Search engine optimization (SEO) is an ongoing practice that constantly evolves. SEO success factors represent the key elements or factors of SEO to help your website rank higher in search engines.

Optimizing for the search experience, generating content for users (not search engines), and optimizing for voice search are some of the critical SEO success factors that are worth paying attention to.

1. Where Search Is Heading

Every year, Google announces numerous updates to its search algorithm, some of which significantly impact how we optimize for SEO. Although it’s impossible to know exactly what will happen to Google’s algorithm in the years to come, we can make a pretty good guess.

  • Will it be voice search?
  • Will it be mobile-first indexing?

These are areas SEO practitioners should pay attention to. However, at the end of the day, what you really need is a complete understanding of what real people are searching for and why they are looking for it.

Having said that, it’s important to point out that there are some fundamental factors that do impact your SEO success.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO is the process of ensuring that a website meets the technical requirements of modern search engines with the goal of improved organic rankings. Important elements of Technical SEO include crawling, indexing, rendering, and website architecture.

You can have the best site with the best content. But if your technical SEO isn’t good, you are not going to rank or be visible on Google. At the most basic level, Google and other search engines need to be able to find, crawl, render and index the pages on your website.

On-page SEO

On-page SEO is defined as all the activities and practices that are performed on a web page in order to achieve optimal search engine rankings. On-page SEO is arguably the MOST important aspect of SEO. While off-page does play an important role, it cannot work all by itself. There needs to be a solid foundation for it to have a strong effect.

This means content that is available to web users (text, audio, pictures and, video) as well as elements that are only visible to search engines (HTML tags, structured data).

Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO refers to all activities that happen outside of a website’s primary domain. It pertains to improving your website’s visibility and authority through the effective use of off-site factors. These off-site factors include; incoming and outgoing links, building trust/ authority, social media activity, user-generated content (UGC), and creating an earning, sharing, and publishing environment that can improve your search engine rankings in the long run.

By using these off-site strategies, you can improve your website’s user experience (UX), increase brand awareness, build authority and earn more traffic from search engines.

In this segment, we’ll begin our exploration of the world of SEO by focusing on three critical areas that will help position you for success:

  • Search Experience Optimization: What are the options you have to be more visible to your customers/audience?
  • Content Optimization Strategies for Real People: The value of content and what it means to create relevant content.
  • The Impact of Voice Search On SEO: We’ll take a look at the not-too-distant future and demonstrate why it’s important to optimize for voice search now.

2. Search Experience Optimization

Search experience optimization is about improving the users’ journey through your site, which usually results in an increase in conversions.

In fact, according to survey data, the search user experience is still largely an unsolved problem. In fact, 51% of responding survey respondents say most website’s search functionality falls short of their expectations. Only 38% of all respondents say the search experience on the sites they visit provides a good or excellent user experience.

No matter how large or small your business is, optimizing your website’s search experience can make a big difference to your conversion rate and bottom line. This has become more important than ever since Google made fundamental changes to its search algorithms over the last few years.

Everything you do in SEO should be oriented around improving the search experience for users. You can do this in one of two ways. One way is to make sure you are clearly communicating what you offer your target audience, and the other is to make sure search engines understand what you are trying to communicate to your audience.

Google refers to these search experiences as moments, with the following four being the most significant:

  • I-want-to-know.
  • I-want-to-go.
  • I-want-to-do.
  • I-want-to-buy.

The concept of SEO is not new, but the way SEO is practiced in today’s world with the advent of search-friendly design changes the scorecard on what matters in online visibility and how you should approach your website visitors.

Ranking Above the Fold

Desktop vs. Mobile

For a long time, SEO focused on desktop search. As devices have evolved and become more popular, there has been more focus on how to optimize for mobile devices and Google’s mobile-first index.

Mobile and desktop SEO are very different entities. They have differences in Google’s algorithm, they function differently and how they developed is also different. If you’re looking into getting the most out of your SEO, you want to make sure you’re doing it correctly for both platforms.

If your site is not designed to be mobile-friendly, you’re leaving a ton of traffic on the table. From Google search rankings to bounce rate to visitor engagement, mobile SEO is becoming a factor in how Google “judges” your website’s overall quality.

Having your SEO optimized for desktop and mobile makes sure that your business appears on the first page, giving you the maximum amount of traffic.

News & Social Content

When creating content for your site it’s important to take into account social sharing and news sites. News articles spike rankings quickly and social sharing can also raise awareness of your brand.

You’ll need a clear understanding of this field and how Google reacts to a query in order to rank/appear in this category of results. Since not every question can return news or social information, it’s critical to consider how keywords react in various situations.

Google Knowledge Panels

Google Knowledge Panels are a great SEO tool that lets you help showcase your business in more ways. They are a fantastic source of information and statistics about local businesses. You can get all the information you need from one place, including pictures and maps. It’s much easier to understand a business’s location, hours, services, and other details with these handy informational boxes popping up in search results.

We all know about rich snippets for a while and the impact they can have on the CTR of your SERPs. Rich snippets are a way to make your website stand out in search results and will help you to convert more visitors into customers. Google Knowledge Panels seem to resemble SERPs that we have seen before, except they appear on the right-hand side of the screen only.

Using Google Knowledge Panels is a significant way to increase customer confidence. Searchers have been trained to look for specific components of search results, such as knowledge panels, in order to obtain the trustworthy information they are looking for.

Google People Also Ask

One of the most useful tools for SEOs in the last few years is ‘Google people also ask’ reports. The tool is not widely known and not many are using it, but it delivers incredible results if you know how to use it properly. You can find them at the bottom of almost every page, and they give you a brief breakdown of popular search queries related to what you’re searching for.

You can use this search function to directly find content optimization opportunities or other new content items to better target your audience.

Apply SEO to Different Platforms

These days, we’re faced with a plethora of different platforms on which we can promote our businesses. Each of these platforms has its own way of bringing traffic to a website. From having an online store, building a mobile app, or signing up for social networks, it’s important that we apply all the knowledge and skills we’ve gathered through years in search engine optimization to these new platforms.

These optimization opportunities include:

  • App store optimization.
  • YouTube channel and video optimization.
  • Google My Business optimization.
  • Social media optimization.
  • Third-party sites and vertical search engines (e.g., Yelp and Amazon).

All these platforms are fully adaptable to SEO principles and can lead to additional opportunities for brand exposure. Plus, the content on your brand will be drawn into the output of conventional search engines (Google, Bing, etc.) as you make optimization for other search experiences.

Key Takeaways
  • Put your best foot forward. Take advantage of every part of the results page to create search experiences.
  • Optimize outside of the search engine to get better placement in the actual search engine results.
  • SEO must encompass much more than search engine optimization when the ultimate goal is search experience optimization.

3. Optimize Content for People

Optimizing content for people is arguably the most important thing you can do as a Content Marketer. People aren’t machines. We’re not driven by logic and data. We’re emotional and irrational. Yet brands will spend thousands of dollars on traditional marketing tactics that forget this simple fact, just because they think it works. But these tactics don’t work as well as you might think.

True, optimizing content for search engines is important but it’s just one way to make sure that your content performs well. Optimizing for people will ensure that they actually see your content in the first place. You can’t control how it’s displayed; you can’t choose where on the page it appears — you just make sure that the content attracts it to them.

When it comes to content strategies, placing people at the heart of your project will make you more successful in search engines.

Content, Keywords & Search Algorithms

Over the years Google has updated and modified many algorithms.

In terms of how we think of content and keywords, two main algorithm improvements are extremely important:

Hummingbird

Hummingbird is the algorithm that Google launched in 2013, which replaced Google Panda and Google Penguin.

Hummingbird brought about a major change in the way Google ranks web pages. With Hummingbird, Google was trying to give answers to questions of users rather than a list of results for searches. Hummingbird can understand the meaning of words and context in order to rank websites (Semantic concept).

The goal for this change is to make it easier for people to find exactly what they’re looking for, so SEO tactics can no longer include optimizing for your website from top to bottom for only a single keyword, as this does it look natural to people.

RankBrain

RankBrain is the new machine-learning system that Google uses to process search queries and provide users with more relevant search results. It’s been open to speculation about how it works, how it will affect SEO, and why SEO professionals need to pay attention to it. RankBrain is one of Google’s top three ranking factors, together with links and content.

What effect do these two algorithm changes have on content strategies?

You do not want to be too particular about your keyword use. Though rankings are necessary, they are not enough.

Occasionally, keywords can deceive you. Although keywords with a high search volume can have a high search volume, they may be lacking in relevance and value.

Why Content Matters

There are many reasons why search engine optimization is important, but it all starts with one thing: content. Particularly, content that’s well-written and accurate. The reality is that if you don’t have great content posted on your website people probably won’t care about you or your business.

By addressing pain points and specifically responding to queries, you will ensure that searchers get the most relevant content at the right time. That is essentially what a search is – it is a response to a need. Additionally, it will assist you with properly understanding your clients.

Social Listening

Social listening is becoming a crucial part of SEO. Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ are all platforms that can be used for social listening as a tool for gathering information for keyword research, content marketing, or to give you an idea of what your audience is talking about on the web.

What are you listening for?

  • Customer service issues.
  • Being unable to find out when your business is open.
  • Your product(s) or service(s).

This information can be used to strategically tailor your marketing efforts to a larger audience and increase your overall bottom line.

Competitive Research

Research is the first step in the SEO Process. We need to research the idea, the market, and also our competition. Competitive research is all about getting to know your competition better. By studying other sites and understanding how they work, we can gain a strategic advantage over them in terms of traffic, conversions, and rankings.

Competitive research is important to understand your marketplace, fully grasp your competitors’ strategy, and gain a competitive advantage. A full analysis of a competitor’s website, its content, on-page optimization, and link profile is essential to helping you rank your own website higher in the search engines.

Make Your Content Mobile-First

Mobile-first content is all of the rage these days, and for good reason. On average, mobile devices now account for more than half of all internet traffic, meaning that if your content isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re probably not going to rank anywhere anymore. This means that your website needs to be optimized for mobile as a priority.

Making sure your content is mobile-friendly means making sure it’s readable on smaller screens like smartphones and tablets (you know, where people actually read stuff).

One of the ways you can make your site more accessible to mobile users is by using AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is a new open-source initiative by Google that could affect how you approach building your site. The goal of AMP is to make mobile web pages “very fast and highly optimized”.

AMP is based on HTML code but AMP pages load really fast. This feature means they will take up fewer data and load much faster on slow connections in comparison to regular pages on your website.

Google has been advising people to adopt a mobile-first strategy for years, but the mobile-first index is now taking effect.

This means that Google can search mobile-optimized websites more frequently than desktop-optimized websites. Additionally, this means that mobile is now more important than ever for SEO.

Make SEO a Vital Part of Your Content Strategy

Content marketing is all the rage. But just throwing some content out there won’t cut it. It needs to be good content that positions you as an expert, provides value and makes sure people want to share it. Getting this right is easier said than done. It requires time and a substantial amount of effort. And this is where SEO can play a vital role in your content strategy.

SEO is a process, not an end result. SEO is never completed. You will never be finished with optimization.

In other words, you do not need the world’s best website. You simply need a website that outperforms the competitors.

Maintaining consistency of SEO fundamentals is the ideal way to do this:

  • Optimize the titles and meta descriptions of the pages.
  • Utilize readable, user-friendly, and search-engine-friendly URLs.
  • Enhance video experience (Optimize video content).
  • Optimize header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.).
  • Link to more in-depth content on your blog.
  • Create and refine content that is topically appropriate.

Key Takeaways

  • Avoid limiting yourself to standard single generic keywords in your approach. Take advantage of long-tail keywords.
  • Recognize and cater to viewer intent. Pay attention to the viewers. They will inform you of the type of content you can make.
  • Optimize from the beginning. Establish a solid base to cover all of the essentials.

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