Search Engine Optimization can increase your sales or blow your marketing budget. This guide will help you know how SEO works.
Quick History About SEO
search en·gine op·ti·mi·za·tion: (SEO) is the art and science of driving targeted online traffic to your website from search engines.
RankBrain has changed SEO. Years ago, SEO was about manipulating search engines. We used black hat techniques like buying backlinks, duplicating pages, stuffing keywords into pages, and building duplicate websites.
Business owners need to know that black hat SEO tactics used to work. Today, they don’t. Black hat is another word for manipulating search engines.
Don’t be fooled by companies that promise page one of Google by using black hat tactics. Save your money and time. They don’t work.
This is the first thing business owners need to understand before hiring someone for SEO work.
If a business owner wants to find himself or herself at the top of SERPs, (SERPS is another name for Search Engine Results Pages) there is one rule. Write good content.
Below you will find a snapshot of the history of Google Algorithm Updates. No-one paid any attention to Google updates until about 2011.
In 2011 the Panda update de-indexed thousands of website because of backlinks. Google changed the rules and took down the sites of anyone who was buying backlinks or trying to manipulate the search engines.
Some big companies had to shut their doors.
One day you were in business the next day you had zero traffic and zero orders. You may have had this happen to you. Here’s the full history.
We won’t dive into all of Google’s updates since 2011. Instead, we’ll focus on what’s working now and what matters.
Introducing RankBrain, one of the most important signals to your SEO results.
What is RankBrain?
RankBrain is Google’s machine learning system to rank their search results.
That might sound complicated, but it isn’t. RankBrain simply measures how users interact with the search results and ranks them accordingly.
User experience and user signals are the #1 ranking factor.
RankBrain’s purpose is to provide web users with more relevant search results. Its machine learning continues to evolve, making search results better.
“In the few months it has been deployed, RankBrain has become the third-most important signal contributing to the result of a search query.” The definitive guide to SEO
Let’s take a look at how this works.
I’m going to search for “Video Marketing Services”
The top 4 positions are paid ads. The next two positions are ranked #1 and #2 for SEO.
The #2 position is one of my businesses. We created that page specifically to rank for the keyword “Video Marketing Services.”
Let’s assume you click on our page, and you find the information on that page to be extremely engaging and helpful. RankBrain is going to calculate the dwell rate (time on site) and click-through rate (percentage of people that click your link) and give the #2 position a boost to #1.
This can also go the other way. Say if you do the same search for video marketing services and click on the #1 position but immediately click back because you think the content is horrible. RankBrain will lower its ranking.
RankBrain looks at two things:
- Dwell Rate: How long someone stays on your website.
- Click-Through Rate (CTR): the percentage of people that click on your website.
Dwell rate is easy to define. CTR is a little more complicated.
Retake a look at the image. You can see the title and description of positions 1 and 2.
There may be some adjustments I can make to my title and description to increase my CTR and take position #1.
For example, I could use more emotional keywords like:
If your site, blog, or page is not getting any clicks, Google won’t show it.
So, how can a business owner use this information?
For one, a business owner should see there are no shortcuts to SEO. You have to create content that your users love. When an agency promises you “Page one of Google” you now know there’s only a couple of ways to get there.
When you create content that your user will read, your dwell rate goes up.
It is as simple as that.
Secondly, you have to increase your Click Through Rate.
Let’s start with content
How Business Owners Can Create Content That Will Rank
A few years back, Google’s algorithm would look at the code on the page and see how many times you used a certain keyword. If your keyword appeared in your title tag, URL, ALT text, description tag, H1 tags etc., you had a good chance of ranking.
Google still looks at these things, but there is one big difference.
Google now looks at the context of the page.
Remember how we ranked for “Video Marketing Services?” We took a page and talked all about Video Marketing. We had header tags, info about YouTube, info on video production, info on Video ranking and more.
It was more of a comprehensive guide to Video Marketing.
Google’s #1 job is to show the best result for whatever the user is searching for. They do this by showing the pages that cover the entire topic.
“Studies have found that in-depth content ranks best in Google.”
How can you create content that Google wants to see?
Let’s start with 2000 words.
Longer word articles perform best for search engines. Check out the chart below. You will see 2000+ word pages take the #1 spots.
There are also other benefits to longer articles. Not only do they look better to Google, but they also get more shares and backlinks, which are important factors for ranking in SERPS.
This guide won’t dive into Backlinks or Social Shares, but both of these to matter to Search Engines.
How Business Owners Can Improve their CTR
The second way business owners can improve their rankings is by increasing their click-through rate.
Spend time and think through the words you’re using for your title and description tags.
If you can increase your dwell rate with better content and increase your CTR with better meta tags (title, description) you can increase your rankings.
No short cuts.
- Create content that people love and will read. Guides, Strategies, Reports get better results than articles. 2000 words is a good start (300-word articles do not work).
- Create better titles and descriptions by using the right words and spending time on them.
Death and Taxes are the only Guarantees
I wish I could tell you that by writing 2000+ word articles and increasing your CTR you’re guaranteed the #1 position.
There are still other factors that go into ranking, and quite frankly there are specific keywords you will never rank for, due to saturation.
The Google algorithm is complicated, and the competition is high.
Still, if you want to compete in the SEO game, increasing your dwell rate and CTR are the best ways to increase your odds of winning.
That is all you can ask for.
If you like our 2019 Business Owners Guide To SEO, let us know. We love helping businesses grow with online marketing campaigns.
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You can download the PDF version of this guide by clicking on this link.