Every day of the last eight years has been a thrilling experience in my career as an SEO professional. Regular case studies, keeping up with Google updates and the challenge of finding new digital marketing strategies kept me motivated and made my work really exciting. There is no alternative to evolving with the algorithm updates for both beginners and veterans. Here, I’m going to explain the most important digital marketing trends in 2018 and beyond which will be the key to success in the Machine Learning Algorithm era.
SEO Trends Now and Beyond – “Relevance” is the Key to Success
In 2018, the Google machine learning algorithm (artificial intelligence) will collect more data about relevance, i.e. being more focused on user experience. This will be the most important thing to consider for generating great and relevant content and links.
How & Why Relevance is The Latest Digital Marketing Trends in 2018 and Beyond?
I have deduced these two relations to help you understand how google machine learning algorithm will rank a certain site on the search results.
- Quality Content + Faster Load Time + Longer Dwell Time—>>>Good UX (User Experience)
- UX + Backlinks+ CTR + Social Signal—–>>>SERPs (Search Engine Result Page)
These relations are not based on any Google ranking factors. All of these have eithe direct or indirect influence on Google rankings.
There are seven factors that describe User Experience, according to Peter Morville, a pioneer in the UX (User-Experience) field:
To understand my relationships, first you need to know about User Experience(UX) to make the connection between each part.
In Case Of Relationship #1
Content, Load Time, Dwell Time and Bounce Rate relate to each other.
To understand my relations , first you need to know about the user experience to make the connection between each part.
Quality Content- A piece of content on a webpage that actually provides the information an user is looking for.
Low Bounce Rate- Let’s not assume that the user found the information he/she was looking for. What if that user couldn’t find the information? Certainly, he/she will bounce back to the search results or any other website.
Amelia Willson, Owner at AWCopywriting wrote an article titled Reasons Your Website Can Have a High Bounce Rate. That article will show you some reasons like low-quality content, slower load time, misleading meta title or description, and the list goes on..
Faster Load Time- Faster load time is very important. Starting in July 2018, Google will finally use mobile page speed as a ranking factor in their mobile search results. Back in 2010, Google said page speed was a ranking factor but it “was focused on desktop searches” only. What If your site takes a bit of extra time to load? Users will leave your site immediately and certainly increase the bounce rate.
Longer Dwell Time- Dwell time and bounce rate are interconnected! Why should we care about it anyway? Is dwell time a Google ranking factor?
Well, I don’t care if bounce rate or dwell time is a ranking factor or not. As an SEO professional, I strongly believe in the Google algorithm’s root purpose, and it’s none other than serving the users.
Google is now integrating machine learning into [the process of figuring out what the relationship between a search and the best page for that search is]. So then training models on when someone clicks on a page and stays on that page, when they go back or when they and trying to figure out exactly on that relationship.
Nick Frost, Head of Google Brain
Why do we have to wait for confirmation about anything like ranking factors? Come on SEOs, We’re living in the 21st century where AI is becoming popular day by day, so why not think of yourself as a giant program?
Top 6 Points to Remember About Google’s Machine Learning Algorithm System
- Google is trying to replicate the human brain.
- The only difference is average human brain can’t retrieve all of its memory, but Google’s brain can.
- Who made Google? Humans!!!
- Think what you would do if you could remember everything like a hard drive.
- How would you categories data?
- How would you prioritize?
- Now, connect those points as if you have quality user-friendly content, low bounce rate, faster load time, and longer dwell time, all of which means a GOOD USER EXPERIENCE(UX).
So, Quality Content + Faster Load Time + Longer Dwell Time—>>>Good UX. This relation perfectly explains the purpose of User Experience (UX).
In Case Of Relationship #2
Backlinks: Backlinks are always an important ranking signal, but now relevance has become the most important thing every SEO must follow. The Google Search Quality Evaluators Guidelines clearly indicated that-
Use reputation research to find out what real users, as well as experts, think about a website. Look for reviews, references, recommendations by experts, news articles, and other credible information created/written by individuals about the website.
News articles, Wikipedia articles, blog posts, magazine articles, forum discussions, and ratings from independent organizations can all be sources of reputation information. Look for independent, credible sources of information.
It’s clearly indicated that “Reputation Research” means finding references from credible sources! Google actually does the reputation research,h and for what? Certainly for good user experience!
How Can You Be Sure If a Link Is Relevant or Not?
According to a stellar SEO Article, a good link comes from a site with:
- A thorough editorial review process even it can be a blog comment
- A healthy link profile of its own
- A natural anchor text profile ( I recommend zero Exact Match Keywords for Anchor Text Backlink)
- Strong keyword rankings specially for long-tail keywords
- A reasonable amount of organic traffic
- Relevant & Quality on-site content
- If they are willing to link to other relevant sources even though the visitors are leaving their site i.e site admins/webmasters can include any link if it can bring good value for users. In short, willing to loose your visitors for users if needed.
In Addition, Ask Yourself Two Questions
- Is the content related to the page you are going to build the link for?
- Can that link bring value to the users?
I’m sure if you know those answers, then you don’t have to worry about the DA or DR. These are third-party metrics which can give you some idea, but learning from the root is always best.
Click-Through Rate (CTR)
A SERP (search engine results page) click–through rate (CTR) is the ratio of the number of times a search listing was clicked to the number of times it was displayed to searchers.
In short, If you are using a user-oriented, attractive meta title and meta description, and the listing is ranked on the first page of Google SERPs, then it will definitely help to improve CTR. But any misleading meta title or description for SEO purposes can backfire. For example, misleading meta tags can increase the bounce rate, and you know what happens then. Since CTR is a Google ranking factor, as SEO we must optimize our content with user experience in mind.
Look at Danny Sullivan’s Search Engine Watch Article for which Sullivan had spoken directly with Bing and Google in order to learn how two search engines look at social signals as a ranking factor. This shows, social signals have indirect effects on SERPs.
Are Facebook and Twitter Signals Part of the Google Ranking Algorithms?
Here’s a YouTube video by Matt Cutts:
I’ve seen many businesses or websites rank on the first page of Google without any social presence. But it’s obvious that AI collects data from user activity on different social sites and implements the machine learning algorithm to provide the best results (the purpose of machine learning algorithm).
Let’s connect each of those points—UX, Backlinks, CTR, and Social Signal.
Now, does that second equation (UX + Backlinks+ CTR + Social Signal—–>>>SERPs) make sense? I think the answer is yes.
We already saw the SEMrush Recent Case Study About the Ranking Factors 2017
When SEMrush published that study, there was a little argument about the #1 ranking factor “Direct Website Visits.”
Best thing is, I was certain that SEMrush study was telling the hard truth. My point is that the Google machine learning algorithm is learning new things every day by collecting and analyzing different sets of data on user behaviors.
As I always say, “Everything is connected.” Now it’s your turn to connect the dots and work your way to getting better SERPs.
Let me know your opinion or question in the comment below. Please share my article if you think it’s worth enough to share!
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Jubayer Hossain is The Founder at SEO With Clarity, an SEO consultant and entrepreneur. He has proven himself as a successful online marketer since 2010 and founded Ninja Creative Marketing in 2017. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.