How to Use Google’s Rankbrain Algorithms to Improve Your SEO

It has been predicted that in 2020, Voice Search will be the future of SEO. With voice search being a substantial part of the site, you must understand the basics of Google RankBrain as well as how to optimize your SEO with it. Learning how the tool works and how to implement it on your site will prepare you for the coming of the voice search.

 

How Google RankBrain Algorithm Works

Before diving right into the use of Google’s RankBrain algorithm to improve your SEO, learn about how it works first to gain an idea of how the tool analyzes queries. Take note, the tool can increase the influence of all users on search results despite the fact that it is a machine learning algorithm. It operates in such a way because it takes and uses direct feedback from the users’ judgment of a site’s quality.

 

It Analyzes Keywords through User Intent

RankBrain was built to figure out the meaning behind a query you typed in the search engine. Despite the influx of several keywords in a query that Google has never encountered before, the RankBrain tool can take the analysis a notch higher. The tool can connect these keywords to previously analyzed ones. The goal of Google is pretty simple: to provide users with the best search engine experience in the shortest amount of time. This means when a user searches for a query, they instantly get results based on the analysis of RankBrain.

A great example would be searching for “user experience UX”. If you are to think like Google, you should be able to realize the purpose of the query. The results will most likely be a rich snippet of the definition of user experience. With the RankBrain tool, Google was able to provide the most reasonable result for the query.

screenshot of serps 1

As you can see, Google was able to provide results within 0.60 seconds. Note that the search engine provided you with results without keyword stuffing or website spamming. This is due to the machine learning RankBrain tool interpreting the search query in a specific way.

Moreover, RankBrain is also capable of providing you with the same results despite the differences in the wording of the query. Let us take the prior example, user experience UX. Different users have varied ways to express their queries. It could be typed in as “UX user experience”, “UX” or “user experience”. You will obtain similar results because RankBrain thinks the queries are essentially looking for one thing and that is the definition of user experience.

 

It Analyzes User Satisfaction

RankBrain’s efforts do not stop at providing you with results best suited to your query. In addition to analyzing user intent, the tool can also validate your satisfaction based on the results presented. Moreover, it can adjust the results in the future searches you make.

So, how does RankBrain do it? It’s simple. The tool uses user experience signal which determines if you have clicked the top search results and spent plenty of time on the site or if you have hit the back button to look for another result.

In other words, RankBrain is able to analyze if a site consists of content that you have found useful. With this, the tool can give the site a boost so that it appears next time a similar query has been done. Conversely, if you clicked on a site and spent little time on it. RankBrain brings this site down to make way for reliable sites to appear on the top list.

 

Ranking signals include the following:

  • Keyword matching and relevant topics
  • Depth of content and freshness
  • Engagement of the content
  • Diversity of links
  • Domain authority
  • Anchor text

 

RankBrain uses historical search data to determine the sites that provide the best results for a query. When it comes to “user experience”, Google knows the pages with the most updated definitions which will most likely obtain higher dwell times. With that, RankBrain will provide you with fresh and in-depth content about “user experience”.

 

Tips for Optimizing Your SEO with RankBrain Algorithm

Now that you already have a basic idea of how Google RankBrain works, it is time to figure out what it means for your site. Below are some tips for optimizing SEO by pleasing the requirements of the RankBrain tool.

 

Create Truly Helpful Content

Content is arguably the most important element of any site. Aside from the fact that it is one of the most important ranking factors of Google, users judge your site depending on how informational and useful your content is. RankBrain notices and receives experience signals.

 

Reinvent Keyword Research

Before you begin creating content with the keywords you have, take a step back and put yourself in the shoes of your potential site visitors. Determine their status in the buyers’ journey. Are they in the awareness, consideration or decision stage?

Awareness is the stage wherein they are asking questions starting with why, what, and how. The consideration is at the stage wherein they have found the answer to their queries. Finally, the decision is the stage to which they decide to act upon the solution to their problem as presented to them by RankBrain.

Another reliable process to learn the user’s intent is to study the related search terms found at the bottom of the SERPs. For “user experience UX”, people also look for courses, principles, and examples. Since RankBrain analyzes synonyms and similar phrasing for particular search queries, it will not yield your site a high ranking for all variations.

screenshot of serps 2

 

Shift Focus to Organic Clickthrough Rate

 

Learning how to increase your site’s Clickthrough Rate or CTR should be part of your efforts for Google RankBrain SEO. The more users interacting with your site, the higher the CTR. Here are some effective brief notes to guide you in increasing your site’s CTR.

 

Measure first

Measure everything first so that you will have an idea of a plan to manage it. For a side-by-side comparison, make sure to take screenshots before CTA.

 

Focus on your headlines

The headlines are the most prominent element in the search results. With that, you should use proper numbers as well as formatting.

 

Test titles

To find the most effective and searchable headlines, use plugins and tools. Take note, testing is better than releasing an article with so-so headlines and waiting for either a negative or positive impact.

 

Create custom meta descriptions

Your meta descriptions must contain a call to action (CTA). Make sure to use powerful words and emotions. Target the pain points of the users making the query.

 

Take note of your site speed

The speed of a website highly affects its CTR. The speed of the site is highly related to the dwell time, bounce, and conversion rates.

 

Improve Dwell Time, Bounce and Conversion Rate

To recap, the dwell time is the duration of a page visit made by users. On the other hand, bounce rate is the number of people who left your site without clicking on anything within the page and conversion rate is those who made actions.

 

To improve these actions, here are some of the things you can do:

  1. Optimize your user’s first impression through site speed and mobile-friendliness.
  2. Limit ads and popups.
  3. Prioritize your site user’s needs by understanding their wants. With this, you can produce useful content that
  4. they may find informational.
  5. Use links internally as it helps users discover your site.
  6. Perform A/B testing to drastically improve conversion rates. As well as releasing only excellent quality of CTA,
  7. page design, headlines, and layouts.
  8. Provide testimonials and proof of excellent service to show prospective visitors the credibility of your site.

 

Key Takeaway

In a nutshell, Google RankBrain understands users’ queries to provide them with improved and suitable search results. With voice search becoming a trend, RankBrain will most likely obtain an increased importance. Finally, you should shift your focus to your human readers. Despite web crawlers in search engines, users will still be able to determine the usability of your site.


Think Like Web Crawlers To Boost Your Technical SEO

There are plenty of ways to improve organic rankings. For starters, creating quality content, inserting optimized images, using header tags and incorporating attractive meta descriptions can be sufficient for your site. Yet for those who are aiming for more than that, it is best to shift your attention to the power of technical SEO. Presumably, one of the most important key takeaways from 2019 as we approach the end of the year is to prioritize technical SEO and think like a web crawler.

Googlebot is a web crawler. Think of it as a spider that jumps from one webpage to another to scrape for valuable content and information. For those who are only familiar with Googlebot, other web crawlers or user agents include Bingbot (Bing), Slurp Bot (Yahoo), and Alexa Crawler (Amazon Alexa). These are web crawlers that come in the form of user agents because they are branded bots of particular search engines.

 

Fundamentals of Search

So how do web crawlers work? Web crawlers perform a three-step process in order to generate entries for a search engine index.

They start with discovering sites through internal linking, sitemaps, and fetch requests. Take note that despite the fact that web crawlers are attracted to sitemaps, they still do not account for PageRank.

The next step of the process is reading. Web crawlers read webpages to scrape information much as a user would. Going back to links found on pages, web crawlers also discover new information by crawling to those links. They crawl from one link to another and bring the scraped data back to the search engine’s servers.

 

How Web Crawlers Index Your Site

When you want to optimize a site, you would need to satisfy both the users and web crawlers for UX and crawler experience. While it may be difficult to think about fulfilling the requirement of search engines to rank high and keep users’ interests in mind, there will always be a solution.

Since you are a user yourself, the only thing you have to do now is to think like a web crawler. Here are the following optimization methods web crawlers like Googlebot uses that you should apply to boost your technical SEO and increase the UX your website almost instantly.

 

Principles For A Googlebot Optimized Site

Since Googlebot optimization comes before search engine optimization, learn the principles for an optimized site below.

 

Use robots.txt Wisely

Robots.txt or robot exclusion standard is a text file containing instructions of web robots on how they should crawl pages. This text file is created by webmasters for their website. Simply put, robots.txt is essential because they serve as a directive to all Google bots. These web crawlers are on crawl budget; directing them to crawl to the right pages will prevent crawlers from expending it.

To use robots.txt wisely is to modify it accordingly. The whole idea of robots.txt is to tell web crawlers where it should not go. This means that crawlers must not crawl through any unnecessary pages or silos of a site. The more time the web crawlers spend on crawling to important sections, the more necessary data it can scrape and bring back.

 

Create Fresh Content

A site whose content is visited frequently by crawlers is more likely to gain traffic. Again, you must note that PageRank is the determinative factor in crawl frequency. Yet when compared to the freshness factor of similar ranked pages, PageRank becomes less important. Site pages with low ranking can still win your site traffic if they get crawled frequently than your competitor.

 

Utilize Internal Linking

Internal linking connects one page of the site to a different page on the same site. It aids in site navigation, defines the hierarchy of a site, and distributes page ranking power throughout the site. Utilizing internal linking means generating lots of content. More content means more ways to incorporate internal links.

A great linking strategy is a counterpart of an awesome content strategy. You should be able to create plenty of relevant and linkable content. After site content is created, link deeper and make use of links natural for readers.

 

Key Takeaway

For users to search for anything and everything they can think of can be tedious because of the amount of information available online. The existence of web crawlers took hard work of searching for users. These web crawlers index sites with the most valuable content.

With this, users are recommended with a few of the best pages out of the existing almost limitless amount of pages with similar information. To think like a web crawler is quite simple. The goal is to appease the search engine’s requirements through site content that delivers outstanding UX to experience organic growth. Finally, your intent to think like a web crawler brings you to learn how to boost your technical SEO.


Ways to Empower Your Instagram Account for SEO in 2019

Social media can be a powerful tool. It helps validate you as a brand. When done correctly, it can increase your visibility and heightens the user experience. For this reason, everyone competes to be on top.

One of the most popular social platforms today is Instagram. It has introduced many changes to different industries and the personal lives of people all over the world. It’s quite easy to see why. The photo-sharing app has since then evolved into an effective business tool for influencers, businesses, media personalities, and the like.

Instagram has made some interesting changes you need to watch out for. Use the system to your advantage. Gone are the days where artificial engagement is prominent on the platform, as organic traffic now has the opportunity to grow and flourish.

 

Optimize Your Instagram Bio

Your Instagram bio may seem unimportant at first glance. It has a limited word count and you can’t really get that creative with it. But as you might have noticed, influencers and personalities use their Instagram bio effectively as a personal calling card which can potentially attract more followers.

Take a look at your current Instagram bio. What should you put in it to make it look better? Start off with your name, personal tags, and labels. Are you a brand? What are you promoting? What kind of influencer are you? When you add the necessary information, you’re showing your followers what’s interesting about you. This can be helpful if you want to appeal to a niche market and instantly filter out short term followers. You want long-term followers who are interested in your content.

Now if you want to optimize your business account, you need to add your contact information. This can be your email or Facebook page. This can make your page look legitimate and professional. You can instantly separate yourself from the many personal accounts on the platform. It helps to add a call to action to your bio which encourages followers to interact with you.

 

Fix Your Images

Instagram is a photo-sharing platform. You need to treat it that way, so don’t upload low-quality posts. This applies to your photo quality and caption quality. The right image and caption can bring your photo to the explore page. Then from the explore page, users can engage with your account and see if it aligns with their interest.

It is important to assess what kind of person or brand you are. Do you need a theme for your feed? Are you promoting products? What kind of target market are you looking at? For example, if you’re a photographer, you’d need to post high-quality post-processed photos while also keeping in line with the theme of your feed. Then as an artist, you could be promoting a certain medium and targeting a niche audience. In general, think of who you’re planning to post for and work your way from there.

 

Cheat Algorithms

There’s another way you can optimize your Instagram images for SEO. Recently, Instagram has rolled out the option to add alt-text to your photos. This works best for public accounts, so make sure you set it up that way before publishing your posts. Alt-text ensures that your images are searchable on Google. Your alt-text should describe the image you just posted. When users are not connected to a network, alt-text can serve as a way for users to know what the image is.

But it’s more than that. The alt-text is not your image caption. Alt-text sends a message to Instagram by making it more visible to people who like your content. Instagram uses the alt-text to see what’s in your image and allows it to appear on their timelines. This means people who are looking for related content see it. Instead of getting lost in the timeline, you can use the algorithm to make sure your followers are updated through alt-text. You can grow your account organically just by adding an alternative text to your images.

To make it searchable to Google, you can use alt-text to add popular keywords that relate to your image. People who search on google use keywords to search and if you apply the same principle. You can make your image searchable through Google’s SEO.

 

Key Takeaway

Instagram is a powerful social media platform anyone can use. Some still prefer using it as a personal photo album but if you want to increase your presence as a brand, you can try these techniques out. Technology is always evolving and so is your favorite social media platform. You need to keep up with the changes to remain relevant online, no matter what kind of account you are. Evolve and empower your account in 2019 with these tips.


How to use PPC with SEO to Optimize Your Search Engine Marketing Strategies

In the world of digital marketing, there are many strategies one can do to increase the traffic and conversion rates on their website. Two such strategies that are popular are search engine optimization (SEO) and pay per click advertising (PPC).

Many companies have this notion that choosing between the two strategies is an either/or type of situation and it’s not surprising why they may think that way.

On one hand, you have a more organic, structured and content-driven approach in the form of SEO, while on the other you have a more resource-intensive and direct approach with PPC. There is an apparent clash of ethos, and that can make someone favor one method over the other as if they were choosing a side.

The important thing people have to know regarding PPC and SEO is that they can be used together, whether independently or synergistically, to make your online marketing efforts more successful. Let us see how you can use both methods to optimize your search engine marketing strategies.

 

Be open-minded when it comes to your strategies

As suggested above, it may seem that SEO and PPC campaigns can work against each other to divide the number of visitors that your site can get, but that is simply not the case.

Whether you’re limited by resources (money, labor) or your organization’s philosophy regarding your marketing efforts (favoring one over the other), it pays to keep an open mind when it comes to your strategy. Whichever the case may be, using both SEO and PPC must start with a conscious decision.

Consider the two methods as two separate roads that lead to the same location — your website! Being open-minded about your strategies means adopting both SEO and PPC when possible.For example, let’s say that your SEO efforts are paying off and your website is attracting a reasonable number of visitors. That does not necessarily mean that you are already converting these visits into actual sales. Sometimes, your online leads take a while to make up their minds and leave your site before making a purchase or availing a service.

This is where PPC can benefit you. By using an approach called remarketing, you can usher those previous leads back to your website at a later time when they finally make up their minds.

Sometimes, it can be the other way around, with SEO bringing them back to your website that they previously encountered through an ad. Either way, you are benefiting from using both strategies. With a bit of patience, using both can pay off in the long run because eventually, they will work together to build your brand and online presence.

 

Make use of the data you can get from PPC and SEO

Pay-per-click advertising is a great search engine marketing option for those who like looking at analytics and data. This is not to say that there are no analytical metrics that can measure the efficacy of SEO, but with PPC it is faster and more direct.

Keywords are the foundation of any search engine marketing strategy. PPC allows you to observe how well a keyword is doing in relation to your website. You can keep track of how many clicks, visits, and conversions your PPC strategy is generating and identify the keywords that are performing well and the ones that are not. You can then focus your SEO efforts on those specific keywords and help build more traffic.

Again, this can also work the other way around. With enough time, your SEO results can also yield valuable data that can benefit PPC. Look at the clickthrough, conversion, bounce, and exit rates of both strategies and use them to and make your overall approach more effective.

 

Consider where your company is in terms of development

If you have a startup business and you want to use search engine marketing to target local markets, pay-per-click advertising can be the most cost-effective way of going about it.

However, once your company starts growing and you want to tap into bigger markets, the costs of PPC will also rise. You might be inclined to think that bearing the increased costs is fine, but that isn’t the case. Sticking to one kind of online marketing strategy can end up costing you more and more money while generating marginal returns.

Once your company becomes bigger, try scaling down the PPC and putting more effort into SEO. Generating organic traffic helps you transition into bigger online markets without costing you a fortune. Don’t forget that once you stop paying for advertising, your search engine visibility can also drop. Consider making small-scale SEO efforts while making PPC your main strategy when you are still starting out.

One of the best things about using both SEO and PPC to generate your online presence and conversions is that it can support your company’s development at any stage.

 

Key Takeaway

Now that you know how to optimize your search engine marketing strategy, it’s time to put this into action.

Always remember that SEO and PPC are tactics that work better together, not separately. Keep an open mind, use valuable data meaningfully, and analyze where your company is in its life cycle. Aside from that, never stop researching new ways to make current strategies better. Only then can you give your company’s website the best chance of being successful.


How to Perform Keyword Research Using Google Trends

Keyword research is a fundamental SEO strategy that allows you to find the best ways to search your website and craft pages for your content marketing. The challenge is finding the ideal keywords that not only fit your niche but also have a sizeable volume that makes it searchable on Google.

This can be accomplished by using various keyword research tools that will help you identify highly searchable and competitive keywords. While these tools are effective, they can be costly, especially when you are looking to use premium features. Thankfully, Google offers a free tool that can help you with keyword research — Google Trends.

 

How to do keyword research using Google Trends

Google Trends is a tool that keeps track of the most popular trends, terms, events, and personalities that are being searched on Google. The ability to monitor these popular trends makes it a great place to find the right keywords that will help you in your content marketing. Here is how you can do keyword research using Google Trends to help you create high traffic content.

 

Find upward and downward trends

One of the best ways to get started with keyword research using Google Trends is to enter a keyword of your choice and take a look at its popularity and significance over a certain time period. For this example, I’ll be taking a look at the keyword “Halloween” and see how it has fared over the last five years.

Halloween Google Trends

Since this is a seasonal keyword, Halloween consistently gets a rising amount of traffic during October of every year. This is a great example of how interest fluctuates over time, allowing you to see which keywords would provide you with better results.

Along with upward trends, you can also use Google Trends to check if a topic has seen a decline in interest as well. This downward trend is common for a variety of fads and trends that have emerged over the years. Take a look at Planking, for instance, which peaked in popularity around 2011 and has been in decline ever since.

Planking Google Trends

While Google Trends does not show you metrics such as search volume, search interest is still a great indicator of how popular and searchable a keyword is, allowing you to find ones that you can create content for.

 

Focus on consistently popular keywords and terms

When it comes to finding the best keywords, it is best to look for one that has been consistently searchable and popular for a long time. This will help you create content that would be able to generate a high amount of traffic. Depending on your area of specialization, it is best to find related terms and topics under the same niche to allow you to create a wide variety of content.

Digital Marketing Google Trends

For this example, we want to create content about digital marketing — a topic that not only has consistent interest and traffic but is also one that has become increasingly popular as well.

If you want an effective way to rank up using your content, focus on well-known keywords and create helpful and useful evergreen blog posts as they have the best potential to provide a very steady amount of traffic.

 

Compare keywords and trends with each other

One of the best features of Google Trends is the ability to compare keywords and trends with each other to see how their interest and searchability has fared over a number of months and years. In this example, we pit two very popular brands, Coca Cola and Pepsi, against each other.

Coca Cola and Pepsi

As you can see, comparing two keywords or terms together helps you see the ups and downs of its search popularity. You can use this information to further narrow down your keyword choices and find ones that would perform better for your niche. This is also a great competitor analysis tool, as you can track competitor keyword performance, and compare it with your own set of keywords to see if your strategies and campaigns are successful.

 

Look at related topics and queries

Aside from the upward and downward trends of keywords and terms, you can also use Google Trends to look at related topics and queries. This will help you explore more topics related to your niche and craft an even wider array of content.

Let’s try finding keyword variations and related terms by searching for the term “Digital Marketing” and select worldwide results for a more comprehensive view.

Related Topics and Related Queries

As you can see, related topics and queries can help you find new topics to explore. In this case, you can create content focused on digital marketing trends, digital marketing media, or even the fundamentals of digital marketing.

Related Queries Google Trends

You can also delve deeper into topics and queries that you might be able to write about or use as a keyword for your website. The amount of data that Google Trends provides allows you to create a comprehensive list of topics and keywords that you can center your SEO and content marketing campaign around.

 

Key Takeaway

Google Trends is a versatile tool that can be utilized for content marketing and keyword research. By following these steps, finding ideal keywords and crafting high-traffic content is now much easier.


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