We’re going to give you the low-down on how you can become an SEO Jedi in 2018. First of all Google is still cream of the crop according to Lifewire, so we’re only going to provide you with 7 tips on how to dominate the most used search engine in the world!
1. Google’s RankBrain
What is RankBrain you say? And how can you optimise for it?
RankBrain is a machine learning system that helps Google sort their search results. Now to put it even simpler RankBrain measures how users interact with search results and ranks them accordingly.
This is done by focusing on two things:
1. How long someone spends on your page (Dwell Time) 2. The percentage of people that click on your result (Click Through Rate)
You’ll find that when you look into this that a 3+ minute Dwell Time is legit. So in leu of this you need to get people to visit your pages for longer, 3+ minutes to be exact. (We’ll explain later how you can achieve this).
According to Google themselves “RankBrain sometimes ranks pages higher up than they “should” rank.
And if that page gets an above-average CTR, we use that as a sign that the page should get a permanent rankings boost.”
2. Improving that click-through-rate (CTR)
So we have established that because of RankBrain you need to master CTR. When you’re page appears on the search results it needs to shout “click on me!”…or else it’ll be ignored and you’ll get pushed further down the rankings list.
This takes us on to number 3…
3. Comprehensive quality content prevails
In the good ol’ days, Google would analyse your page to see how many times you used a specific keyword, focusing 100% on your page’s content. That Google spider that we all knew and loved would visit your page to check if your keyword appeared in your:
- Title tag
- Description tag
- H1 tag
- Image ALT text
Don’t stress because those days aren’t dead and gone, but today’s Google is MUCH smarter than it used to be. Instead of only measuring content, they now also focus on context.
What does that mean you say?
Remember: Google’s #1 job is to show their user the BEST result. This means the best pages cover an entire topic in-depth.
How To Write Comprehensive, In-Depth Content
Content that’s at least 2,000 words would mean you can cover everything a Google searcher needs to know about that topic. So longer content (like ultimate guides and long-form blog posts) outrank short articles in Google. So more is more!
Add LSI Keywords to Your Content
LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. They’re basically keywords that are semantically related to your primary keyword, but these aren’t synonyms they’re keywords related to the topic your page is about. If that sounds confusing just remember in this case Google is looking for more of a topic match instead of a keyword match because my friends, the idea is that you would naturally include these as you write.
So when you’ve written up your 2,000-word article, add LSI keywords to it. For example, let’s say that you just published an article about a Coeliac Disease. LSI keywords would be terms like:
- Gluten free diet
- lining of your gut
- substitute foods
So how do you find LSI keywords? Here are three simple ways to find ‘em:
- You can go to the source and search Google for your target keyword. Then check out the “Searches related to…” section at the bottom of the search results and the words in bold are the LSI keywords.
- You can use a terrific free tool called an LSI Graph
- You can use the Google Keyword Planner for LSI keyword ideas
4. Google’s Mobile-first Index
Last year Google announced that they’re switching over to a “mobile-first index”. This means Google will consider the mobile version of your site the “real” version even if someone searches from a desktop.
Today, 60% of Google searches are from a mobile device. And that’s only going to grow in the future.
Even though Google’s Mobile-first index isn’t live yet, it’s coming any day now, so prepare for it now.
How to Prepare for Google’s Mobile-First Index: 3 Simple Steps:
- Make you content consistent across desktop and mobile
- Make sure your using a responsive design
- Make sure your site goes beyond being just responsive but actually simple and easy to use on mobile. So totally mobile-friendly!
5. Start utilising video (or become irrelevant)
Online video is EXPLODING right now. In fact, according to Cisco, online video will make up 80% of all online traffic by 2021.
If you’re not creating video content, you’re missing out. So how can you take advantage of video’s SEO benefits in 2018:
YouTube is already the world’s 2nd largest search engine. And like any online video platform, it’s growing fast. More and more people are searching for stuff on YouTube… and skipping Google altogether. So make sure your creating and optimising content specifically for YouTube.
Just think that those viewers will turn into website visitors and potential customers. Even better! When you publish SEO-optimised YouTube videos, you’ll own more Google real estate. Why? Well, for starters: 55% of all Google search results contain at least one video. (And almost all of those videos are from YouTube).
Try embedding video content into text-based blog posts. This can give you a serious dwell time boost resulting in a ranking boost.
6. Pay Attention to Voice Search
The popularity of voice search IS growing insanely fast. Just think Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s HomePod, and Google’s Home Assistant. Voice search is still super early but why not start now.
Even so, there are a few things we do know about how voice search works… and how to optimise for it.
- First, your content needs to be on the first page. (Kinda obvious, but it’s worth pointing out.)
- It helps a lot if your content appears in a Featured Snippet.
- Finally, include a question (and answer) in your content. Just think when you use Siri or Alexa etc what do you say? The vast majority of voice searches are question based (“How do I cook lamb tagine?” or “How do I learn to do a backflip”?).
When that happens, Google usually picks a page that contains the question and the answer.
7. Content and Links are crucial
With all that said…in the end SEO is still all about content and links.
Without amazing content, you’ll never get links. And without links, you won’t crack the first page.
And if you’re not on Google’s first page then none of the above will matter- it’s that simple!