Search Engine Optimization, commonly known as SEO, has been around for a while but has only recently become a big factor for business’ websites and ads. Just as anything else, there are different trends that come about and die off each year. To be the best you have work for it, right? Well, you’d be half right. In large corporations, money is a key factor to getting the best results. Unfortunately, many small-to-medium businesses use these finances elsewhere. This post is going to go through some of the biggest factors and trends of SEO for 2018 to help those smaller businesses compete just as well as the larger ones.
How does Google decide what order your website will show up in a search? There are the simple answers, such as how relevant your business is to the search terms or how credible your business is. Other factors not as commonly known play a role in how far up your business appears in results. Google uses an algorithm called “RankBrain” to help sort through all the websites. This system goes through websites to evaluate the user interaction with the site. For example, if you go to a website and it is exactly what you were looking for and you spend a lot of time reading through all the information, RankBrain takes that into account and would give that site a boost upwards in the next search results. On the contrary, if you visit a site and it has nothing related to what you were searching for, RankBrain also recognizes that and would drop that site down in the search results.
RankBrain is designed to focus on two things:
- How long someone spends on your page (Dwell Time)
- The percentage of people that click on your result (Click Through Rate or CTR)
Ways that RankBrain Can Help SEO
In today’s world, most people are always on the go. The easiest way to access the internet is via a mobile phone. Due to this, Google has said that starting in 2018 they are using “mobile-first indexing”. This means it will read your mobile version and check if it is mobile-friendly before the desktop version. Previously, all content was always displayed on desktop versions of a site because they were thought of as the main way of viewing a website. Hiding some things on mobile was okay because not everyone needed to see it at a quick glance. There is a difference between a site having a mobile version and a site being mobile-friendly. Just having a functional mobile version of your site isn’t enough.When a site is mobile-friendly it means that it is very easy to navigate while reading through your site to find the information someone is looking for. Google’s PageSpeed Insite will help you determine if your site is mobile-friendly. Fortunately, if your website is not currently mobile-friendly you have a little bit of time to work on that.
Many are not aware that YouTube is the second largest search engine. In our fast pace world, people would rather watch a quick video than sit and read an article to find the information they want. By 2021, 80% of all online traffic will be for online videos. Many people forget how easy it is to make a video and post it online. Videos are often the winner of a search because you can design the titles to be straight to the point of what the video is about. They are also accessible to anyone of any age regardless of their reading abilities. People upload over 100 hours of video every minute. With statistics like that it is difficult to not find a video that relates to a search topic. Going back to mobile-first indexing, viewers watch over 50% of these videos on mobile phones. Videos also count as links to RankBrain when it is searching your site.
Each day, more and more use Google Home, Amazon’s Alexa, and even Apple’s Siri. With that being said, voice searches are becoming prominent is SEO as well. Hands free searching is changing the way information is being found and delivered to the user. Most voice searches are in the form of a question, so anything with that exact question and a content full answer reads aloud to the person. Voice searches also take advantage of snippets in the highest position. Snippets utilize the description and/or exert of a website or page. Often, we see them as an explanation of a search word (usually a noun) taken from Wikipedia. As far as how your site is read by RankBrain for voice searches, it reads it the same as a mobile site thus looking for keywords with the identical technique. The most commonly used phrase in voice searches is “near me”, making location a big part in your rank. The most clear and concise content will always be featured.
All in all, SEO is still about content and links. Without either of those, all these other things are almost useless. RankBrain manipulates to increase your search rank through funding or organically. It can only read what you are giving it, so providing as much relevant content is always the best solution. For smaller-to-medium sized businesses, organic changes are always the best option. Keep in mind these new trends can help you get ahead of your competition. Some significant notes to take away are: Mobile-indexing is about to be the next big factor in SEO to help or minder your search ranking. YouTube is not only a video sharing website, it is also a search engine that helps improve your ranks if utilized correctly. You can use voice searches similarly to mobile ones but Google only shares the top result and/or snippets.