve your SEO?
YouTube is already the world’s second largest search engine
YouTube videos posted by a brand build rapport with the viewers and the YouTube viewers can be converted into website visitors.
Videos can be optimized around specific keywords.
Google has started prioritizing videos. Therefore, 55% of all Google Search results on a page are videos. This means that more than half of the search results contain at least one embedded video.
Google is gradually presenting the YouTube results into Google image search as well. So, if your video is optimized properly, it may show up in the images section also.
Embedded video content
into text-based blog posts
Growing video content in the blog posts is helping the websites move up the search engine ranks. Adding videos to the blogs not only make the videos all the more lively but they also enhance the appeal of the blogs. Also, now that SEO experts have realized the importance of video content, they are finding newer ways to add them to the web pages, and what’s better than embedding videos in blogs.
Some of the blog posting platforms like WordPress enable the companies to find the embed code for the video from video hosting platforms like YouTube. The WordPress user just has to post the link in the editor to embed the video. Also, blogs which contain embedded videos generate more inbound links.
Voice search to influence the search results
Voice searches are increasing rapidly, especially after the high adoption of AI. Therefore, SEO experts should make full use of this impactful new technology. Voice-based search is the future. Therefore, SEO experts have to start focusing more on the voice searches and optimize their sites for this new world of voice searches.
Voice Search Optimization includes the use of conversational phrases with keywords to answer natural language questions. Most of the voice search answers come from featured snippets so make sure you create answers to questions (FAQs type) in order to steer conversions.
Here’re some more reasons to focus on voice search:
One of the best ways to optimize voice searches is by making a question and answer format on the web pages which are specifically targeted for voice searches. It is believed that Google prefers pages which contain all the answers that the searcher needs. Such pages appear on the top of the search results pages. Also, one of the other ways to optimize voice search is through features snippets.
What are feature snippets and how can they improve SEO?
Feature snippets are direct answer results which show up in a box, at the top of the search engine results page. Feature snippet contains a link to the source of an answer. Your website should appear as a feature snippet to attract visitors to your site.
Featured snippets can steer a lot of traffic towards your site. Therefore, it is regarded as one of the best techniques for voice search SEO.
If a searcher is expecting a verbal reply after using the voice search, they won’t get a lot of options in return. Only one result will be read out to the searcher, where there’s a featured snippet.
Quality Content and Authority Backlinks are Key Factors
SEO is about quality content and authority links. Without quality content, you will never get links and without link building, you won’t crack the top positions. A backlink is a link to your website from an external site. However, the quantity of backlinks is not important, rather, the quality of backlinks is more important. As Backlinks can only improve the SEO rankings if they are of good quality. Google always prioritizes the links from high-domain authority websites which are related to the business. Always remember that more website page authority is directly proportional to more impact on the ranking of the page to which it’s linked.
Also, the quality of content has to be high as well. Not only the content has to be plagiarism-free, but it has to be highly engaging, in-depth and optimized as well. Also, proper use of videos and voice search-based content also gives a website an extra edge. Hence, quality content and links are still the foundation for successful SEO.
In order to write quality content, you need to do a comprehensive research. Also, you need to know your target audience as well as your competitors well. Your content should have the strength to not only hold the readers but to also retain them. It should persuade the users to visit your site again.
If you aspire to reach the top of Google’s first page you have to implement the latest SEO techniques which impact traffic. Be it optimizing the site for RankBrain or voice searches, or improving the dwell time or making the site mobile-friendly. Now that you know what to do to improve your ranking, it’s just that you have to prioritize, plan and implement.
Would you be working on improving your dwell time first or would you like to work on optimizing the site for voice searches first?
Digital marketing consultant with 15+ years' experience. Primarily focused on consulting companies on their digital presence while helping them grow technology for attribution and advertising. Worked with brands and created product roadmaps, created and managed multivariate testing, performed site optimization to increase organic traffic, improved conversion rate on e-commerce sites, and created monetization plans for the largest business websites in the US.
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