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5 Ideas To Supercharge Your SEO

The SEO landscape is ever changing. 2018 seems to be all about user intent, UX and mobile friendliness with a much more diluted approach to some of the old SEO metrics such as keyword density, bulk link building and landing pages made directly for variations of keywords.

As an SEO with over 10 years of experience I have noticed that some changes are announced with many months of warning, whilst some a subtly introduced and only noticed when a drop in rankings and rise in competitor rankings, makes you delve deeper.

Here I highlight some of the changes Google has announced and some of the less noticeable observations I have noticed.

Mobile First

Let’s start with an easy one the mobile first index. With the prominence of mobile searches over desktop searches, it was only a matter of time before Google decided to prioritise sites with a good overall mobile-friendly layout than ones that were difficult to read. For a number of years now Google has been advising that mobile-friendly sites would get a benefit on mobile devices. However, this meant keeping two separate Google indexes, one for desktop and one for mobile. This was always going to be a short-term measure and Google announced that in the beginning of this year, they will start to roll out the mobile first index. This basically means if you have a desktop site and a mobile site, your visibility in Google will be measured on how your site looks in a mobile.

RankBrain

Rank Brain has been labelled the third most important ranking signal by Google themselves, so I am quite surprised not a lot of people are talking about it. RankBrain is all about machine learning, to measure whether the page 1 listings for a search term are the most relevant. Google used to do this by a manual review whereby by an employee would have a manual set of criteria and review page 1 listings to make sure they fulfilled the checklist requirements. As you can imagine this took a considerable amount of time and with the increase in machine learning technology, Google found a way to automate the process. This is now done by using data such as click-through rates from a Google search, the amount of time a user spends reading content (dwell time) and of course bounce rate.

Keyword Cannibalisation

This is on the more obscure updates. According to Neil from digital marketing agency AMA“Keyword cannibalisation happens when two or more pages are optimised for the same keyword and Google is unsure of which page to rank. Before link building became a difficult task this problem didn’t exist.” You would basically throw links at the pages you wanted to rank and Google would see this as the authority page. These days though Google has only the content to go on, and if you have similar keywords across many pages, you could see Google making its own mind about which page to rank and your visibility taking a nose dive. If it doesn’t make sense to have a page, I would always recommend a longer piece of content, then many different pages, trying to rank for similar themes.

Keyword Density

This is one of my own based on the research I carry out daily. It used to be a rule of thumb that keyword density for a keyword should be around 3% of the overall text. Now, keyword density is pretty old hat but I have found even a 2% keyword density can suffer. To get around this I would suggest reading your page like a user would. Are the keywords mentioned in places that make the paragraph sound robotic or repetitive? Is your content the most authoritative in its niche? If not then this just goes back to machine learning and AI. Forget algorithms and concentrate more on user experience.

UX and UI

And this brings us on to the last tip. Concentrate on UX and UI. Google is getting very clever on reading a site like a user would. To see what this means, all you have to do is look at a site in Google’s Search Console using the fetch and render tool, to see the difference. Don’t block any JS/CSS files that might stop menu’s or layout’s loading correctly and don’t place content in div’s or CSS files to artificially place the content higher up in Google eyes than a user would see. Along with page speed, the search engine is pretty much able to tell exactly what a user thinks of your site and whether it belongs high up in a Google search, so make sure you always trying to improve bounce rates, click through’s and dwell time.

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