If you have been doing SEO for a decade, then you might have seen SEO evolve in front of your eyes. Gone are the days when you can rank on the first page of Google by stuffing keywords in your page content. Search engines have become smarter and consider hundreds of ranking factors before ranking pages.
Search Engine Ranking Pages have also changed drastically in the last ten years. Here is what SERPs used to look like in 2008.
Here is what SERPs looks like today.
In in 2008, SERPs consisted of only paid ads and organic results but today it is loaded with new SERP elements such as knowledge graph, featured snippets, image carousels, videos and even questions people might have asked.
In this article, you will learn about six strategies for SEO that will help you dominate search engine result pages.
1. Create Hyper-Targeted Content
Every buyer is different and so do their needs. That is why it is important to create content for specific needs instead of creating generic content based on a “one size fits all” formula. In SEO terms, this means that you should focus on ranking for specific long-tail keywords instead of targeting broad terms. Ranking for long-tail keywords will help you attract the right audience, which is more likely to convert and buy from your brand than traffic coming to your website through broad terms. The good news for businesses is that it is easier to rank for these long-tail keywords as compared to generic terms.
2. Optimize for Voice Search
According to ComScore, 50% of all searches will be voice-based by 2020. With the growing popularity of virtual assistants, smart speakers and voice-enabled gadgets; we will see more people using voice as a preferred mode of input for performing a search online. From a business standpoint, you will have to understand the difference between text-based and voice-based queries and optimize your content for voice search.
Here are five ways to optimize your website for voice search.
- Answer questions
- Use structured data markup
- Claim and update your business listings
- Think local
- Go responsive
3. Target Featured Snippets
According to a study conducted by JumpShot and
SparkToro, 50% of all searches end without a click. This clearly shows that zero clicks searches are rising. Unfortunately, this trend will continue to grow as search engines look to fulfill searcher needs without having to click on any link.
This is bad news for businesses as their organic traffic will decline. On the positive note, they have more spots to target on SERPs. You can rank on featured snippets, knowledge graphs, image carousels and videos.
There are three different types of featured snippets
- Paragraph snippets
- List snippets
- Table snippets
4. Focus on CTR and Dwell Time
Search engines also consider user signals and metrics before ranking web pages. For instance, if your website is ranking on number two spot and your competitor is on the number one spot, the search engine can promote your website to the top spot and demote the competitor website to number two spot especially if the users are not clicking on the competitor search results despite being on the top.
A high bounce rate is another indicator that the searcher has not got the results they are looking for so they are abandoning your website seconds after landing on it. If a top rank result has a high bounce rate, it sends search engines a signal that it does not satisfy the user and hence does not deserve the top spot. As a result, the search engine will push that result down its search rankings.
5. Take Advantage of E-A-T
E-A-T stands for:
- E = Expertise
- A = Authoritativeness
- T = Trustworthiness
These are three main characteristics Google uses when evaluating your content, according to Quality Rater Guidelines. If you want your content to rank higher on search engines, you will have to share your expertise, establish yourself as an authority in your industry and foster trust.
For this, you should get backlinks from high authority websites or brand mentions from authoritative sources. Submit guest posts on other websites and create content that people would like to link back to. Support your arguments with facts and data. Don’t forget to add an author bio highlighting the expertise of the author. This will make it easy for Google to recognize the author as an expert in a domain.
6. Update Old Content for User Intent
Last but certainly not the least is to breathe a new lease of life into your old content by updating it according to user intent. You might have already published dozens of blog posts but very few of them perform well. Do you know why this happens? It happens because your content fails to satisfy user intent. With search engines aiming to provide relevant results that match search intent, your content will not rank.
Even if you do manage to attract a lot of visitors to your website, most of them tend to bounce off your website by hitting the back button because you drew the wrong people. That is why user intent is critical, especially if you want to attract relevant traffic to your website. For updating old content, you will have to know everything about your searcher. Create a topic cluster and cover topics in-depth so it fulfills the searcher intent.
Which SEO strategies do you use to outrank your competitor? Share it with us in the comments section below.