Have you noticed that your overall website traffic has decreased in the recent months? Are you worried that your SEO content work will become irrelevant after the latest Google algorithms? You are not the only one to worry. Some of the more pessimistic voices in the market are already mourning the death of SEO after the Google BERT update.
The truth, as always, is somewhere in the middle. Yes, there will be some major changes to the way Google ranks pages and shows search results. But you should still work on your SEO content strategy, because it will continue to be effective.
So, what is changed? The main change brought by BERT is that Google will look for a better match between the user’s intent and the overall content of a page, not just the keywords contained in it.
What Can We Expect from Upcoming Google Algorithms?
The effect of the BERT algorithm will be, as far as SEO and marketing specialists noted, to weed out content where keywords occur in an unnatural manner. This point of view is reinforced by a few explanations given by John Mueller, Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google.
Speaking to the Search Engine Journal, he said: “So, if anything, there’s anything that you can do to kind of optimize for BERT, it’s essentially to make sure that your pages have natural text on them…Kind of like a normal human would be able to understand. So instead of stuffing keywords as much as possible, kind of write naturally.”
How Do the Google Algorithms Impact Your Page Rank and SEO Content?
What really changed in the latest algorithms for ranking web pages is the number of factors Google takes into account. According to SEO specialists, there are about 20 different factors that influence page ranks.
And the top five are:
- Domain authority
- Brand value
- Quality and unique content
- No keyword stuffing
- Overall online presence.
Thus, content remains among the key ranking factors for web pages. This means that every brand must continue to create and share content that:
- Has authority and builds trust with consumers
- Promotes the values of the brand
- Is of genuine interest and use for the target audience.
Now let us share our insights on how to steer your SEO content strategy to overcome the ranking changes from upcoming Google algorithms:
1. Guest Post Carefully and Meaningfully
Guest posts have become a victim of their own popularity. Now everyone can guest post on almost any blog, forum or website, for a fee or even for free. The guest posting frenzy has led to many irrelevant and low quality articles that have little or no connection with the general topics of the hosting website.
In turn, those websites lost their domain authority, and guest posters now have many low quality backlinks to their website. By domino effect, the Google algorithms also penalize these websites, as well. Thus, you should be very selective about where you share your guest posts. Make sure that:
- The website has a good reputation
- Your article topic is a good fit for the website
- Your intended audience is among the target audience of the website.
2. Go for the Featured Snippet
The featured snippet has become one of the most coveted placements for Google search results. It sits above all the other results and contains a paragraph of the text on the web page. How do you make sure that Google picks your text for the featured snippet?
First of all you should make sure that your text answers a specific question. Secondly, the text should be very descriptive and detailed, without being stuffed with keywords. Last but not least, pick the right questions to answer. The most popular ones are “how to” and “what is”.
3. Focus on FAQ and Q&A Pages
BERT and other upcoming Google algorithms will include voice search among other ranking factors. When people use voice search with Apple Siri or Google Assistant, they usually ask full questions.
Thus, FAQ and Q&A pages will become hotspots for Google ranking. Why? Because they have the natural format of a question and answer conversation, in line with the natural language programming that Google uses.
4. Optimize Your Images
Recent Google algorithms have changed every type of ranking, including that of photos. In a blog post, Cathy Edwards, Director of Engineering at Google Images, wrote: “Over the last year, we’ve overhauled the Google Images algorithm to rank results that have both great images and great content on the page. For starters, the authority of a web page is now a more important signal in the ranking.”
This means that you should include images used to illustrate articles in your overall content strategy. Always remember to use the keyword in the Title, Alt text and Description of the image when you upload it.
5. Remove Zombie Pages
According to Backlinko, zombie pages include:
- Outdated product pages (the business no longer sells that product)
- Old press releases
- Thin content (articles that have less than 300 words).
One way to salvage the content of some of these pages is to restructure it. Instead of many short blog posts, create a comprehensive guide or another type of long form content, and delete the old and low quality blog posts.
As you can see, the upcoming Google algorithms will not likely hurt your content SEO if your business is committed to creating high quality content that meets the interests and needs of your intended audience. All you need to do is strive to maintain authority, quality and trustworthiness in every piece of content you publish.