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Tags: google | ranking | search engine | SEO

Why Ranking Highly on Google Is Harder Than Ever

Why Ranking Highly on Google Is Harder Than Ever

 (AP/Paul Sakuma)

Juliette Fairley By Friday, 10 February 2017 12:13 PM Current | Bio | Archive

With the top five search results accounting for some 67% of all clicks, according to an Advanced Web Ranking study, scoring high on Google is big business.

“At the end of the day, if you're not in the first one or two pages of search results, you're not anywhere,” said Cliff Edwards, director of marketing and communications with Searchmetrics.

It used to be that keywords in the headline, title and description could catapult a brand to the top spot of a search page but ranking first on Google just got harder.

“Google is looking beyond just who links to you and who's sharing your content on social media,” said John McDougall, founder of Authority Marketing and author of Web Marketing On All Cylinders.  “They want to know whose blog is comprehensive and insightful compared to the entrepreneur who merely hires someone to write 500 words once a week.”

Lately, websites with the highest content relevance rank in the top 3 to 6 positions, according to a Google optimization study called Rebooting Ranking Factors by Searchmetrics.

“Content is king,” said Zac Carman, CEO of ConsumerAffairs. “The more relevant it is to a consumer’s intention, the higher a brand will rank in a search.”

Google announced that content, links and RankBrain were the top three ranking signals in 2016, which indicates that the days of manual updates are officially over.

“Now CEOs need to be thinking about a variety of factors from the depth and relevance of their content, the click-through rate in the search results on their listings, the user experience of their website, how fast their pages load as well as continuing to keep up with link and supportive social signals,” McDougall told Newsmax Finance.

A machine and deep learning function, RankBrain operates in real time, adapting search results to best serve each query and because search engine leaders like Google, Safari and Bing are fine tuning relevance with artificial intelligence, brands are also turning to artificial intelligence fields to stay competitive.

“Determining your customer’s intention borders on mind reading, which is why ConsumerAffairs invests so much in search optimization techniques in relation to artificial intelligence, deep learning and machine learning,” Carman told Newsmax Finance.

ConsumerAffairs is not alone in its artificial intelligence R&D. Amazon, Facebook, Google, IBM and Microsoft formed the Partnership on AI, a non-profit that conducts research on ethics and best practices of AI and advances public understanding of the subject.

“As we enter this new era of deep learning, on the road to artificial intelligence, search engines are getting much smarter at understanding exactly what consumers are trying to get out of an online query,” Edwards told Newsmax Finance.

Deep Learning is a sub category of Machine learning, which is the practice of gathering information about a consumer’s decision making process based on the various digital properties their website browser is landing on.

“These deep learning and recommendation engines in the advertising space retarget consumers online so that even if you don’t follow through with a purchase, brands are able to remarket to you with their products and services,” said Darren McDougal, a director with the recruitment firm Kaye Bassman International.

Google reportedly paid $400 million to acquire a deep learning startup called DeepMind Technologies.

“Google’s Rankbrain project is about getting machines to think like humans,” Edwards said. “What do people mean with a search query, and in what context? If I type in a search for “dinner,” for example, I might be looking for recipes on a desktop computer and places nearby to eat on a smartphone or tablet.”

Entrepreneurs, influencers, bloggers and the like can get in on the ground floor and increase their chances of landing on the first page of a search related to their products and services by adopting the following prescribed measures:

A one size fits all strategy is outdated.

Brands that use the same content for desktop, mobile and social media are losing visibility in search rankings. “Consumers are looking for very specific things these days,” said Carman. “Optimize your brand site to answer questions, not just to rank, sell or inform people.”

Refresh content frequently

Dubbed agile content development, Searchmetrics experts advise either creating new content that’s relevant and engaging or refreshing existing content by linking it to a newsworthy event so that it appears new.

“Relevancy reigns supreme when content illuminates the benefits of working with your company,” McDougal told Newsmax Finance. Online content such as industry insight white papers, news, press releases, new product and team announcements about the business are examples of relevant content that drives brand visibility.

“Google increasingly penalizes old information, which is forcing online marketers to think of new ways to keep their content engaging and relevant, either with constant updates and revisions or entirely new ways of presenting information,” Edwards said.

What ranked at the top of Google's news section for almost the whole day that Prince died was a Rolling Stone article from the past that had been made relevant by an introduction that was added at the top of the page stating that the article was an in depth interview with Prince, according to Edwards.

“The signals were that even though the article was old people were actually reading it and finding it interesting,” said Edwards.

The emergence of dwell time as a ranking factor

Dwell time is the difference in minutes or seconds when a consumer clicks on a listed website and returns back to the search engine results page.

The indication when consumers back track immediately to the search results is that the website isn’t relevant.

“Dwell time is a good indication of whether or not your readers are responding well to your content. The longer the dwell time on your website from Google’s search page, the higher you are regarded by Google and the more you move up in the results page,” Carman said.

Create Content specifically for VOICE

Customers have tripled their use of voice capabilities online in the past 18 months, according to Baidu, which means that consumers are increasingly talking to their computers using Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana or Google’s voice-responsive features.

“There is no real time, on demand shopping option yet but it is coming,” said Carman. “We’re preparing for it at ConsumerAffairs by developing a voice compatible matching wizard, which will act a lot like Amazon Echo, matching goods with relevant reviews in real time whenever shoppers search our website.”

When it comes to voice by video, companies that upload their information to YouTube are far more likely to get noticed by Google, since the search engine acquired YouTube more than ten years ago for $1.65 billion.

“As Google adds new way to search, including voice, and delivers answers in different ways – through videos, Tweets, Knowledge Graph answers and images – marketers have to rethink how they reach consumers online,” said Edwards.

For example, a search to find out Tom Cruise’s birthday that lands on an Instagram photo or Youtube video of the actor at a party celebrating his 50th would be one way to stand out in search engine results.

Increase exposure by sourcing knowledge graphs

Introduced in 2012, Google’s Knowledge Graph instantly presents information about landmarks, celebrities, cities, sports teams, buildings, geographical features, movies, celestial objects, works of art and other articles of interest once they are searched

“The goal of knowledge graphs is to be the direct answer for a search query,” said Carman.

The potential downside however is that the person searching may not necessarily click on the sponsor that posted on the graph.

Juliette Fairley is an author, lecturer and TV host based in New York.

© 2022 Newsmax Finance. All rights reserved.

With the top five search results accounting for some 67% of all clicks, according to an Advanced Web Ranking study, scoring high on Google is big business.
google, ranking, search engine, SEO
Friday, 10 February 2017 12:13 PM
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