Are you ready to unravel the secret of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Well, I hate to tell you, but it’s really no secret.

SEO is not about magic tricks or games with search algorithms.

What you really need is a thorough understanding of what people want when they search – and why they want (or need).

The fact that there is no big secret makes SEO so difficult. It is also a constantly moving target.

And we don’t make the rules, search engines do.

However, organic demand is one of the most profitable marketing channels out there – if you want to invest in it.

Where is the search heading?

I’m aware that you already have an overview of the basics of SEO? Good! Let’s move on.

An ultimate guide to SEO – and where to look – is impossible to include in one article.

Many factors influence your SEO success, including:

Technical: This includes anything that affects the performance, visibility, or search engine access of your website. This includes indexing and crawling, layout, page speed, page structure, URL structure and more.

On Page: This is your content—both what users see on your web page (text, images, video, or audio) and elements visible only to search engines (HTML tags, structured data).

Offsite: This is anything that is not on your website. Ultimately, off-page factors are concerned with increasing and demonstrating credibility, relevance, credibility and building your site’s audience. Consider link building, social media marketing, PPC marketing, reviews and user generated content.

In this chapter, we’ll begin exploring the world of SEO in three key areas that will help you succeed:

Optimize search experience: What are your options to better present your customers/audience?

Content strategy for real people: the importance of content and what it means to be relevant.

The Impact of Voice Search on SEO: We look to the not too distant future and show you why it’s time to optimize for voice search. So don’t wait!

1. Optimize the search experience

When you hear the acronym SEO, it usually means Search Engine Optimization. And as you might guess, SEO in this context means optimizing your website for search engines (or, less likely, search engine optimization).

But search engine optimization is a newer way of thinking about the term SEO. Some have even dubbed search engine optimization the “new SEO.”

Search Experience Optimization is optimized for people in all the places where your brand and content might be. This goes beyond search engine optimization – though the nuts and bolts are still very important!

The search strategy requires us to create a brand experience by using search results to build relevance.

According to a 2006 Forrester survey, 93% of online experiences start with a search engine, meaning search engines are the biggest showcase for brands.

Search engines also travel with us wherever we go. Google calls these browsing experience moments, four of which are:

  • I want to know.
  • I want to go.
  • I want to do this
  • I want to buy.

Modern SEO strategies require us to be creative to gain visibility.

Ranking above the visible section: desktop versus mobile

See this result. What do you see?

With Google, in addition to paid search advertising (which can add organic visibility in search results), you also have to deal with celebrity search features that vary depending on the search query.

You need to optimize in all sorts of ways to increase the visibility of your brand. Sometimes ranking #1 in organic search isn’t a problem because the page you’re trying to rank for doesn’t even appear #1.

Let’s take a look at some of the search features that come before the first organic element:

Google search function

News and Social Content

Google News and social content are areas where your content can get a lot of visibility. But news and social media depend entirely on the freshness of the app (how relevant/hot the topic is).

To rank/appear in this section, you need to have a good understanding of your section and how Google responds to queries. Not every query will return news or social media content, so it’s important to understand how keywords respond in different ways.

knowledge board

The Google Knowledge Panel, powered by the Google Knowledge Graph, shows the basics of business. This includes things like:

  • Location.
  • phone number.
  • Review.
  • Working hours.

This is a great way to build trust in your brand. Searchers are instructed to search for a specific part of the search results, such as B. Knowledge panel to get reliable information that you want or need.

Getting this panel is important if you are a brand (or any other type of business). If you are not on the Knowledge Graph, you may have some issues.

People also ask

People Ask is another search feature that downloads content right after the results. These are real-world terms that people search for, and content is downloaded from websites to complete these results.

You can use this targeted search tool to identify content optimization options or additional new content that you can create to target the audience you want to reach.

Apply SEO to different platforms

Apart from optimizing different parts of the search results, you can apply SEO methods to any platform that anyone can search for.

Also, if you optimize other search experiences, content for your brand can also be downloaded in traditional search engine results (Google, Bing, etc.).

Hummingbird: This update gives Google the ability to understand full queries, not just individual keywords as part of a search. He also introduces different semantic concepts or keywords around the main topic. Optimizing your pages for keywords from top to bottom is no longer a viable SEO tactic, nor does it seem natural to people.

RankBrain: This update gives Google the ability to understand never-before-processed queries and make the associations needed to decode the full meaning of the query to provide machine learning results. It is one of the top 3 ranking factors, along with content and links.

So how do these two algorithm updates affect content strategy?

You should not focus too much on keywords. While ranking is important, ranking is not the only thing that matters.

Keywords can sometimes get you through. Keywords can have high search volume, but lack specificity and value.

For example, take this search for [email marketing]:

Google Search Email Marketing

The search volume for this particular keyword is around 18,000.

Even if you have to write content well enough to rank for those keywords, what is the relevant portion of traffic? How many conversions can you generate? Maybe not much.

The term “email marketing” is very common. Because of this, Google shows ambiguous results.

There is a clear distinction between terms like “email marketing” and “enterprise cross-channel marketing platform”.

What is the difference?

Meaning.

One keyword is informational and the other keyword is transactional. Transaction queries are more valuable for conversion-oriented companies.

You can optimize for more transactional queries by targeting long queue search terms. This keyword specificity (even if the keyword has a low search volume) will help you create more relevant content and drive more traffic to your site.

On a tactical level, you need to be creative when researching your topic and keywords. Very understanding of how people search for what they are looking for.

Why is content important?

The importance of content is undeniable.

Without content, there is no visibility.

To emphasize the importance of content (and how important keyword selection is to content performance), consider the following:

60 percent of search queries consist of four or more words.

The average number of results on the first page of Google is nearly 1,900 words.

This begs the question: how do we know what people want? How do we know what people are looking for?

Give people the content they want

Look for social competitors

If you pay enough attention, your audience will tell you what they want.

Some of the best audience tools can be found in Google search results:

Autocomplete

People also ask.

Related searches.

These are all requests/questions people ask when searching. This data offers a real opportunity for additional content.

By activating pain points and answering questions directly, you can deliver the right content when searchers need it. This is basically a need – a need. It will also help you better understand your customers.

social listening

Social platforms also offer many opportunities to meet people and respond to their needs.

Many people use social media to complain. Lots. Use it to your advantage.

Use your own or a competitor’s comment section. Take a general theme/theme.

Monitor conversations on every social network you’re active on (and wherever your brand is discussed).

What are people complaining about? it could be:

Customer service issues.

You don’t know when your shop is open.

Your product or service.

You can turn it into the content.

competition research

Analyzing websites in search results for competing topics reveals a lot about what works and what doesn’t work for your business. Review the content and find gaps in the content or areas you want to emulate.

Whichever you choose, the end goal is always the same: get more context. Expand the topics your audience needs.

This type of examination can be uncomfortable. You may have to face some hard truths as you embark on one of these paths. But it’s worth it because you will understand the needs of the people you are trying to reach.

Make mobile first!

Great content means optimal accessibility, regardless of device. A real experience for mobile devices, charge as fast as possible.

One way to do this is to use Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), especially if you rely heavily on mobile organic traffic. Having content loaded at lightning speed is just a good user experience (and a good deal).

Slow page loading has the potential to hurt your SEO performance — and bottom line. Always test and optimize!

If you’re not sure about your mobile experience, test all your pages. Use every tool at your disposal to optimize the user experience.

There are lots of great tools out there including Pagespeed Insights. Use them to identify problem areas, e.g. B. how fast your pages load and display.

Fun Fact: In 2012, Google realized they were losing 8 million searches per day, slowing down results by just four-tenths of a second. While this may not seem like much considering that Google returns results for over 3 billion searches per day, that’s 8 million searches where Google can’t serve ads. That means less revenue for Google. And advertising is primarily Google’s way of making money.

Be Prepared for the Mobile-First Index

Google has been telling everyone to go mobile-first for years but now it’s happening with the mobile-first index.

What this means is Google will crawl mobile sites at a higher frequency than desktop versions of sites. It also means that mobile is more critical to SEO than ever before. Watch developments in this area closely.

Make the ultimate guide to SEO Part of Your DNA

Optimize your content from the start. It will save you a lot of headaches in the end.

SEO is a process, not a goal. SEO is never done. You’re never done optimizing.

Every page can be optimized because there’s no such thing as a perfect website. You need to become “least imperfect.”

In other words, you don’t need the best website in the world. You just need a website that’s better than your competition.

Being consistent with the SEO basics is the perfect way to do that:

Optimize your titles and meta descriptions.

Use readable user and search friendly URLs.

Optimize video content (if you have it).

Optimize header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.).

Link to deeper content within your site.

Create and optimize topically-relevant content.

All of these items might seem like no-brainers to seasoned SEO professions. But you’d probably be surprised to see how often sites don’t have the most basic things (e.g., title tags on their most important pages).

Your navigation and internal linking structure is the thematic backbone of your site. Use it to signal to search engines the topics of your site – what you want to be known for.

Takeaways:

Embrace long-tail keywords. Don’t limit yourself with a strategy that only targets generic/ambiguous keywords.

Understand audience intent and create content for it. Listen to your audience. They will tell you what content you need to create.

Optimize from the start. Build your foundation and cover all the basics (technical SEO and on-page optimization).

3. Voice Search Optimization

Voice search is closer than you think.

Pay attention to changes in search behavior and shifts in search results. Gather insight now to prepare for the future.

A whole new generation of people is coming. Their primary relationship with a search engine is to speak to it – not to type or tap. This is a huge change.

With a proliferation of voice-assisted devices that are easy to use (even for older generations), we’re fast approaching a voice-first shift in search behavior.

Position Zero featured snippet

Position Zero

Featured snippets are already starting to play a critical role in how Google provides search results. This is the new field of play in SEO.

Google’s featured snippets appear above the first organic search result, so it provides a huge boost in terms of traffic, visibility, and trust. People trust featured snippets so much that they often won’t click on any other organic results.

Position zero is largely question-driven. Google provides direct answers to questions, pulling an excerpt of content directly from a website into its featured snippet feature.

Optimizing for Voice Search

Voice search has one result. Position zero is the only result spoken back to you.

To have success, it’s important to know the content and context of search:

Identify common questions and queries your audience has.

Create content to directly address those questions and queries.

Turn Content Into Actions & Skills

Google takes a few types of published content and makes it voice searchable for:

  • News
  • Recipes
  • Podcasts
  • Alexa skills also make content searchable

Web-based services

Information searches

The Future of Voice Search

There’s a lot we still don’t know about voice search.

Voice search data isn’t available: Google doesn’t show voice search data in the same way it does for desktop and mobile search in the Search Console.

How search behavior is changing: When mobile was becoming a thing, we had data to show “near me” type searches, reflective of those on the go, were exploding. We don’t yet know the voice search equivalent to “near me” searches.

What do we know?

We know voice search consists of 10 percent of all searches, and that number is increasing. Just like mobile 6-7 years ago, voice search is coming.

So here lies the SEO opportunity. How will we define the methodology of voice search experience to continue to be present with relevant content when people need it?

Takeaways:

Prepare for a voice-first world.

Optimizing for position zero is optimizing for voice search.

Make content searchable on voice-enabled devices.

Summary

As you approach SEO, especially in terms of content, make sure your strategy takes these three areas into account:

Creating search experiences is the new SEO. Optimize for every opportunity you can. Take ownership of the search results, including outside of traditional organic search. Be present. Be relevant. Build trust in the people who are searching for your brand, wherever that is.

Create content for people, not search engines. This way you provide a great digital experience and understand your customers better. Focus on topics people want instead of worrying about keywords. Use your content resources to listen to your audience and create content that directly answers their questions and concerns. Build the foundation you need for good SEO in the future.

Voice search is pending. do not wait. Aim for a zero position in search results and perform a voice search for content.

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March 11, 2022