SEO Isn't Dead: Here Are 5 Advanced SEO Techniques
There's been a lot of noise on the Internet about how that SEO is dead.
But this is nowhere near actuality. It's either the so-called “SEO gurus” saying this are outrightly destitute of working SEO knowledge, or are trying to drive attention for their SEO sales. To put it straight, SEO is *not* dead. What might be dead instead is the way some people still do SEO.
For instance, if you're still approaching SEO by stuffing mediocre content with hundreds of keywords and then sitting back and hoping your site will rise to #1 on Google, then you are dead wrong. This sort of cookie-cutter, ghosty approach to SEO rarely works in today’s search landscape. Search engines keep updating their algorithms every now and then.
For example, Google changes its search engine algorithm roughly 500 - 600 times per year.
With this frequent updates, the SEO techniques that worked wonders yesteryears, or even months ago, may no longer be in vogue today. Thus, they can't sustain your business as before. Trying to outsmart the search engines is no longer feasible for most. So practically, SEO in the traditional sense is dead. But SEO as a marketing practice, generally, is still very much alive, but just in an evolved form. What you need to do now is to approach SEO differently than you did last summer.
And today, we are putting together five breathing, super-effective SEO techniques you can use right now to improve your rankings and eventually increase your search traffic, leads, and revenue. So stop putting up with ancient, inoperative SEO tactics. Read on to find out what works today!
1. Google RankBrain
Not long ago, Google rolled out a new algorithm named “RankBrain.”
As it stands, RankBrain has proven to be a biggie in the search space and marketers are becoming wary of this. Why? Because it is Google’s first artificial intelligence algorithm.
RankBrain is a component of Google's core algorithm which uses machine learning to analyze content and determine the best search results to display. It works by learning what a page is about and how the content of that page relates to keywords users enter into Google and then measuring how users interact with the results.
So essentially, your ranking is determined by how relevant your content is and how well users find it helpful. While awesome content, backlinks, and other traditional ranking factors are still very crucial, RankBrain is quickly killing it. Google even mentioned that RankBrain has become one of their top three ranking signals, with links and content being the other two.
So if you want to rank today, it's only smart you take RankBrain seriously by optimizing your site for it.
i. Improve your organic click-through rate (CTR). Google RankBrain wants to see that lots of people are clicking on your site in the SERPs. One way to improve your CTR is to optimize your title tags and meta description. We talked about this in this post. For one, you can add numbers to your title and description tag. Research shows that people online are more likely to click on content that contains a number.
ii. Improve your Dwell Time
RankBrain also wants to see people engaged with your content. So if users keep bouncing back from your content after a few seconds, RankBrain will think searchers aren't happy with it. The result? RankBrain will drop your page. Conversely, if users stay long on your content pages (AKA Dwell Time), you've hit gold.
Where to start?
Write compelling introductions that haul readers in.
I also recommend breaking up the blocks of text in your content into smaller chunks for easy readability, like you're seeing in this post.
2. Semantic Search
Remember Google Hummingbird?
That brightly-colored sophisticated algorithm that got SEOs on their feet talking?
It was an important search algorithm rolled out by the big G a couple of years ago. Before the roll-out, Google used to analyze only individual keywords per content pages. But this new algorithm changed everything. With it, Google was able to analyze and understand the general context of the topic of the page, not only keywords.
This is what is called “Semantic Search.”
Semantic Search refers to the effort by search engines to do a better job in understanding natural language queries. In other words, it's the ability for search engines to understand topics and rank search results accordingly.
With Hummingbird, this was like a major shift in the search landscape. And Semantic Search is still one of Google’s strongest ranking tacks today.
In fact, Semantic Search is fastly replacing the traditional keyword research. And you know how important keyword research has been over the years, right?
So, how can you optimize your content for Semantic Search?
Here’s what to do:
Step #1: Optimize your page around your target keyword just like you normally would. Once you do that, you're ready for the next step.
Step #2: Cover subtopics related to your target keyword. This helps Google to get a grasp of what your page is all about, other than your keyword.
How can you find related subtopics?
There are several tools online for that like this one called LSIGraph:
LSIGraph shows you subtopics and terms that are related to the target keyword you typed into it. Once you correlate these subtopics with your main keyword in your content, it’ll be optimized for Semantic Search.
3. Create Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
The web has evolved to the point where mobile has now become mainstream. Just to help you understand this better: 40 percent of visitors will skip to a different search result if the first is not mobile-friendly.
So with more mobile-first trends looming, Google created Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), an open source framework for creating super fast mobile pages.
AMP has expanded beyond mostly just article pages to more complex pages like forms and ecommerce pages.
Why create AMP pages and how can it help your SEO?
For one, AMP improves the mobile experience, which in turn improves on-site metrics like dwell time.
For two, AMP improves site load time (which is its main aim).
Google loves and rewards fast loading sites by moving them to top rankings and that's why you should pay attention to AMP. Beyond mobile becoming the primary device use in accessing the Internet, Google also made a transition to mobile-first index. This means they want to index and rank your site based on mobile-friendly it is.
4. Users’ “Contextual Needs”
Years ago, search engines paid little to no attention to users’ intent. So they served up results that best matched keyword sources typed into them.But a lot has changed, and their objective now is to understand the intention of the users. This includes but is not limited to:
What users are looking for exactly
What users expect
Which search results would best answer user query.
They want to fulfill these intents full-out. For example, Google now shows “rich snippets” at the top of some SERPs, which contains direct answers to users’ queries. With all these modifications, you would have to do more if you want your pages to rank on the first page. In other words, it’s not enough to create content just around an idea that popped up in your head while in the shower. You need to look at the context around your content.
What do users need?
72 percent of marketers say the single most effective SEO tactic is relevant content creation…
...which means if you're not ready to create effective content, you might as well count yourself out.
You must consider what your users are looking for rather than imagining up different ways that users might phrase a search query.
How can you do this? Here we go:
Step #1: Know your target audience
To begin with, how can you create something for people you have no idea who they are?
So the first step is to find out about your target audience. This will give you a holistic idea of who they are, what they may be looking for, their location, age, interests, etc.
That's usually the first step to great content.
Step #2: Find out what your target audience needs
After you've discovered WHO they are, next step is to find EXACTLY what they want. The biggest mistake here would be to sit back and say:
“Oh well, I already know ‘em. So I'll just guess this is what they should be interested in.”
Successful SEO doesn't work that way. Successful SEO isn't guesswork. Successful SEO is mostly about figuring out what your users want and then delivering it intentionally. The better you can meet your audience’s needs with your content, the higher the chances they will click your headlines and engage with your content, which means better performance on SERPs for you.
How to find what your target audience need?
You can also mine the search queries users enter into Google. Several tools out there collect information from the autosuggest feature in Google and can give you an idea of what your target audience might be looking for. Übersuggest, KeywordTool.io, and AnswerThePublic are some useful ones.
5. Update and Intensify Existing Content
It's common for a publisher to forget about a piece of content after clicking publish and doing a bit of promotion. They'll often head out to create their next content without paying much attention to the old ones.
These guys usually do not realize the potential of their site’s existing content.
But tell you what, if your blog has some content sitting on it already, you have an untapped gold mine.
Updating and republishing old blog posts can increase traffic by more than 100 percent.
Brian Dean of Backlinko.com saw a 111.37 percent increase in traffic after updating one of his blog posts.
Undoubtedly, you've created some posts that are generating organic traffic already. What you have to do is intensify those posts to produce even more results. Start by making a list of your top performing content. To do this, go to Google Analytics and click on the “Behavior” tab on the left side. Then click on “Site Content” and then on “All Pages” to view the best performing posts from three to six months ago.
Once you identify your best performing posts, you'd want to update them to become even better.
Here are some ideas on how to update your content:
Rewrite the headline
Add new customer testimonials or notable mentions
Update old data/add new data
Update old images
Make the post longer
Like it or not, an increased amount of searches are being performed day in day out.Stats show that this is in the region of 3.5 billion searches per day on Google alone. Again, Search Engine Journal reports that 93 percent of all traffic comes from search.
And as for purchases, 78 percent of people in the United States alone use the web to research products and services before buying.
If anything, these numbers should tell you but one thing:
SEO. Is. Not. Dead.
However, unfortunately, we can't say the same for SEO techniques that worked years ago. So if you'd like to rank on the first page, you need to push for new techniques that are getting results today. And that's what you've seen in this guide. Getting to page one of the search results becomes more vital when you realize that 75 percent of users don’t click past the first page. We also know that the first three organic search results get 60 percent of all traffic from a web search.
What are you going to do? Stay stuck with worn-out SEO techniques? Or join the SEO revolution? Start by finding the right tools to measure your SEO to know where you are! Read more about SEO on SmallSEOTools SEO Blog.