Google Updates All You Need To Know

What are SEO Updates?

Google is always launching new updates, and to keep you up to date with the latest changes, here you have our recap. Because we understand how critical these variations are, at SEO Heroes we are constantly monitoring the SERPs, and these are the results of our research and tracking. 

As the name clearly implies, they are updates to the Google algorithm. In consequence, they affect the way we do SEO, because they alter the factors that we target, and therefore, they either do not work any longer or can put us at higher risk of penalization. For any questions, contact us today: we are one of the top digital marketing agencies in Bangkok, Thailand.

How Often Does Google Change Its Algorithm?

According to consensus, Google executes approximately 500 to 600 changes every year. It equals to about 1-2 changes a day. Therefore, it allows us to see why it is so important to stay up to date.

Nonetheless, it is also important to mention that the majority of these changes are very small, and in consequence, not perceptible by most users or SEO agencies. 

Even though, they allow us to see how seriously Google takes these updates. 

Voice Search Will Dominate the SERPs

Did you know that 50% of all searches will be done by voice by 2020?

Therefore, we’ve noticed an increase in 2019 versus 2018, and it is the perfect time to get your website ready for this drastic yet beneficial change.

When you factor in that Google has platforms like Google Home, it makes even more sense, because they are already working towards expanding voice searches.

If you need more facts, here you go:

  1. 46% of users who use voice search look for local businesses in a daily basis
  2. 53% of smart-home speaker users use voice search daily
  3. 58% of consumers have used voice search to find info about local businesses within the last year.

There is no doubt that, if you own a local business, then it pays off to start optimizing your website for voice search.

If you need even more facts besides local businesses, then here you have more evidence:

  1. 41% of adults conduct at least one voice search per day
  2. 22% of smart-home speaker users have purchased a product/service using their device
  3. In January 2018, there were an approximate of one billion voice searches per month, and this number keeps growing.

This should be enough to pay attention to this growing trend that will have a serious impact in 2020, where the real fun will begin.

How to Optimize Your Website?

Now, let’s see how you can prepare your website for this trend, and surprisingly, it is rather simple.

It all starts with researching the most common questions asked by your target audience. You can use a tool like Answer the Public to gather this info, or you can also use Google Auto Suggest to obtain as many keywords as possible.

Then, use this info to write and optimize your content. For example, you can also use this for building a F.A.Q page in your website, or perhaps, a F.A.Q section for each one of your target pages.

Another cool way of taking advantage of voice search is to set up a Knowledge Base and keep it highly conversational, using the keywords and phrases you found during your research. In addition, a part of driving traffic, it is an excellent way for delivering customer support without the need of an agent.

It all comes down to answering questions, so, keep it simple and start doing it, because it will pay off.

Artificial Intelligence Is Starting Its Reign

Many industries are starting to use AI, and search engines are not the exception.

As we are going to see later in this article, Google is using machine learning and AI to make RankBrain more powerful and in that specific section we bring you specific steps for taking advantage of it.

What we can expect from AI is different ranking factors depending on the keyword/query and personalization of search results, based on search history, customer behavior, location and many other variables.

Overall, its main role will be to create the ideal experience for searchers, so they can find exactly what they need when they use Google, which is, after all, the end goal of every search engine.

However, what can you do to stay ahead of the curve and surf this trend?

How to Take Advantage of Artificial Intelligence?

It is simple: tailor your content to the search intent behind every query and you will do fine. Of course, you also need to optimize other factors in order to deliver an excellent UX, which is what matters in the end.

Think about users, deliver exactly what they need and you will be ahead of your competitors. With the help of the tips you will find this post, it will become an easy task.

Branding Will Go a Long Way

Most marketers know about the importance of branding, because it helps you to differentiate from the competition, which is key for starting and growing a healthy and profitable business.

However, speaking in SEO terms, branding will become more important in 2020, and here you have a full explanation.

According to the Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, Gary Illyes, Google utilizes brand mention in its search algorithm (source: https://www.stonetemple.com/does-google-use-online-brand-mentions-for-search-ranking-eric-enge-with-gary-illyes-at-pubcon-2017/).

We have this info since 2017, and from that time it has become more important, because Google can now use unlinked brand mention to measure your authority in your field.

How so?

By analyzing how often and where your brand name gets mentioned (even without linking to your website or properties), Google learns that your brand is an entity, and based on many elements, it measures your authority, which can help you to boost your rankings.

Therefore, it is time to start exploiting this trend, because it will pay off in 2020 and beyond.

How to Take Advantage of this Trend?

We all know about the importance of backlinks, because they are a fundamental part of any SEO campaign, however, now that you know about the importance of branding, you can incorporate unlinked brand mentions to further boost your authority.

It is simple, whenever you have an opportunity to mention your brand, just do it. It will help you, even if you don’t have a link.

You can also analyze your brand mentions all over the internet, to understand your popularity, awareness and reputation, so you can engage both good and bad comments and bring an answer or comment, because it is important to stay in touch with your audience.

You should also think out of the box. For example, you can use influencers – or even better, micro-influencers – to talk about your brand, in order to further increase your popularity and awareness, which as we have seen, will only benefit your online growth.

Why You Must Improve EAT Scores

The trends of this year put a lot of emphasis on the quality of websites and content, and therefore, surprisingly not, EAT Scores will mark the SEO terrain as well.

That is why you need to improve them, because by doing so, you will improve your rankings, be it for your own projects or your clients.

Let’s take a detailed look into what EAT really means:

  1. E for Expertise: As it clearly suggests, you need to show Google that you are an expert in your field. The best way to prove it is by offering useful content that users like and share. This factor is essential if you are in the medical or legal niche, where users are looking for real expert advice
  2. A for Authority: You need to prove Google that you are an authority in your niche. Again, the quality of your content will play a huge role here, accompanied by your influence, which can be measured in the number of social signals, brand mentions and other factors
  3. T for Trustworthiness: You need to prove Google and users that they can trust your content. You need to bring your users an excellent experience and keep it safe, therefore, you need to ensure the security of your website and add fundamental elements like an SSL certificate.

Now… how can you improve your EAT scores? Discover it right below:

How to Improve Your EAT Scores for Better Rankings?

First, take care of your branding. As we have already seen, it will pay off big time, and it will help you to improve your EAT scores, because it will let Google see that you are a real authority in your field. You will surpass other companies in your niche, guaranteed.

Second, make your website bulletproof. Although it is impossible to stop all cyberattacks, you need to ensure the security of your website. We talk about this topic in this article as well.f

Third, include author names for every piece of editorial content. You can also add a biography, in order to let Google and users see who is writing the content and if the writer is really an expert in the field. Don’t be shy!

Finally, make sure that you research your audience and field very well, so you can come up with excellent content that truly helps your customers. With the tips you will find under every section of this article, you will have more than enough to super-charge your SEO.

Optimize Your Content for Featured Snippets

Chances are you have seen how popular features snippets have become, and this trend will continue in 2021, and it is not an exaggeration to claim that they will dominate the SERPs this year and in advance.

Therefore, you have to be ready to adapt or die. As simple as that.

Most SEO companies like us, already know this.

In fact if you perform any kind of keyword research, then it is impossible not to stumble across several keywords that feature snippets in the SERPs. 

Instead of complaining about them, it is better to adapt and start using them to your advantage.

How can you do it?

Worry not, because we explain it to you right below:

How to Get Your Content Featured in Snippets?

First, you need to know something crucial: if you want to appear in featured snippets, then your pages need to rank in page 1. There is no other way around.

If you want to get more analytic, then you can check the stats and you will see that they back up this fact (check here: https://ahrefs.com/blog/featured-snippets-study/). The study by Ahrefs confirms this, and therefore, before thinking about featured snippets, you need to get your way to page #1 for your targeted keywords.

Therefore, the websites that are already ranking in 1st page for many keywords can get more advantage from this trend, however, everyone should start optimizing their pages for ranking in features snippets, because once you hit the page #1, you will maximize your chances of getting into the so-precious snippet.

Now, it is also important to focus on the right kind of keywords. If you focus on getting featured snippets for generic keywords, then good luck with that, because the vast majority of them do not showcase them.

However, the majority of keywords with questions have featured snippets in the SERPs.

You should start paying attention to your keyword research, in order to find these keywords, and most of the time, they are long tail, which means that you can target several of them with the same piece of content. It is all about mapping your keywords properly and writing your content accordingly.

Now, you also have to pay attention to the structure of your pages.

You need to start using sub-headings (ex: H2, H3, H4, H5, etc.), bulleted lists, numbered lists and tables. They will help you to organize your content better, which will give you a boost in the UX department, and also give you higher chances of getting into the featured snippets.

Finally, ensure that your content is relevant and actually helps users with their questions and doubts. That is the aftermath of everything. Of course, you should keep an eye on voice search, and therefore, make your content optimized for this trend as well, because it will help you to get featured for more keywords, especially those for voice search.

The Importance of Bounce Rate and Dwell Time

It is also 100% sure that you have heard about bounce rate, but what about dwell time? This element is not very popular, but it is very important for your SEO campaigns.

Let’s start with a short definition for each:

  1. Bounce Rate: The percentage of your visitors who quit your website after viewing only one page
  2. Dwell Time: The metric that measures how much time your visitor spends on your page before returning to the SERPs.

All in all, if your bounce rate is too high for your field/niche, then Google will consider this as an indicator that the quality of your content doesn’t meet the expectations of users, and therefore, your rankings will decrease.

As simple as that.

The dwell time is a strong indicator about the quality of your content, because the longer the user takes to return to the SERPs, the more useful they found your content to be, and Google will consider this at the hour of ranking your website.

Therefore, how can you improve your bounce rate and dwell time? It is rather simple:

How to Take Advantage of This?

It is simple, because all you have to do is to implement all the tips we have shared with you in this post, because this way, you will bring your users what they are looking for.

Analyze the search intent, make better content than your competitors, answer their questions, structure your page properly and make sure that your page loads fast and you will win their heart, and in return, achieve better rankings and get more conversions, being the latter the ultimate goal.

Make sure to include videos and images, and if you want to improve your bounce rate and dwell time even more, then you could play around with live chat, for direct assistance.

If you create the ideal UX for your customers, then you will directly improve these metrics, and you should see a direct impact in your rankings.

Video Optimization Will Be a Game Changer

In addition to voice search, video will be another game change in 2020, and therefore, you better start optimizing the video content in your website, because it will help you to attract more traffic.

We can expect Google to start crawling it in a different way, instead of simply crawling the text that surrounds it. This will be a game changer, because it means that Google might analyze the audio and the content inside the video, in order to determine how far it should rank, and in this case, how much of a benefit it would attribute to the page embedding it.

This would also represent a huge change for those into ranking YouTube videos in Google, because it means that you can work more on your on-page, instead of simply relying on using the video description and then working on the off-page. This will be a real game changer, because it would open a new world of possibilities.

As you can see, there is a huge realm of new opportunities you can profit from, and therefore, you need to start paying more attention to video. Let’s see how you can start taking advantage of this.

How to Take Advantage of this Trend?

If you don’t have a YouTube channel, then it is about time to do so. Go ahead and create one, because this way you can accomplish two things:

  1. Use it to rank on YouTube and other search engines (ex: Google and Bing)
  2. You can use it to enrich your website content and further optimize your on-page

You can use your keyword research to come up with ideas of video content you can create, or perhaps, you can do another research, in order to find the queries/keywords that favor video content in the SERPs.

If you want to search keywords in YouTube itself, then just use the search bar to come up with a list of keywords. Just type a phrase or word related to your business, and you will come up with tons of interesting suggestions.

The best part about these suggestions is that you can bet on it that they are being searched, because the very same users that typing them to find the video content they want. It cannot get better than that.

Once you have a good idea on the kind of content you can create, go ahead and start doing it, and here you have a few tips on how to optimize your videos for better rankings:

  1. Add a lengthy video description using your principal keyword along with variations, which can be the suggestions you obtained from your research
  2. Use these keywords in your tags section
  3. Make sure that your content is engaging and actually make users to stay, so you can have an excellent video retention rate, which will help you to rank higher

Start working on your videos from now, because it will pay off big time!

The Search Intent Factor

Understand your audience and what they intent to find when they search for a specific keyword will give you a huge advantage over your competitors, because you will be able to meet and surpass the expectations of your visitors.

Therefore, you should start researching more about your audience and the kind of content they expect, and over-deliver. First, you need to meet the standards of your field, and then add even more value, so your users can be satisfied and share that signal with Google, which will reward you with better rankings.

By optimizing your content to match the consumer intent, you will create more relevant content, which will help you to rank higher, and if you apply the tips from this article, then you will get even better results by getting into featured snippets, boosting your CTR and getting ranked for voice search keywords.

How to Implement This for Optimizing Your Website?

Now it is time to learn how you can take advantage of this, in easy and actionable steps.

If you are unsure about the search intent for a specific keyword, then all you need to do is to search it in Google and analyze the top results.

Let’s say the user types “damaged surf board”, then it could multiple interpretations:

  1. They might want to learn how to repair their surf board
  2. They might want to buy the necessary implements for repairing their surf board
  3. They might want to buy a damaged surf board to repair it on their own (for getting it at a cheaper price)
  4. They might want to hire a company to repair it
  5. They might want to buy a new surfboard to replace the broken one.

Your job here is to search for that keyword in Google and determine the search intent by looking into what the current top results display.

If the top 5 results are websites that sell used/damaged surfboards, then you can determine that the dominant intent is “I want to buy a used surfboard”. Therefore, you should stick to it, because trying to rank with a different intent will be very hard, not to say impossible.

Conclusion

Now that you are aware of the latest updates and the hottest trends, you can take action to make sure that your website complies with them. 

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