Whether you are new to SEO or an experienced SEO junkie, one cannot deny the importance of content to rank well on search engines such as Google and Bing.
Google has often referred to the notion that ‘content is king’ and have made the use of content very key to their algorithms over the years. Such as E-E-A-T update (expertise, experience, authority, and trustworthiness) and last month’s Google Helpful Content Update which either rewarded or downgraded websites based on the quality and helpfulness of their content.
With this in mind, we speak to some industry experts and growing businesses to understand how they use content to build authority in their industry.
Create guides with statistics
“For a new or existing brand, it is always helpful to add blog posts and guides to their website,” explains Richard Allan, co-founder of energy startup, Warmable.
“Having lots of content shows that you have substance and a website with 50 pages and posts is likely to outrank a site with just 5 or 10.”
However, making this content statistic driven and honing in on real things that people are looking for is a very good way to gain authority.
“So rather than adding the top 10 tips for this or how to save money on that, consider phrases such as these below and be sure to add key statistics high up the page and in the meta-data to make it stand out in the SERPs.”
- What percentage of people use ….
- What is the number of people that …
- How many people do / do not ….
- How much money can be saved by …
- How many people in the US/UK are …
- How much is this (name) industry worth?
- How many people in the US use …
“A lot of users and indeed journalists are looking for that killer statistic, so you need to be able to show it very early and clearly and have it backed up by a strong source.”
“You will also find that this helps with natural link building because if you rank top for a good phrase or statistical-based question, a journalist will naturally link to you and very often they just take one of the first sources that they see on Google as fact. You would be surprised how many simple and quality links you could generate.”
The layout of the content is key
“How you present your content is very important,” explains Justine Gray of content platform, Trending Impact.
To be truly educational, authoritative and informative, you have to make the content very palatable and easy to digest. This can be as simple as adding key bullet points in the beginning of the piece of content to give an overview, using short paragraphs to make clear points and using graphs or images with data to make it stand out. Importantly, you need to get into the information early on and avoid waffling for the sake of increasing the word count.
“A nice feature to organise your text includes using accordion tabs for FAQs, dropdown menus and clickable tabs at the top of the page that take you straight to the desired section,” says Gray.
Use people and use authority figures
Google has added more weighting to the use of authors, guest writers and real expertise behind any guides or blog posts.
With reference to the recent Google Helpful Content Update, webmasters will gain greater authority from having a real face or team member clearly stated as the author on a piece of content, including landing pages and blog posts.
Saying things such as ‘reviewed by’ and ‘edited by’ will add a lot of credibility, especially if it has a bio which includes relevant qualifications or suggests years of experience – and this is perfect for medical and financial industries.
Additionally, authors can add their Linkedin and Twitter profile to their bio for added effect.
“We have found that using guest writers who are experts in their fields adds great value,” explains Dr Max Linden, founder of The Hawker Online. “Finding people who run companies, have followers or like putting themselves out there is a good place to start.
“Not only is guest and expertly contributed content more insightful and personable, but you can share it on your social network and theirs too to maximize reach.”
Don’t just use text, use video
“As we all know today, content is not just textual but highly visual,” informs Dean Benzaken, co-founder of Techvolutionary.
“With the help of AI, there are a lot of ways to take your existing content and quickly turn it into voice notes that people can click and hear on the page.”
In addition, videos add great value to any piece of content, and you have some superb tools to help you facilitate this today. So, if you have a long video, you can use Opus to break it down into 10 smaller videos with captions included, or you can use Synthesia to create an AI avatar to auto-generate the text. The opportunities are vast to make your content standout and to create authority in your space.
The post Establishing niche authority: leveraging strategic content as a key differentiator appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
The launch of ChatGPT in November 2022 has been a real game changer for digital marketers across the world. SEO professionals are still trying to navigate the potential benefits and power of this technology.
The ability to type in search queries through live chat and get perfectly and uniquely written content hosts several advantages for those looking to create more content rapidly and scale their online businesses. Webmasters can also create codes faster than they can manually and this can be used to compliment or replace developers.
However, this may also present more challenges with increased competition across the digital marketing landscape and questions on how Google’s search results are going to react with increased marketing intelligence.
We speak to some industry experts and startup marketers to get more insight into how ChatGPT is changing SEO.
For consumers, the ability to create unique content and do it almost instantly is probably the biggest advantage of ChatGPT.
“Many SEO professionals may have been dubious at first,” explains Andrew Baker of finance startup, Doddler.
“Writing unique content is something that is drilled into you from day one and anything that is automated or too good to be true can only be negative for SEO.”
“But the early evidence shows that ChatGPT is consistent and the content it produces is unique and can rank well if done correctly,” says Richard Allan of Divorce Bob.
“When it might have typically taken us 6 to 8 weeks to produce 50 pages of quality guides and blog posts, ChatGPT can do this in something like 3 hours.”
“We have been able to add pages for more than 1600 area codes across the US using ChatGPT – and this would have been a mountain to climb without AI or not something we would have considered doing.”
“It still needs a proper SEO person to interpret the right number of keywords, content length and other SEO bits like internal links and headings – but it certainly presents a very scalable way to push out content.
“It presents endless possibilities for targeting area codes, times, amounts and other long tail keywords both domestically and if you were to launch into different countries.”
Staffing and outsourcing
Outsourcing your content and code has been popular for many years, with startups and companies using the likes of Fiverr and outsourcing to India and Philippines for their marketing teams.
“But with ChatGPT, it questions whether you need to hire content staff at all,” argues Matthew Sullivan of consumer finance site, Harpsey.
“For years, there has been a question of whether you even need content writers or developers in-house and why pay local rates when it is cheaper abroad? But today, it is a question of whether you need to hire writers and developers at all.”
“This could mean that thousands of content writers could go out of work overnight. However, in practice, the early signs show that although millions are using ChatGPT, it is a small number to create an economic shock and that traditional businesses are still preferring the manual approach. But who knows if paid writers are using ChatGPT to do their work?”
Rapid prototyping and testing
“With the opportunity to create content so fast, this has given us an exciting way to test and try things out,” explains Gavin Cooper, the founder of Claims Bible. “And this is what a huge part of SEO really is.”
“We have been able to throw content together quickly and test out different site layouts and designs or even compare platforms such as Wix, Webflow or WordPress and determine which ranks the best in the SERPs. From there, we have been able to scale up and build out our business.”
“For us, we have been able to replicate hundreds of pages for different types of claims, whether it is for injuries, banks, car manufacturers and many more – and by having consistent meta-data and good backlinks, we have been able to secure positions on Google and generate quality leads.”
Changes in Google SERPs
If we imagine millions of websites using ChatGPT to put out new content and develop new sites, are we going to see huge fluctuations in rankings across all industries?
This does not appear to be the case yet, with ChatGPT operating now for more than 6 months. But it certainly will not be surprising if some industries which are very tech savvy such as consumer finance, casinos or crypto make huge strides in this area.
Hence, one might expect for some new brands to emerge on page 1 for some very competitive keywords, almost out of thin air, or for there to be some early wins for some sites and some even harder crashes if they get penalized.
Still need experience and SEO knowledge
SEO is always changing and no doubt, ChatGPT has created a paradigm shift and an exciting way to put out fast content and replicate code, allowing new and established businesses to scale up quicker than ever before.
Whilst the Google rule of thumb that ‘content is king’ still applies, one cannot deny it is how SEO professionals use this content that is truly important and will notably change the SEO landscape.
Whilst you can have content written quickly and to a high standard, it is not valuable unless it has smart and experienced SEO to back it up.
It is key to understand the right content to create, the right keyword research, user intent, meta-data and semantics – and if you can pair this with ChatGPT, this could be the recipe for true SEO success.
Let’s face it, when it comes to generating traffic online, the quality of SEO traffic is unbeatable.
When you compare it to other online traffic sources including PPC, affiliates, emails and SMS, you typically find that when it comes to average time on site, low bounce rates and conversion rates, SEO reigns supreme. Those navigating through SEO organic search are typically taking their time and making informed and more careful decisions – this is what leads to higher converting and more qualified customers.
The barrier though with SEO is that it can take several months, or even years, and incredible expertise to gain positions in the top search results on Google. However, just because you do not rank at the top of Google, doesn’t mean that you cannot have access to the best quality SEO traffic and even take up multiple positions – without even ranking your own website.
In this piece, we speak to some industry experts and startups to understand how you can access SEO traffic whether your site ranks or not.
Check who is on page 1 already
You might think that doing SEO for your company means optimizing your own website and getting it to rank, but why not consider who is already on page 1 and if you can partner with them in some way. From price comparison sites, news sites or just individual brands, there may be a way to help them monetize their traffic or collaborate in some way.
“As a broker, we are a lot freer to do SEO than other big brands and institutions,” explains Justine Gray, founder of online mortgage broker, Deedle.
“Big companies and banks are very nervous and bound by compliance to throw lots of content on their site and make regular updates. But for a small team like us, this is very easy.”
“In some ways, we have a better shot at getting to page 1 than a big corporate company – and as a result, we get companies of all sizes trying to partner with us. They may find that there are too many internal barriers to do good SEO for themselves, but we are open to collaboration.”
Using top 10 lists
“Top 10 lists have a very powerful ranking edge on Google,” explains Sithara Ranasinghe, co-founder of health insurance site, MediCompare.
“There are certain industries where Google really favours top 10 lists over a traditional site. If you were to search for anything related to casinos or something techie like email marketing or best softwares, you won’t typically find individual sites on page 1, but rather review sites or accumulator sites that list 10 different options.”
“I think Google likes this more impartial offering to a customer and the ability to see and compare different products. So, if you are a new entry to the market or looking to get SEO traffic, you should simply approach someone who already ranks on page 1 with a top 10 list or try to create one through a high domain authority site.”
“There are sites that are very good at this like CNet and Forbes who leverage their authority and strong domain – and there is no reason why you cannot have multiple listings on page 1 and clean up on the SEO traffic, regardless of where you rank.”
Using price comparison sites
Price comparison sites for products like mortgages, credit cards, hotel bookings, travel insurance and even tech have become huge in the last decade.
“Being a price comparison site can be an advantage with Google,” explains Mark Gomer of Proper Finance. “You target so many products and can gain backlinks across multiple industries and also benefit from people shopping around which increases your overall user time on the site.”
“When implemented well, you may rank really well for some products, but not others, but ultimately you can focus your energy on where you do.”
“If we have a strong position on Google for something like mortgages or secured loans, we could potentially work with 50 or 100 companies to help customers to compare the best rates – who all get access to SEO traffic, even if they don’t rank anywhere.”
Leveraging news sites with high domains
There are so many SEO factors to contend with, such as good technical optimization, site speed and quality content. But sometimes having a good backlog of backlinks and high domain authority is the fastest and simplest way to rank on Google and get to page 1 for key terms.
“When you look at major news sites, these are typically link magnets because of their authority – and they often scoop up lots of links from other authorities such as schools, universities, councils and governments,” explains Richard Allan, founder of funding platform, Capital Bean.
“So, when you create a landing page on your own site, you may have to wait months or years to build up authority – or you may never rank at all. But if you took this landing page, with all the right keywords and intent-driven content and placed this article on a major news site like SF Gate or Forbes, you can sometimes rank for this very quickly by leveraging their domain authority.”
“If you take some less competitive industries or more bespoke long tail keywords, they may not be used to having a site with a domain authority of 60 or 70 on page 1 and when you come in with a fresh article, you get the quick indexability of being a news site and can often get to page 1 within one day simply because it is on Google News.”
SEO traffic is incredibly good quality and sought after, but as any SEO professional will tell you: it takes a long time to achieve and does not always last forever.
But as discussed by our experts, ranking on Google does not necessarily just have to be your own website. By seeing who is on page 1 and using sites with high domain authorities to include your company, you can take up multiple positions. And given the fluctuations of Google, you can use these techniques to always have some kind of presence on page 1 at any given time.
We leave you with one final question: Why take one position on page 1 when you can have several?
The post The incredible ways to get SEO traffic without ever ranking appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
- Good page speed and user experience help your site stand out in search results
- The Interaction to Next Paint metric is replacing First Input Delay
- You can improve make your site respond faster to user input by reducing CPU processing times
The Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics that Google has defined to measure how good a website’s user experience is. They first became a ranking signal in 2021.
While the metric definitions have been tweaked over time, the introduction of the Interaction to Next Paint metric is the biggest change since the launch of the Core Web Vitals initiative.
What is Interaction to Next Paint (INP)?
Interaction to Next Paint is a metric that evaluates how quickly your website responds to user interaction. It measures how much time elapses between the user input, like a button click, and the next time the page content refreshes (the “next paint”).
To rank better in Google this interaction delay should be less than 200 milliseconds. This ensures that the website feels responsive to users.
How are the Core Web Vitals changing?
Google has announced that Interaction to Next Paint will become one of the three Core Web Vitals metrics in March 2024. At that point a website that responds to user input too slowly could do worse in search result rankings.
INP will replace the current First Input Delay (FID) metric. While FID also measures responsiveness, it is more limited as it only looks at the first user interaction. It also only measures the delay until the input event starts being handled, rather than waiting until the user can see the result.
Currently only 64.9% of mobile websites do well on the Interaction to Next Paint metric and it will be harder to get a good INP score than a good First Input Delay score.
How can I measure the Interaction to Next Paint metric on my website?
Run a website speed test to see how fast your website loads and how quickly it responds to user input.
Open the “Web Vitals” tab once your test is complete. You can see the Interaction to Next Paint metric at the bottom of the page.
In this case only 38% of users have a good INP experience.
How can I optimize Interaction to Next Paint?
Interaction delays happen when the browser needs to perform a lot of CPU processing before it can update the page. This can happen for two reasons:
- Ongoing background tasks prevent the user input from being handled
- Handling the user input itself is taking a lot of time
Background tasks often happen during the initial page load, but can happen later on as well. They are often caused by third party code embedded on the website.
Responding to a user interaction can require a lot of processing. If that can’t be optimized you can consider showing a spinner to provide visual feedback until the processing task is complete.
Use Chrome DevTools to analyze performance
The Chrome DevTools performance profiler shows what tasks are taking a long time and should be optimized. Start a recording, click on an element on the page, and then click on the longest bars in the visualization.
This allows you to identify whether the code comes from a third party or from your own website. You can also dive deeper to see how the task can be sped up.
Check the Total Blocking Time metric to identify background tasks
The Total Blocking Time metric tracks how often there are background CPU tasks that could block other code from running. If the user interacts with the page while a task is already in progress then the browser first completes that task before handling the input event.
You can use tools like Google Lighthouse to see how this metric can be optimized.
If processing-heavy tasks on your website are part of your core website code you’ll need to work with your development team to optimize these. For third parties you can review whether the script is still needed, or contact customer support of the vendor to see if it’s possible to optimize the code.
Monitor Interaction to Next Paint
Want to keep track of how you’re doing on INP and other Core Web Vitals? DebugBear can keep track of your website speed and help you optimize it.
Start a free 14-day trial today and deliver a better user experience.
The Interaction to Next Paint metric represents the biggest change to Google’s Core Web Vitals since they were originally announced. INP addresses the deficiencies of the previous First Input Delay metric and provides a better representation of how users experience a website.
Check how your website does on the Interaction to Next Paint metric before the ranking change is rolled out in 2024. That way you’ll have plenty of time to identify optimizations and make your website faster.
The post Optimize Google’s new Interaction to Next Paint metric appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Starting September 20203, GA4 is making changes to their attribution models.
The first-click, linear, time-decay, and position-based attribution models will be removed from the attribution reports, property-level reporting-model setting, and Admin API. Cross-channel data-driven attribution, cross-channel last click, and Ads preferred last click will continue to be available.
You will start to see the impact of these changes starting in May. In May any newly created properties will no longer be able to select these models.
As per google: Rules-based attribution models assign value to each advertising touchpoint based on predefined rules. These models don’t provide the flexibility needed to adapt to evolving consumer journeys. Data-driven attribution uses advanced AI to understand the impact each touchpoint has on a conversion. That’s why we made data-driven attribution the default attribution model in Google Analytics 4 and Google Ads. For these reasons, first click, linear, time decay, and position-based attribution models across Google Analytics 4 will be going away.
Google Analytics has increased the number of Properties allowed in an account from the previous default value of 100 to 2000 (learn more). This change will allow for more flexibility in organizing properties and removes the need to request an increase from the support team. This change impacts GA4 free accounts.
In addition, a new limit on the number of sub-properties allowed on a property was introduced (learn more). This limit is set at 400; it may be increased via a request to support. These requests will be closely scrutinized and approved on a case-by-case basis. Subproperties are only available in GA4 360, the paid version of Google Analytics.
Craig Sullivan, a prominent authority in the Web Analytics, UX and Experimentation field, shared a screenshot from one of his Google Analytics 4 (GA4) accounts.
He wrote in his LinkedIn message:
“Now that’s interesting. Haven’t seen that screen in GA4 before!
Anyone else out there seeing this experiences icon and tab on the UI like me? Have I struck gold on a new beta? Is this a bug?”
and here is the screenshot her shared
Another Twitter thread mentioned that this screenshot was shared by a few others on LinkedIn.
Now, we looked at several of our accounts but did not find “Experience” in any of them. So maybe some of the users who saw are part of A/B testing or a beta release.
So seems like Google Optimize is not dead, it will likely become part of GA4.
Can you check your account and see if you have this feature in your GA4 account?
- There has been a gradual increase in Google’s impact of page load time on website rankings
- Google has introduced the three Core Web Vitals metrics as ranking factors to measure user experience
- The following steps can help you get a better idea of the performance of your website through multiple tests
A fast website not only delivers a better experience but can also increase conversion rates and improve your search engine rankings. Google has introduced the three Core Web Vitals metrics to measure user experience and is using them as a ranking factor.
Let’s take a look at what you can do to test and optimize the performance of your website.
Start in Google Search Console
Want to know if optimizing Core Web Vitals is something you should be thinking about? Use the page experience report in Google Search Console to check if any of the pages on your website are loading too slowly.
Search Console shows data that Google collects from real users in Chrome, and this is also the data that’s used as a ranking signal. You can see exactly what page URLs need to be optimized.
Run a website speed test
Google’s real user data will tell you how fast your website is, but it won’t provide an analysis that explains why your website is slow.
Run a free website speed test to find out. Simply enter the URL of the page you want to test. You’ll get a detailed performance report for your website, including recommendations on how to optimize it.
Use priority hints to optimize the Largest Contentful Paint
Priority Hints are a new browser feature that came out in 2022. It allows website owners to indicate how important an image or other resource is on the page.
This is especially important when optimizing the Largest Contentful Paint, one of the three Core Web Vitals metrics. It measures how long it takes for the main page content to appear after opening the page.
By default, browsers assume that all images are low priority until the page starts rendering and the browser knows which images are visible to the user. That way bandwidth isn’t wasted on low-priority images near the bottom of the page or in the footer. But it also slows down important images at the top of the page.
Adding a fetchpriority=”high” attribute to the img element that’s responsible for the Largest Contentful Paint ensures that it’s downloaded quickly.
Use native image lazy loading for optimization
Image lazy loading means only loading images when they become visible to the user. It’s a great way to help the browser focus on the most important content first.
Remove and optimize render-blocking resources
If a resource has to block rendering check if you can optimize the request to load the resource more quickly, for example by improving compression or loading the file from your main web server instead of from a third party.
Optimize with the new interaction to Next Paint metric
Google has announced a new metric called Interaction to Next Paint. This metric measures how quickly your site responds to user input and is likely to become one of the Core Web Vitals in the future.
You can already see how your website is doing on this metric using tools like PageSpeed Insights.
Continuously monitor your site performance
One-off site speed tests can identify performance issues on your website, but they don’t make it easy to keep track of your test results and confirm that your optimizations are working.
DebugBear continuously monitors your website to check and alerts you when there’s a problem. The tool also makes it easy to show off the impact of your work to clients and share test results with your team.