SEO Best Practices and Search Trends
1. BERT & EAT Google Updates
Both BERT and EAT were on the top of mind of every important or famous Twitter SEO personality in 2019. It was yuuuge.
I asked Gary about E-A-T. He said it’s largely based on links and mentions on authoritative sites. i.e. if the Washington post mentions you, that’s good.
— Marie Haynes (@Marie_Haynes) February 21, 2018
This stuff seems important right? Who knows?
Just think about this. Google makes tons of money off of selling Ads, also known as pay per click. You can read this article if you don’t believe me: https://www.statista.com/statistics/266471/distribution-of-googles-revenues-by-source/
Why would they tell you how to rank a website at the top of free or organic Google search result?
They wouldn’t make any money off of you this way.
So they would probably tell you a bunch of fancy sounding things like “algorithm updates” and name them fancy names like the “BERT update” and “EAT update”.
The main thing you need to know about these is to completely disregard them. It doesn’t matter. Google is not going to give you the secret sauce, so don’t waste anytime hoping that they will.
Forget about algo updates.
The only updates you need to know are the big important ones that Google will tell you about years ahead of time, like the mobile friendly update, and the http(s) update.
2. Getting a dedicated IP address in the hopes of ranking higher in Search results.
There is a ton of bad advice out there, but I was surprised when I heard this one as it was a first. And I got this question from a web designer that actually offers SEO services to their clients.
NO! A dedicated IP address won’t help you rank better. At all. This is pure nonsense. Who even thought to come up with this as an angle to sell dedicated IP’s?
Just ask yourself, “WHY would a dedicated IP address help me to rank better in search?” And when you can’t come up with even a half way decent answer, then you have your answer. It can’t.
3. The Rise Of Voice Search Results
Ok, I’m going out on a limb on this one. Unless you are some big enterprise like Amazon or whatever, I wouldn’t worry about voice search, yet.
Voice search was supposed to be big by 2018. In 2020 I’m still not convinced and spending no efforts on this. Most businesses, and certainly just about all local businesses, don’t need to worry about voice search.
It’s just not there. It may never be there. We’ll see.
I’m still thinking that this is a fad, or that it will just pull the data from the info on a web page as it already is.
I realize I could be wrong about this one. Don’t worry about optimizing for voice until you are absolutely crushing it will organic search and just looking for small incremental ways to improve.
4. Missing the Massive Opportunity of Optimizing Images for SEO
Most people who work on websites, be it SEO’s, web designers, or even just website owners, don’t take the effort to optimize their images.
This is one of the simplest ways to get more traffic to your website. The number of people searching Google, then clicking on the “Image” button is increasing every year.
And more and more images are appearing in the search results.
And for years and years website owners keep overlooking this.
Name all your images with appropriate image file names and appropriate Alt text and you’ve got an excellent chance of winning more website visitors with properly optimized images.
It’s easy to do. Don’t sleep on this! Yet everyone will.
5. Long Form Content to Get Better Search Result Rankings
This is nonsense. Google has said length of content is not a ranking factor. But you also can’t trust what Google says.
From my experience, you simply want to look at the search results. How many words of content, on average, do the sites on the first 10 organic results have? Just get that average number of content on your page, and maybe just a little more, to be on the safe side, and that’s it.
And for everyone that says you need a lot of content on a page to rank well, just look at Yelp. Those pages that almost always rank #1 in local search results have almost no content. They are just a bunch of business listings and they rank great.
Even so, I’d still go with the average of the first page like I mentioned above.
6. Optimize for Mobile Searches
Ok, I know this is old news, but here’s the deal.
A lot of websites pass Google’s Mobile Friendly test, so they are allowed in the mobile index. But here’s the thing, many of those sites simply pass the test for a computer, but when you do to the site on a phone it is super clunky and doesn’t work right.
Now this is more of a web design thing than an SEO thing. But this is a real issue. Double check how your website looks and works on a mobile device. It is simply passes the Mobile Friendly test, but doesn’t work that well for a human user, then find a web designer that will work with you to improve your site.
Most likely you won’t need a lot of work done. But these small improvements will lead to a huge benefit.
7. Schema or Structure Data Markup
Everyone likes to talk about schema (you can go here to the official site to learn all you want about schema markup https://schema.org/) because it’s industry jargon that makes the speaker sound very technical.
The truth about schema is that won’t move your website to the top of a Google search. What schema will do, is give you more attention on a search result. For example you can see FAQ schema taking up much larger chunks of a page than a listing that doesn’t have FAQ markup on it.
Schema is one of those things you leave until the very end when you have already ranked at the top and you are just looking for those small improvements to get more visibility.
Now, I know this hasn’t been the fanciest article about SEO. It won’t get any retweets I’m guessing, but what I’ve told you here is what works. And this is the important stuff with no fluff added.
There is a lot of wonky and just plain bad advice out there.
To get better at search engine opimisation, just build your own websites and learn from experience. That’s what I did.
If you’d like to learn more, I highly recommend watching the video from Ahrefs. Just like their blog posts, their videos are very education. You always learn something and you will walk away with some actionable tips that you can implement, to improve traffic to your website right away.