Search engines, Google, in particular, have grown smarter over the years.
Do you know the SEO factors Google uses for ranking in 2018?
Do you really want to know how to attract organic traffic from a search engine?
Then this article is for you.
Why do conventional SEO strategies fail?
SEO plays the most significant role to determine the success level of content marketing.
But things have changed over the years.
What was recommended in 2015 may not work in 2018.
Artificial Intelligence has made Google completely different from what it used to be a few years ago.
Most of the orthodox SEO strategies are useless in 2018.
Silly things that marketers have done over the years work no more. There has been a tussle between the SEO service providers and the search engines.
Google keeps working hard to make life tough for the marketers, and for good reasons. SEO service providers simply try to trick the visitors as well as the search engines.
On the contrary, search engines want to facilitate visitors by providing true value.
Search Engines work for better User Experience
The provision of better user experience is what the search engines try to do.
If someone uses Google and tries to search for something, but fails to find the most relevant information, he/she will be disappointed. Search engines don’t want this to happen.
Google and other search engines want to ensure that the users don’t face any problem when trying to find exactly what they want. This is what urges the search engines to classify the websites, blogs, or pages etc. This raking helps the search engine to enlist the best pages on top.
SEO service providers try to manipulate this ranking mechanism. With the passage of time, Google has managed to suppress such practices.
Conventional SEO methods have become history.
For instance, stuffing keywords is not the right thing to do in 2018. In addition, Google’s algorithm detects the relevance of the keywords. It values natural keywords and discards purposefully adjusted keywords.
The same holds true for backlinking. Conventionally, SEO services used backlink patterns. Google is now able to detect such unnatural use of backlinks.
What Does Google Really Want?
This is an important consideration. You need to know what Google wants so that you can do exactly the same to help your blog achieve top-ranks.
Previously, things were pretty basic. Google and other search engines matched the user’s phrase (search command) with the keywords on millions of pages. It didn’t serve the purpose because most of the pages never contained the relevant content. It resulted in the lack of engagement.
It all happened when bloggers and website owners started outsourcing SEO services.
These services had only one mission, increase traffic to the blogs and make quick money. They learned the game and manipulated it to the extent that Google started to take things seriously.
Now, thanks to the AI-driven algorithms, Google has managed to get things on track.
RankBrain – the latest algorithm – has changed a lot of things. Machine learning is now playing an important role to serve the end users with better experience.
With each new update for these smart algorithms, things change significantly. This is why, as a blogger, you need to know what’s going on.
From SEO to UXO
AI-driven algorithms have helped Google to judge the level of user engagement on a particular website/blog.
It has become an important factor which overshadows keywords these days. It is no more SEO but has become User Experience Optimization (UXO).
- Google wants to ensure maximum satisfaction. The blogs/websites that manage to engage visitors for long, are now ranked higher.
- From this, it becomes clear that blogging is all about engaging content. Your pages must carry value and offer something for the targeted audience.
- Google is closely monitoring your blog and web pages. It is constantly analyzing the performance by making use of a variety of determinants. It is comparing your pages with millions other on the internet. And it is all happening in a fraction of second.
What helps Google to know the level of user satisfaction?
There are scores of indicators in this regard. The most important are …
- The time a visitor spends on the page
- The click-through rate
- The bounce rate
- Pogo Sticking (the user opening the pages from the results and closing them quickly to visit the next and so on)
It doesn’t mean that Google never knew these things before.
They knew what’s going on and how to tackle malicious practices. But with billions of pages and tons of content, developing the algorithm required time.
Even today, Google is constantly working on updates to get things better. It’s a continuous process and as a blogger, you need to keep yourself updated.
Do it for your audience, not for the Search Engines
The responsibility rests on your shoulders. You need to give preference to your audience.
As a blogger, your content needs to offer something valuable to the readers.
In short, do blogging for the people visiting your blog, not for the machines or search engines.
From now onwards, it is the game of satisfying the humans, not the machines.
If your visitors are happy, Google will automatically reward you with higher rankings.
Learn to ignore those Gurus telling you the quick traffic tips and tricks, the art of deceiving search engines, and the ways to get 1 million traffic per week. Forget everything they advocated and promoted over the years.
Now, the game is simple, please your visitors, do it for your audience, and get the results.
How Google Ranks in 2018
As I’ve made it clear that it is all about User Experience Optimization, Google determines the satisfaction level on the basis of some highly important factors.
Let’s have a brief look at these factors one by one.
Time Spent vs Bounce Rate
If the visitors spend more time on your blog page, it tells Google that the page is engaging. If the visitors come and leave the page without spending enough time, it tells Google that the page doesn’t engage the visitors.
You need to work hard on making the visitors stay on the page for long. Try to reduce the bounce rate as much as possible.
- A good idea is to include infographics. Visitors love to pay attention to infographics. They feel it easier to get information from graphic-assists.
- Adding videos is another good idea in this regard, but the video must interest the visitors. Work on quality and relevance!
- Add relevant and top-quality images. It helps better user experience.
You achieve a higher Click-Through Rate if the visitors click the link on the basis of the title and SERP description. It works like a powerful email subject. As a blogger, you need to optimize the headline. You can do it by:
- Adding emotions to headline by including terms such as Crazy, Insane, mind-boggling, Fabulous, Awesome, Fascinating, and Useful etc.
- Promising words also serve the cause. Try a word such as Effective, Proven, Scientific, That Will, and Research etc.
- Parentheses also work well. You can use it to explain, specify or narrow down the scope. For instance, “World’s Best Pranks That Will Drive You Crazy (Farting and Smacking Drinks)”
How deep your blog page measures? This is important. Pages with more scroll depth get more attention and engage the visitors for long.
- You can do it by adding images and infographics
- Divide the written content into subheadings, numbers, bullets, and keep the paragraphs smaller and to the point
- Add stories and examples to explain concepts
With an increase in the number of shares to social media accounts, the ranking of the page increases. Google determines that more shares are suggestive of a better user experience, they like it and share it with others.
- Never forget to add social media share buttons
- Offer content upgrade that is conditional to the sharing the post
- Share the link to your post on social media as much as possible
There are many other factors such as readability, backlinking and comments etc.
The idea is to understand what Google is up to and anticipate future trends.
This is the only way to keep your blog’s progress on track. If you aren’t ready to accept these changes, you’ll never manage to turn your blog into a profitable entity.
Spend some time when organizing the blog’s content. You need to keep it highly informative.
Never ignore the importance of readability. You can analyze the heading’s score, grammar score, and tone of the content. Grammarly, WhiteSmoke, and Ginger are a few prime examples in this regard.
You can use any of these to keep your blog from typos, grammar mistakes, and overlooked blunders. It happens to everyone, it’s natural, but once detected by your audience, it has a bad impact.
Things keep evolving and improving over time.
Success, in the long run, requires the utmost attention to consistent changes.
You can’t reset what’s going on. The only option is to make changes accordingly.
Do you have anything to share about SEO? Do comment below.