How Organic Search Is Changing
The adage "content is king" still holds today. But what does that mean exactly? In short, you must produce rich, unique, original content that people want to read, watch, listen to, and interact with. And while there's no denying that content is important, it's just one part of the equation.
In fact, according to Moz, the most successful sites outrank their competitors because they're able to attract traffic organically. They do this by creating great content that resonates with their target audience. This content drives leads and sales and helps businesses build trust and credibility.
So how can we capitalize on this trend? We've seen some amazing examples of brands succeeding online without resorting to traditional SEO tactics. Here are three ways you can use organic search to grow your business.
- Create engaging content. If you wanted to succeed in 2017, you need to start thinking like a publisher. Your goal isn't to publish content; rather, it's to engage and entertain your readers. If you don't provide value, your visitors won't stick around long enough to convert into customers.
- Focus on your customer experience. You already know that your customers are searching for products and services online. So why aren't you providing them with what they're looking for? Instead of focusing on keywords, focus on your customer experience. Provide helpful information, useful resources, and real solutions to problems.
Why care about Google?
Google is the world's largest search engine, accounting for almost 90% of all internet searches. So it makes sense that many people are concerned about how Google ranks webpages. But why do we care? What does Google do? And how much control do you have?
The answer is complicated. There are lots of different factors that go into determining where a webpage appears in Google's search results. Some factors include the number of times a site has been linked to other sites, the popularity of keywords used, and whether the site contains certain words or phrases.
But there's another factor that's often overlooked: Google itself. Google's algorithms determine what information gets displayed on each search result. This includes the text shown on the page, images, videos, and even ads that might appear alongside the search results.
So while Google's algorithms are important, understanding exactly how they work is challenging. We'll explain what they're doing behind the scenes and how you can use this knowledge to optimize your website.
Google Changes the Look of Paid and Organic Search Results on Desktop
Last year, our search results for mobile devices got a makeover. We're rolling out the same changes to desktop search results this week. We've added an "Ad" label to show you where the ad came from and changed how organic results are displayed.
Here's what the old look looked like:
And here's what the new look looks like:
The biggest change is that the organic results no longer include a favicon. Instead, there's just a logo.
We'll continue testing this over the coming weeks and months, so please let us know your thoughts.
Changes to Paid Search Results
Google announced changes to how its search ad units work on a desktop. One big change is that the "Ad" label is no longer green; it's now black and bolded. This makes it easier to spot, especially since the larger label sits atop the headline.
Another major change is that the URL is displayed above the headline text. Previously, the URL was hidden behind the headline text. Now, the URL is visible, making it easy to copy and paste into another browser window.
The third major change is that the color scheme for the ad unit is now consistent across both mobile and desktop. Previously, the ad unit was different depending on whether you searched on desktop or mobile.
Finally, there's one small change to how the ad unit looks on the desktop. Instead of having the words "Sponsored Links" in a box, the ad unit now says "Advertisement." This change is fine, but some people might need clarification.
Changes to Organic Search Results
Google rolled out several major changes to how it displays organic search results. One of those changes included moving the URL next to the page title and making it black rather than green. Another change includes adding favicons to desktop searches, giving site owners another way to optimize their sites.
The most noticeable change, however, is the addition of a dropdown menu to the left side of the search bar. This menu contains different categories like news, videos, images, etc., allowing searchers to see what type of content they want to find.
Another big change is that Google has removed the "organic" label from the URL next to the search box. Instead, the URL appears above the page title and is colored black.
This change is being implemented across desktop search results, meaning you'll notice the same changes on the desktop and mobile devices.
Why care about SEO?
Understanding how search engines work and what makes good web content is critical to success online. Here are some reasons why we think you should care about SEO:
- Web content optimized for search engine crawlers can bring highly qualified traffic to your brand's website. This improves your content's reach and helps build trust among potential customers.
- Web content optimized for searchers can become a valuable "evergreen" asset. As your site grows, the quality of your content continues to improve, making it more useful and relevant to future visitors.
- A well-optimized website can help attract new customers and increase conversions. Search engines like Google prioritize sites that provide high-quality content and ensure that your site appears near the top of search results.
- If you optimize your site correctly, you'll see increased visibility in search results, meaning more people will find your content.
- You can use SEO to generate leads for your business. You'll encourage prospective buyers to contact you directly by providing helpful resources and answering questions.
- Your site's performance in search rankings can affect your bottom line. In fact, according to one study, companies that ranked better in search results saw an average return on investment of $17 per dollar spent.
Actionable steps to organically rank content
Google's core algorithm updates are coming soon. We know it's happening now. And while there's no way to predict exactly what changes might come next, you can prepare yourself for the future by taking action today. Here are five key things you need to do to start ranking for Google in 12 months.
1. Focus on user intent
According to Search Engine Land, Google wants to help people find what they are looking for rather than show ads. This is why it uses search intent.
For example, if someone searches for the "best vacuum cleaner," Google knows that person probably wants to buy a vacuum cleaner. Therefore, it serves up relevant ads, such as reviews and comparisons.
Google does this because it understands that most people don't want to see ads. They want to know the products and where to purchase them.
So, if you're a brand trying to dominate organic search, focus on providing quality content that helps users solve problems. If you provide great content, Google will reward you with better rankings.
2. Produce site-wide quality content
To increase your blog's traffic, you must produce high-quality content. But how do you know if your content is good enough to rank? And how do you ensure you're creating the same type of content across your entire site? If you do, you could end up with many low-quality articles that could perform better in search engines. To avoid this scenario, here are some tips to follow:
- Look at the competition. You'll notice that certain topics dominate the search results for a given keyword. For example, "best dog food" might return a lot of sites about pet foods, while "best dog treats" returns mostly reviews of different brands. You can use this information to determine which content works best for your niche.
- Use data. Use tools like Google Analytics to see which pages receive the most visits and conversions. Then, look at the average bounce rates for each page. A lower bounce rate indicates that visitors stay on the page longer, which usually means that the page provides value.
- Make sure your content is unique. If you find yourself writing the same thing repeatedly, consider hiring someone else to write the content for you. Or, you can hire freelancers to provide guest posts on your site. Either way, make sure that your content is unique. Don't copy and paste something from another source; try to add your spin.
3. Consider localizing content
Local SEO is increasingly important, especially in light of recent changes to Google Maps. In fact, according to a study conducted by Moz, nearly half of searchers use location information when deciding where to shop, eat, or buy products.
Therefore, optimizing your site content for local search is critical. However, more is needed to add a few keywords to your existing content; you must ensure that your content is optimized for local searches. This includes adding appropriate locations, images, and videos and soliciting and responding to reviews.
In addition, you must set up and optimize your Google My Business account. You can create a listing for each location, including photos, descriptions, hours of operation, and contact information.
You can also make sure that your Google Places page is complete. For example, you can include your physical address, phone number, email address, and social media profiles.
Finally, you can use local citations such as Yelp, Foursquare, and Facebook. These citations allow customers to find businesses based on specific criteria, such as price range, distance, or type of product/service.
4. Pay attention to quality rater guidelines.
Google doesn't just use search bots to crawl the Web and find relevant information. About 40% of searches on Google come from humans. Those people are known as "quality raters."
Quality raters aren't employees of Google; rather, they're real people who take on the task of reviewing the accuracy of Google's search results. This helps Google understand how well its algorithms work.
However, quality raters only sometimes provide accurate feedback. For example, they might see spammy sites ranked highly because they've been optimized for keywords. Or they could miss important information like local businesses that don't appear in search results.
To address this issue, Google introduced quality raters in 2016. Now, each month, Google sends out a list of queries that quality raters can choose to complete. You can sign up here to help improve the quality of Google's search results.
Google Search Central Blog recently posted some parting thoughts about how brands can use paid search to complement their efforts in organic search. In particular, the blog post focused on creating high-quality content that ranks well organically. However, many ways to improve your rankings without paying for ads exist. For example, you could focus on producing great content people want to read, engage with, and link to. You could also ensure your site is mobile-friendly, optimized for voice searches, and responsive. Finally, you could increase the time visitors spend on your site. These tips might help you rank better organically, but they will only lead to increased conversions.
December 30, 2022