How many times have you heard the age-old advice that each page on your website is an opportunity to rank in search engines, and having a site with 100 pages is ten times more likely to rank, than a website with 10 pages?
Probably a lot.
That's because website ranking on Google use to rely on the idea that in order for your website to perform well in search, you need to publish content around long-tailed keywords frequently and consistently.
That tactic no longer works.
Because Google RankBrain changed the search game.
But fear not, fellow inbound marketer! This post (and accompanying video) covers five tips that you can start using today to optimize your website and increase top rankings and traffic.
Optimize your web pages around medium-tailed keywords and topics
Increase click-through rates by adding power words in your title and description tag
Write comprehensive, in-depth and useful content
After you finish writing the first draft of your post, go back through and include LSI Keywords
Make your content easier to read by breaking it into bite-sized chunks
We'll break these each down individually, but first...
Why did Google Create RankBrain?
A couple years ago, Google had a big problem:
15 percent of the keywords that were typed into Google had never been seen before.
At first, that may not seem like a lot...
But when you process billions of searches per day, that amounts to 450 million keywords that Google had never seen.
Today, Google uses a machine learning system called RankBrain. It is artificial intelligence designed to interpret language and understand what you’re asking. Which provides a more accurate set of results.
According to a Bloomberg report, RankBrain is now the 3rd most important ranking factor. It follows links and content.
So what exactly does it do?
RankBrain is designed to do two things:
- Interpret search queries that people are searching
- Measure how people interact with the results
Let's take a closer look at how Google may use RankBrain to measure the way people interact with web pages:
- RankBrain measures how long someone spends on your page, before going back to search again - this is known as dwell time.
- RankBrain looks at the percentage of people that click on your result - this interaction is know as click-through rate.
Keep in mind that dwell time and click-through rate are only going to apply to pages that are getting clicked on through search results.
If your site isn't ranking on the first page of a topic search query, it's unlikely people will click on it.
For pages that do rank on the first page, dwell time could be the factor that impacts your ranking within the top three positions.
Let's break this down...
According to a recent study by Search Metrics, the average dwell time for a site within the top 10 Google search results is 3 minutes and 10 seconds.
The study also found that the pages ranking in the top 1-3 spots, have an average click-through rate of 36 percent.
And, the average bounce rate for the first page results in Google is 46 percent.
What does this all mean?
According to SEO expert Brian Dean, optimizing for long-tailed keyword searches is dead.
Because RankBrain now understands how to recognize related search queries and can show nearly identical search results for both of them - even though they use different long-tail keywords.
Which brings us to...
RankBrain Techniques for Inbound Marketing in 2018:
Optimize Web Pages Around Medium-Tailed Keywords and Topics
Medium-tailed keywords are search terms that are not too specific, but also not too broad. You don't want your keyword to only get a handful of searches, but on the other hand, you also don't want it to be too broad that it gets an overwhelming variety of audiences. Both of these factors can make it next to impossible to rank.
So how do you go about finding medium-tailed keywords?
Step 1: Use Google Keyword Planner and search a broad seed topic like "digital marketing"
Step 2: Sort the results by average monthly searches
In the past, you may have targeted a long-tailed keyword like: "digital marketing for small business."
Instead, look for a medium-tailed keyword topic like "what is digital marketing."
Which brings us to our next Google RankBrain tip...
Add Power Words to the Title and Description Tags
These include words like:
- Right now
- Works quickly
A study by HubSpot found that by adding these types of power words in brackets at the end of your headline can increase your click-through rate by 38 percent on average.
Now on to another tip...
Write Comprehensive, In-Depth and Useful Content
Since RankBrain made focusing on long-tailed keywords obsolete and medium-tailed keywords ideal, there's a lot more content to cover.
How much more content?
As a guideline, publish content that’s at least 2,000 words. That way you cover everything a searcher needs to know about that topic.
In a ranking factors study done by Brian Dean, long-form content (like ultimate guides and long-form blog posts) outranked short articles in Google:
Writing in-depth content leads us to our next tip...
Go Through Your Post and Add LSI Keywords
What does that mean?
LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing
LSI Keywords are words and phrases that are strongly associated with your page’s topic.
Here's how to find them:
Type your keyword topic into Google and you'll see a list of related topics start to appear under the search box.
What you're seeing is Google's "suggest feature" in action.
These are frequently related searches that are semantically related to your topic.
If you scroll to the bottom of the page, you'll see many of these same suggestions, but you also may find a few new suggestions that you'll want to include.
These are your LSI keywords.
Now we're on to the final tip - one that a lot of people get wrong...
Break Content Into Bite-Sized Chunks
Keeping your visitors engaged with your content is essential to top rankings in search because of dwell time.
Writing long paragraphs and in big blocks of text are difficult to skim and read.
When it comes to writing for the web, you want to make your content as skimmable as possible.
Most people will quickly skim over an article first to try to understand the value it provides, and if they think it's going to give the answers they are looking for, they go back and read it more closely.
So with that in mind...
Writing in one to two sentence blocks makes skimming and reading easier to do.
Long form, bite-sized content mixed with images, graphics and step-by-step instructions make your content more attractive, which in turn keeps your visitors engaged, on your site longer and more likely to come back more frequently.
So there you have it
Those are the five tips to make your content more RankBrain-friendly for top-performing search results.
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Now it's your turn...
Which tips from this video do you find most helpful?
Which tip are you going to try to implement first?
Are you going to try to use "Power Words" or "LSI Keywords"?
Let us know in the comments below!