An In-Depth Look at The Changes We Have Witnessed So Far!
There is no dearth of websites on the Internet, and the only way you can make yours stand out is through proper optimization. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that SEO or search engine optimization has gained prominence over the years. It is the process of updating your website in a way that makes it appear in the top ranks of Google search results.
You can only achieve your desired position in the SERPs when you understand the factors that determine page ranks. Most definitions of SEO often come off as an oversimplification of the various complex processes that it entails. As per Google, there are over 200 different factors that govern the performance of a website in the SRLs. These factors determine the fate of your site and your revenue at the moment.
Google and its role in changing the face of SEO
Google rolls out significant updates every couple of years, and the search engine giant keeps updating its existing algorithm almost regularly. The algorithm we encounter today has been around for years. In 2013, Google dubbed it Hummingbird. This update has enabled the search engine to "understand" the search terms. It has been so for quite some time. Google does not show search results bearing the exact search terms anymore. The SRL contains hits with possible synonyms, variations of the word and contextual references.
Hummingbird has other parts with dedicated features including Panda, Penguin, Payday, and Pigeon. People who are familiar with SEO have not only come across these names, but they also know how to optimize their website and blog content to stay relevant in today's fierce competition.
Insight into the newest Google algorithm
RankBrain is the latest addition to Google algorithms. It does not handle all the web searches, and it only learns when it is offline. It is a machine learning AI system that the search engine uses right now to process its regular searches better. Google handles over 3 billion searches per day, and over 15% of it is new queries. RankBrain helps Google to break down the more complex questions into translation-friendly terms that the search algorithm can understand. At least in the case of RankBrain, the terms machine learning and artificial intelligence are interchangeable.
RankBrain is not an algorithm
RankBrain might not be THE search engine algorithm, but it provides a way of sorting through millions of pages in search of particular ranking signals. There are over 100,000 subsidiary signals that also contribute to website ranking. The newest and the most sophisticated part of Google search algorithm is also the third most important ranking factor. The impact of RankBrain on ranking is quite subdued as of now. It gives you more time to focus on your keyword research, semantic searches, and content quality. With this added layer of sophistication to the ever-changingGoogle algorithm, you need to pay extra attention to the content of your website and blog. During no other time has it been more important to know what your target audience is searching for and how you can offer the same.
The two leading signals that determine Google search results
Google has never clarified which factors rank first and second in deciding ranks, but as per the latest updates from the team, links and content are the two leading signals that determine page rank. Your aim should be to highlight your website content to impact SEO positively and to facilitate crawling by Google Bots.
You need to know that your users will not always land on your homepage. Every webpage in your domain can be a potential landing page. That is why the three click rule is fundamental. Studies show that if your visitor does not find what he is looking for within the first three clicks, he will just bounce. So, keep an easily accessible index in the sidebars, prioritize internal links, provide outbound links to explore more related content, and help all users find the content they need on your website.
Most marketers and SEO experts discount keywords in the URL as a ranking signal. It is a fatal mistake! Google even takes into account internal anchor texts that are rich in targeted keywords. In fact, it is a combination of two of the most critical ranking signals, and as a result, the introduction of one anchor text with the keyword to another internal webpage often has a significant effect on keyword-specific webpage ranking on Google.
RankBrain - an old yet very new concept
It shows that Google RankBrain is conquerable. It has been around for almost two years now. There is enough data that can help us understand the demands of the new AI system for ranking. It is a significant leap from Knowledge Graph. Google launched this system back in 2012 to update its understanding of objects, places, and people. Right now, the search engine leader uses the information from Knowledge Graph to answer voice searches on Google Assistant.
This system has helped Google to collect billions of pieces of data over the last five years and answer millions of questions over the years. However, Knowledge Graph still lacked the quality to "understand" the link between the data like a human user. RankBrain has humanized Google searches as per the recent search trends, keyword uses, and long-tail keyword trends. It is always growing and always learning from the databases.
The take-home message
Here are a few things that will help you decode the SEO success stories of 2018:
- Right now, you need to understand and accept that RankBrain has an immense influence on Google SERP.
- It might be difficult to please, but it is not impossible.
- It is NOT a natural language processor or an NLP. It is close to becoming one, but it surely is not there yet.
- It still relies on a database of queries, related terms, and relationships to pull relevant results.
Remember the time we used to write exclusively for the site crawlers and keyword signals? You need to forget that and start afresh. Forget writing for bots. Write as naturally as you can in a fluid style and conversational tone. Do not write for specific keywords. Write on a particular theme that may center on the keyword requirement. Pay lots of attention to content quality, authenticity, and semantics. Google’s new AI update has ushered in an era of humanized searches, and it is time to start meeting the latest algorithm update with more refined content.