Like meteorologists predicting storms, SEO professionals try to interpret the whims of search engine algorithms and optimise content accordingly. That might sound like a strange comparison and a strange place to start, but you can take it from us that predicting how Google will react to your SEO attempts is no easier than predicting the weather.
Over time, SEO experts develop tools and techniques to achieve their desired results. However, these practices are often kept close to the chest, cloaked in professional jargon, or simply not widely shared. Well, the curtain’s about to rise because we’re about to make ourselves unpopular with the professionals by giving away the SEO tactics the pros have been holding back.
Power Up with Semantic SEO
Semantic SEO involves optimising content around topics, not just individual keywords. Google has advanced significantly in understanding context, relationships between words, and user intent. It’s also got a lot better at understanding when a website or page holds no value besides being stuffed with keywords. Semantic SEO acknowledges this development and optimises content accordingly. Try to focus on building content clusters around your topic. This approach not only satisfies Google’s RankBrain but also provides comprehensive content for your readers.
Go Beyond Text with Visual Search Optimisation
Visual search is gaining traction. Google Lens, Pinterest Lens, and Bing Visual Search are just a few examples of this growing trend. Ensure your images are high-quality, have descriptive filenames, and make use of the “alt text” feature to optimise for visual search. When we say “make use of alt text,” don’t make the same mistake that far too many big brands have made by misusing the alt text content for cheap gimmicks or stunts. Augmented reality is also finally in the “here and now” bracket after spending years as a developing technology, so consider how your content can be tailored to fit into this new reality.
Tune in to Podcast SEO
Podcasts have skyrocketed in popularity recently, and search engines have noticed. Google, for example, has started to index podcasts and even include them in search results. If you have a podcast, ensure it’s transcribed to allow search engines to understand and rank your content. Leveraging podcast directories like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts can also boost your SEO. That means you can make use of the benefits of podcast SEO by linking to them even if your chosen industry has nothing to do with podcasts – you just have to be a little clever about it.
Invest in Passage Ranking
Google’s Passage Ranking was a game-changer when it came out. This feature allows Google to consider specific passages from a page independently when determining relevance to a search query. This means every passage counts. Ensure each section of your content is high-quality, detailed, and contextually relevant. If you’re not sure what passage ranking is or how best to take advantage of it, here’s a handy guide.
Harness the Power of Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals is a set of factors Google considers important in a webpage’s overall user experience. These include loading speed), interactivity, and visual stability, although it’s important to remember that there are others. Optimising for these vitals not only helps with SEO but also improves user experience, reducing bounce rates and potentially increasing conversions. If you can improve SEO and sales at the same time, you’re doing a great job.
Understand Schema Markup
While Schema Markup isn’t new, it’s horrendously underused and often misunderstood. This form of microdata helps search engines interpret your content more accurately. This could result in rich snippets or interactive features in search results, leading to a higher click-through rate. If you have no idea what we mean by “Schema Markup,” it’s worth your time to research it. Find out what it is and how it could help you.
Focus on User Intent, Not Just Keywords
Google’s BERT update (something else you should look into if you’ve never come across it before) pushed SEO towards focusing on user intent. Today, it’s essential to consider why someone would be using a particular search query and what they’re hoping to find. Use this understanding to guide your content creation, and you’ll find yourself more aligned with Google’s algorithms. As flawed as the algorithms often are, they’re geared towards recognising and rewarding organic content. That’s where you ought to be headed, too.
Optimise for Featured Snippets
A featured snippet is a summary of an answer to a user’s query, displayed directly on the Google search results page in the most prominent position. It’s what the user sees first before they see all the ordered search results. In short, it’s where you want your content to show up. While securing a featured snippet can be competitive, the visibility is worth the effort. Provide clear, concise answers to commonly asked questions in your field to increase your chances. There’s no surefire method, but precision is absolutely the key.
Predict Trends Before They Happen
Allow us to regale you with a tale from the enormously competitive world of iGaming. Sometime close to the end of 2019, a casino company performed an experiment. They guessed – correctly, as it turned out – that fans of casinos would soon start searching for the precise term “casino 2020” – or terms very close to it – in the hope of discovering the best new casino sites to play at in 2020. To take advantage of that expected traffic, they created Casino 2020. The experiment worked so well that it not only resulted in traffic for the new casino but also boosted traffic for all the Casino 2020 sister sites. You might not be willing or able to create a new casino site to take advantage of an expected trend, but you could definitely create a specific page for your website – and that could work just as well.
Don’t Forget About Voice Search SEO
With the rise of digital assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant, optimising for voice search is more important than ever. Incorporating long-tail keywords, focusing on local SEO, and maintaining a conversational tone can help you rank in voice searches. This comes back to what we were saying about organic, “chatty” text. The days of being able to plaster keywords or search terms all over the place are long gone, and if you’re still doing it, that’s why your page isn’t ranking.
Mastering these lesser-known yet potent SEO tips can set your website apart in the ever-evolving world of SEO. Embrace the continual learning curve of SEO, and you’ll find that in an ocean of content, it’s the most innovative sailors who discover new lands.