4 SEO Strategies You’ll Need promote your business part 2

The way 30 trillion web pages are ranked changed forever on October 26, 2015. That’s when the world became aware Google’s machine-learning artificial intelligence system.

Google’s mission: To terminate any web pages from its results that don’t provide the highest-quality content and to find the most relevant answers for users.

Now marketers who want to gain precious visibility on always-shrinking organic SERPs must prepare to go through a new problem to provide the best possible result.

Google has sent two other major algorithms to strike at websites.

In the year 2010, Google sent Panda update, to hunt and kill the rankings of websites producing low-quality content.

The second algorithm known as Penguin was sent in 2012 to find websites with unnatural link profiles and terminate them from the search results.

While neither algorithmic update was perfect, both succeeded in their overall mission. Now Google is sending a third.

Now, as before, Google has sent a new machine learning system that will change SEO and the organic search results as we’ve known them.

RankBrain will analyze web pages for relevance. Every page will get a score between 1 and 10, with 1 being a dubious result and 10 being extremely strong.

Imagine one day you wake up to find your website gone. Just gone. The fate of your site decided by a new order of machine intelligence in just a microsecond.

For now, RankBrain is mainly used on complex long-tail search queries. But assuming RankBrain will only ever be used on long-tail queries would be dramatically underestimating its potential.

Google has pointed out that 15% of the millions of queries it handles have never been searched before. Additionally, for upwards of 99% of content across the web, Google simply doesn’t have enough signals to determine the most relevant search result for users. There are also whole niches that lack reliable natural link data.

So now, with RankBrain, Google is learning in a very advanced way exactly what people click on and whether or not they are satisfied with the result when they click through.

Now, on to those four RankBrain strategies you’ll need to survive in the new world.

  1. High Organic CTRs: Your Highest Probability For SEO Success

Google uses its Quality Score algorithm to rate the quality and relevance of your keywords and AdWords ads. Click-through rate, the relevance of each keyword to its ad group, landing page quality and relevance, ad text relevance, your historic AdWords performance – all of this ultimately determines your cost per click and your ad rank in the ad auction process.

The key to beating the Quality Score algorithm is just a matter of beating the expected click-through rate for a given ad spot. Important: There is no one expected CTR – CTRs will vary by time of day, device, location, and other factors.

This graph (based on WordStream client data*) maps Quality Score against the ratio of actual click-through rate to expected click-through rate by position. As you can see,  the AdWords Quality Score algorithm is largely just a matter of beating the expected click-through rate for a given ad position.

The better your ad does compare to the expected CTR, the higher your Quality Score.

By looking at millions of ads and averaging their click-through rates by ad position, we were able to reverse-engineer the expected CTR of an ad, and this is what we found:

If your ad is in position 1, you don’t have extra points for having a 5% CTR – Google expects your CTR to be that high when you’re in that position. You need to do even better than expected to prove to Google that your ad is especially high-quality and relevant to users.

What does this have to do with SEO, in a world where “content is king” and backlinks are critical to better rankings? Well, that’s where you need to start adjusting your thinking.

The future of SEO isn’t about beating another page based on content length, social metrics, keyword usage, or your number of backlinks. Better organic search visibility will come from beating your competitors with a higher than expected click-through rate.

Put simply: People are both the problem and the solution. RankBrain is learning from human decisions – specifically what they click on. Attracting higher click-through rates will be critical to your SEO success, just as it is the most important component of PPC success.

To figure this out, go into Search Console in Google Webmaster Tools. This will show you average position and click-through rates for the queries you rank for.

Figuring out what’s a good click-through rate for organic search is beyond complicated. There are a lot of factors, like query type, a number of ads, personalization, location, and the presence of Knowledge Graph, a feature snippet or other Google SERP elements (plus this data comes from the future and is not set in stone). But you’ll notice right away that the CTR for your #1 rankings is super-high (over 32% for “marketing ideas,” above) compared to lower rankings, even relatively high average positions like 3 (under 3% for “PPC,” which Google interprets as a commercial query).

So, as a very basic example using the chart above, if you’re in Position 1, and you have a CTR lower than 30%, you’re in danger of losing your spot once RankBrain finds a relevant page with a better-than-expected CTR for its current position. If you have a much higher than expected CTR in a lower position (e.g., if you have a 15% CTR in Position 3), you should expect a bump up to at least the #2 position.

But again, CTR varies greatly based on so many different factors that simply using these static benchmarks isn’t a perfect approach. What’s an SEO to do?

Thankfully the notion of trying to achieve an above average click-through rate is not a new concept, at least from a PPC marketer’s perspective, and there are ridiculously smart PPC tactics that SEOs can borrow from.

Keep in mind: PPC marketers obsess about getting high-Quality Scores. It’s among the most important AdWords success KPIs.

Figuring out your “organic Quality Score”

The challenge is that in SEO, Google doesn’t provide you with a Quality Score number to tell you if your content is above or below the expected click-through rate. But I’ve developed a hack to determine which of your keywords are most likely underperforming compared to the expected click-through rate: The Larry RankBrain Risk Detection Algorithm.

Just download all of your query data from Webmaster Tools and plot CTR vs. Average Position for the queries you rank for organically, like this:

Next, plot an exponential trend line. The queries that fall below your average CTR are your queries that are likely most at risk for future RankBrain updates. Conversely, the queries that score above the trend line are most likely to get a boost from future RankBrain updates.

If you then do a secondary sort on your most “at risk” pages using a metric like page views or conversions generated by those keywords, you can prioritize your optimization efforts on the most important, most at-risk pages on your site. The Larry RankBrain Risk Detection Algorithm is very similar to what PPC marketers do on a regular basis – which is to prioritize the optimization of low-Quality Score keywords and ads first because that is where you have the least risk (it’s less risky to fix your losers) and most potential upside.

Bottom line: You must beat the expected CTR for a given organic search position. Optimize for relevance or die.

  1. How to Optimize Your SEO Headlines and Descriptions for Above Average CTR

“SEO” headlines (title tags) and meta descriptions do OK. But keyword-optimized titles are the equivalent of “Dynamic Keyword Insertion” for PPC ads.

However, ads using DKI are actually less likely to produce ads that are among the top 5% or top 1% of ads with highest click-through rates, normalized by ad position (AKA unicorn status).

These ads are OK, I guess. They probably perform well enough. But, like many search-optimized titles, they’re also pretty boring, generic, and average. I don’t want to click on them. Do you?

Our research into millions of PPC ads has shown that the single most powerful way to increase CTR in ads is to leverage emotional triggers. Like this PPC ad:

Tapping into emotions will get your target customer/audience clicking! Anger. Disgust. Affirmation. Fear. These are some of the most powerful triggers not only drive click through rate but also increase conversion rates.

Don’t make changes willy-nilly. Test out headlines as paid search ads or as social media updates linking to your content using different headlines – look at click through rates. Audition your headlines, eliminate the losers and use your winners as your SEO titles.

By no means should you forget about keywords and focus just on the emotion. Focusing on just keyword optimization or just emotion is a recipe for average titles and descriptions. Plus, without keywords, how will Google even know to “try out” your content on the SERP and see what kind of CTR it gets? (Google does this regularly with ads; that’s how it knows if your ad beats the expected CTR for its position or not.)

No, you need to combine keywords and emotional triggers to create SEO superstorms that result in ridiculous CTRs and leave your competition devastated.

Bottom line: Use emotional triggers + keywords in your titles and descriptions if you want your CTR to go from “OK” to great.