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Companies of all sizes – from SMBs to large enterprises – need a cohesive approach to truly dominate the digital marketing front.
If you want to achieve online success, aligning your SEO and content marketing strategies is crucial.
But how exactly can it be done?
On November 15, I had the pleasure of moderating a sponsored SEJThinkTank webinar presented by ScribbleLive‘s Christopher Hart and Chris Trappe. Hart and Trappe talked about how companies can make their SEO and content teams work together to score bigger marketing wins. Here is a recap of the webinar presentation.Understanding Today’s Customer-Driven World
We live in a customer-driven world. Users are now in control of their buying decisions. Their journeys are much more dynamic and, at times, complicated.
Communication has evolved throughout the years.
In the 1980s, broadcast media was the main source of information and entertainment for most people.
The development of Internet 1.0 in the 1990s added new, interesting means for tech-savvy individuals to acquire data and communicate with others.
By the 2000s, mobile technology has fully grown and eventually paved the way for the development of social networks.
Today, it is more about great content experiences across various channels that relate to the end user. Wherever your consumers are, that’s where you need to be.The Importance of Content Experiences
Content experiences fuel the new demands of marketing.
The more relevant your content is, the better it is for your brand. Therefore, you need to target your customers at the right time, with the appropriate content, when it matters to them.
According to a Forrester study, 71 percent of buyers begin their purchase journeys by using a search engine. This is why optimizing your brand’s web presence is essential.
On the other hand, the average B2B purchase group involves about five stakeholders – each of whom has different content needs that you need to fulfill.
When competing on content experiences, you need to be:
“We believe content is the fourth dimension of competition and the key differentiation opportunity for today’s enterprise,” Hart said.Owning the Journey
You need to know which types of content to produce for your users. Prospective customers typically consume a wide array of content as they go through the buyer’s journey.
Interacting with your customers doesn’t end when they purchase your product or service. At this point, you have the opportunity to keep them loyal members of your community by providing additional content that will keep them engaged.How to Get Bigger Marketing Wins Breaking Down Internal Silos
Companies face internal obstacles that hamper efficient collaborations. Employees and teams may not have the right tools, structures, and systems in place to work together, leading to a poor, disjointed content marketing performance.
Likewise, brands face the challenge of keeping all content up to date, but they don’t have complete data when they need it. Long ramp times also don’t help.
The key is to increase efficiencies.
Do away with individual marketing channels being the thought process.
Instead, collaborate across different teams to take the expertise that each individual has. Break down the tribal knowledge and apply it to multiple disciplines.Building & Monetizing Audiences Through Content
The ideal way to go about this is to incorporate a data-driven strategy and integrate the channels you use in your workflow. If you produce content that adds value to and encourages engagement with your audience, they will be able to build a relationship with your brand.
The opportunity to monetize will follow.More Effective User Engagement
Engaging your users would not be possible if the social experience is out of context. This brings us back to the beginning stages of creating the content strategy. A lack of central strategy will leave key stakeholders out of the loop and produce limited content that doesn’t speak well to the audience.
In contrast, if you ensure that key stakeholders are all in the loop and there is an existing, data-driven central strategy that drives consistent content and messaging, you can maximize your audience reach and engagement. Your users will have consistent content experiences across all channels, consequently eliminating confusion and disconnect.A Better Way to Create Content
Whether you have an internal content team or you’re outsourcing this process to freelancers or agencies, we all know that content development and production can take up so much time and resources.
If you’re looking for a better and more efficient way to create content, you might want to consider using a content experience platform. Software and talent are indispensable parts of the mix that will help you maximize and streamline the creative process.Key Takeaways
Competing on content experiences entails being data-driven, strategic, relevant, engaging, and omnichannel.
You don’t have to create more content, you just have to create better content. Better content is focused and relevant to your end users.
Having a data-driven central strategy is crucial to maximizing your audience reach and engagement. The goal is to implement cohesive content and messaging across various marketing channels so that your end users have a consistent and engaging content experiences.
Using a content experience platform can streamline your content creation process. If you want a better way to develop and produce content, look for a software provider that has powerful features and can help your company be efficient, scale and get results.Video Recap: How Successful Companies Combine SEO & Content for Bigger Wins [Webinar]
Below is the video recap of the webinar presentation and Q&A.
You can check out the SlideShare of the presentation as well.Join Us For Our Next Webinar! KPIs, Metrics & Benchmarks That Matter For SEO Success In 2023
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How To Combine Scanned Documents Into One PDF
Also Read- How to Convert EML Files to PDF on Windows
This article will describe numerous ways to Combine Scanned Documents into One PDF. Continue reading to learn more about it.
Understanding how to merge numerous PDFs into a single file is simple and can increase your productivity. You don’t want to burden the recipient with multiple files when you can give a single cohesive PDF. Or perhaps you’ve printed four or five portions of a report to distinct PDFs from Word, Excel, and a picture editor. How do you put them all in one file?
If you use a Mac, the only utility you’ll need is already included in the macOS operating system. But, if you use Windows, you’ll need third-party software; fortunately, a few free, open-source solutions are available. Let’s check the easiest methods to Combine Scanned Documents into One PDF.What are the Methods to Merge Multiple Scanned Documents into One PDF?
Method 1: Using Advanced PDF Manager
Note – The trial version expires after 14 days, and you cannot save modifications made to the PDF after that.
Amazing PDF manager.
Use it for combining PDF files.
Can split PDFs into two PDF files.
Alter the alignment of the PDF file.
PDF duplication is available.
Remove specific pages from PDF.
Reorder the PDF pages.
PDF files can be protected with a password.
Before we begin the process, ensure your scanned documents are saved on your Windows PC as PDFs. Follow the instructions mentioned below to install and use this software to merge PDFs:
Run the setup file and begin the installation process.
Select your browsing location and press the Next button.
Now, launch the software on your computer.
Read Here- Advanced PDF Manager Review – Best PDF Manager You Can Use
After you’ve registered, you’ll be able to save the PDF after making changes. However, the trial version is available, if you only want to test it.
Go to Open Files and select the PDF to handle your PDF files.
After you’ve imported the PDF file, you can edit it using tools like Merge, Split, Protect, Duplicate, and Rotate.
Once the file is saved on your computer, you can additionally reorder the pages using the Rearrange Pages feature on Advanced PDF Manager. Also, add a password to the file if required. There are many benefits associated with this PDF management tool which will help you with the PDF files in multiple ways.
Check This- How To Remove Password Protection From PDF
Method 2: Using Google Docs
Method 3: Using the Online PDF combiner Online2PDF
Several free online PDF converters and file merging services will merge the files for you. One of the best online PDF Converters we discovered was called Online2PDF. It supports different file types (PDF, ppt, docx, etc.) and can convert and merge them into a single PDF document. This can also compress a PDF file to be sent over email.
The main issue with this tool is that it is the least secure technique. When you upload data online, there is almost no security that can guarantee that the data will not be tampered with or exploited at any time. As a result, it is recommended as the last method. Use this procedure if nothing else works.
Read This – 10 Best PDF Password Remover for Mac
You know some of the best methods to merge scanned documents into PDFs. All of them work out fine. However, based on the feedback received from the users, we recommend that you all should go for the Advanced PDF Manager. It is a very straightforward PDF management application that can assist you with merging, splitting, rotating, reordering pages on a PDF, and various other PDF-related operations. So, give it a shot!Quick Reaction:
About the author
Ready to learn the secret to search engine optimization (SEO)?
Well, I hate to break it to you, but there really is no secret.
There is no secret sauce.
There is no secret recipe.
SEO isn’t about magic tricks or gaming the search algorithms.
What you really need is a thorough understanding of what people want when they search – and why they want (or need) it.
The fact that there is no big secret is what makes SEO so hard. It’s also a constantly moving target.
And we don’t make the rules – the search engines do.
That said, organic search is one of the most profitable marketing channels there is – if you’re willing to invest in it.Where Search Is Heading
If you’re brand new to the world of SEO, I highly recommend you start with our guide, SEO 101: Learn the Basics of Search Engine Optimization, before going further.
Already have a grasp on the SEO basics? Great! Let’s continue.
A complete guide to SEO – and where search is heading – would be impossible to fit into one article.
Many factors impact your SEO success, including:
Technical: This includes anything that affects the performance of, visibility of, or how search engines access your site. This includes indexing and crawling, schema, page speed, site structure, URL structure, and much more.
On-page: This is your content – both what is visible to users on your webpages (text, images, video, or audio), as well as elements that are only visible to search engines (HTML tags, structured data).
Off-page: This is anything that’s not on your site. Ultimately, off-page factors are about growing and demonstrating your website’s authority, relevance, and trust and building an audience. Think link building, social media marketing, PPC marketing, reviews, and user-generated content.
In this chapter, we’ll start exploring the world of SEO in three of the most important areas that will help set you up for success:
Search experience optimization: What opportunities you have to be more present to your customers/audience.
Content strategies for actual people: The importance of content and what it means to be relevant.
The impact of voice search on SEO: We’ll look into the not-too-distant future and show you why the time is now to optimize for voice search. So don’t wait!1. Search Experience Optimization
When you hear the acronym SEO, it usually means Search Engine Optimization. And, as you’d expect, SEO in this context means optimizing your website for search engines (or, far less likely, optimizing a search engine).
But Search Experience Optimization is a newer way to think about the term SEO. Some have even called search experience optimization the “new SEO.”
Search experience optimization is optimizing for people in all the places your brand and content could possibly appear. It goes beyond the nuts and bolts of optimizing for search engines – although those nuts and bolts are still incredibly important!
Search strategies require us to create brand experiences, using the search results to build relevance.
Ninety-three percent of online experiences begin with a search engine, according to a 2006 Forrester study. That means a search engine is the biggest billboard there is for brands.
Search engines also travel with us wherever we go. Google refers to these search experiences as moments, with four of the biggest being:
Contemporary SEO strategies require us to be creative to get visibility.Ranking Above the Fold: Desktop vs. Mobile
Check out these results. What do you see?
On mobile, there are no organic results above the fold.
On desktop, the only organic result you see is a featured snippet.
You have to optimize in every way you possibly can to improve visibility of your brand. Sometimes ranking “number one” in organic search won’t even matter because the page you’re trying to rank won’t even show “first.”
Let’s look at just a few of these search features that come before the first organic position:News & Social Content
Google News and social content are areas where your content can gain great visibility. But news and social are wholly dependent on the freshness of query (how current/hot the topic is).
In order to rank/appear in these areas, you need a good understanding of your space and how Google responds to a query. Not every query will show news or social content, so it’s important to understand how keywords react in different ways.Knowledge Panels
Google’s knowledge panels, which are powered by Google’s Knowledge Graph, display the basics about a business. This includes things like:
Hours of operation.
This is a huge way to build trust in your brand. Searchers have been conditioned to look for certain parts of search results, such as knowledge panels, to get the trusted information they want or need.
Getting these panels is important if you’re a brand (or any other type of entity). If you aren’t in the Knowledge Graph, you might be in a little trouble.People Also Ask
People also ask is another search feature in which content is directly pulled in line with results. These are real terms people are searching for and content from websites is pulled in to populate these results.
You can use this search feature directionally to identify content optimization opportunities or additional new pieces of content you could create to help target the audience you want to reach.Apply SEO to Different Platforms
In addition to optimizing for different parts of search results, you can apply SEO methodologies to any platform someone can search on.
These optimization opportunities, each of which is essentially a discipline unto itself, include:
All of these searchable platforms are completely adaptable to the principles of SEO and provide opportunities for you to gain additional brand visibility.
Plus, when you optimize for other search experiences, content about your brand may be pulled into traditional search engine results (Google, Bing, etc.) as well.
Be visible as much as you can. Use every part of the results to create search experiences.
Optimize beyond the search engine. This will ultimately lead to additional real estate occupation in the search engine results themselves.
SEO assumes a much larger context when the goal is search experience optimization, not just search engine optimization.2. Optimize Content for People
It’s sometimes easy to forget that it’s all about optimizing for people – your customers, readers, or subscribers.
So always optimize for people, not search engines.
Create content for customers, not for the sole purpose of ranking higher.
When you put people at center of your content strategies, chances are you’ll be way more successful in search engines.Content, Keywords & Search Algorithms
Google has made several algorithm updates and changes over the years.
Two key algorithm changes are extremely important in terms of how we think about content and keywords:
Hummingbird: This update gave Google the ability to understand full queries, not just individual keywords as part of a search. It also introduced the concept of semantics, or different keywords surrounding a main topic. Optimizing your pages for a single keyword from top to bottom is no longer a viable SEO tactic, nor does it look natural to people.
RankBrain: This update gave Google the ability to understand queries it had never processed before and create associations necessary to be able to decipher the full meaning of query to deliver results through machine learning. It is one of the top three ranking factors, along with content and links.
So how do these two algorithm updates impact content strategies?
You don’t want to focus too narrowly on keywords. While rankings are important, ranking isn’t the only thing that matters.
Keywords can sometimes betray you. Keywords may have a high search volume but can lack specificity and value.
Take this search for [email marketing] for example:
The search volume for this particular keyword is roughly 18,000.
Even if you were to write content well enough to rank for this keyword, how much of that traffic will be relevant? How many conversions will you be able to generate? Probably not a lot.
The term “email marketing” is very generic. This is why Google shows ambiguous results.
There’s a clear difference in a term like “email marketing” and “enterprise cross-channel marketing platforms”.
What’s the difference?
One keyword is informational, while the other is transactional. Transactional queries are more valuable to conversion-driven businesses.
You can optimize for more transactional queries by targeting long-tail search keywords. This specificity of keywords (even if the keyword has low search volume) will help you create more relevant content and get more qualified traffic to your site.
At a tactical level you have to get creative with your topic and keyword research. Really understand how people search for what they search for.Why Content Matters
There’s no denying the importance of content.
Without content there is no visibility.
To underscore how important content is (and how important the selection of keywords can be to the effectiveness of content), consider this:
60 percent of queries are four words or more.
The average word count for a first-page result on Google is almost 1,900 words.
This begs the question: how do we know what people want? How do we know what people are going to search for?
Give People Content They Want
If you pay close enough attention, your audience will tell you what they want.
Some of the best audience tools are contained right in the Google search results:
People also ask.
Those are all queries/questions that people ask when they search. This data presents real opportunities for additional content.
Addressing pains points and directly answering questions will help you deliver the right content in a time of need to searchers. That’s fundamentally what a search is – a need. It will also help you understand your customers better.Social Listening
Social platforms also provide ample opportunities to learn about people and listen to needs.
Monitor conversations on every social network you’re active (and anywhere your brand is discussed).
What are people complaining about? Maybe it’s:
Customer service issues.
Being unable to find out when your business is open.
Your product(s) or service(s).
You can turn any of these into content.Competitive Research
Analyzing the sites in search results for competitive topics reveal a lot about what is working, and what isn’t, about your business. Do a content audit and find content gaps, or areas you want to emulate.
No matter what you choose, the end goal is always same: gain more context. Expand on topics your audience needs you to show up for.
This type of research can be uncomfortable. You may have to face some hard truths when you take any of these routes. But it’s worth it as you’ll understand the needs of people you want to reach.Make It Mobile-First!
Great content means optimal accessibility, regardless of device. Truly mobile-first experiences that load as fast as possible.
Slow loading pages can potentially impact your SEO performance – and your bottom line. Always be testing and optimizing!
If you’re unsure about your mobile experience, test all your pages. Use any tool you can to optimize the user experience.
There are many great tools, including Pagespeed Insights. Use them to identify problem areas, such as how quickly your pages load and render.Be Prepared for the Mobile-First Index
Google has been telling everyone to go mobile-first for years but now it’s happening with the mobile-first index.
What this means is Google will crawl mobile sites at a higher frequency than desktop versions of sites. It also means that mobile is more critical to SEO than ever before. Watch developments in this area closely.Make SEO Part of Your DNA
Optimize your content from the start. It will save you a lot of headaches in the end.
SEO is a process, not a goal. SEO is never done. You’re never done optimizing.
Every page can be optimized because there’s no such thing as a perfect website. You need to become “least imperfect.”
In other words, you don’t need the best website in the world. You just need a website that’s better than your competition.
Being consistent with the SEO basics is the perfect way to do that:
Optimize your titles and meta descriptions.
Use readable user and search friendly URLs.
Optimize video content (if you have it).
Optimize header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.).
Link to deeper content within your site.
Create and optimize topically-relevant content.
All of these items might seem like no-brainers to seasoned SEO professions. But you’d probably be surprised to see how often sites don’t have the most basic things (e.g., title tags on their most important pages).
Your navigation and internal linking structure is the thematic backbone of your site. Use it to signal to search engines the topics of your site – what you want to be known for.
Embrace long-tail keywords. Don’t limit yourself with a strategy that only targets generic/ambiguous keywords.
Understand audience intent and create content for it. Listen to your audience. They will tell you what content you need to create.
Optimize from the start. Build your foundation and cover all the basics (technical SEO and on-page optimization).3. Voice Search Optimization
Voice search is closer than you think.
Pay attention to changes in search behavior and shifts in search results. Gather insight now to prepare for the future.
A whole new generation of people is coming. Their primary relationship with a search engine is to speak to it – not to type or tap. This is a huge change.
With a proliferation of voice-assisted devices that are easy to use (even for older generations), we’re fast approaching a voice-first shift in search behavior.Position Zero
Featured snippets are already starting to play a critical role in how Google provides search results. This is the new field of play in SEO.
Position zero is largely question-driven. Google provides direct answers to questions, pulling an excerpt of content directly from a website into its featured snippet feature.Optimizing for Voice Search
Voice search has one result. Position zero is the only result spoken back to you.
To have success, it’s important to know the content and context of search:
Identify common questions and queries your audience has.
Create content to directly address those questions and queries.Turn Content Into Actions & Skills
Google takes a few types of published content and makes it voice searchable for:
Alexa skills also make content searchable:
Information searchesThe Future of Voice Search
There’s a lot we still don’t know about voice search.
Voice search data isn’t available: Google doesn’t show voice search data in the same way it does for desktop and mobile search in the Search Console.
How search behavior is changing: When mobile was becoming a thing, we had data to show “near me” type searches, reflective of those on the go, were exploding. We don’t yet know the voice search equivalent to “near me” searches.
What do we know?
We know voice search consists of 10 percent of all searches, and that number is increasing. Just like mobile 6-7 years ago, voice search is coming.
So here lies the SEO opportunity. How will we define the methodology of voice search experience to continue to be present with relevant content when people need it?
Prepare for a voice-first world.
Optimizing for position zero is optimizing for voice search.
Make content searchable on voice-enabled devices.Summary
As you approach SEO, especially in terms of content, make sure your strategy takes these three areas into account:
Creating search experiences is the new SEO. Optimize for every opportunity you can. Take ownership of the search results, including outside of traditional organic search. Be present. Be relevant. Build trust in the people who are searching for your brand, wherever that is.
Create content for people, not search engines. This is how you deliver great digital experiences and understand your customers better. Focus on the topics people want rather than worrying about keywords as much. Use your content assets to listen to your audience and create content that directly addresses their questions and pain points. Build a foundation you need for good SEO going forward.
Voice search is coming. Don’t wait. Aim for position zero in search results and make content voice-searchable.
This post was mostly based on a session at Adobe Summit (The Future of SEO: Is Your Content Strategy Ready?) presented by Matt Young, business consultant, Adobe Customer Solutions.
Featured Image: Paulo Bobita
All other images/screenshots created by Matt Young/Adobe, used with permission.
Are you forward-thinking in your approach to search marketing?
When was the last time you updated your content strategy?
With Google’s ever-changing algorithm, your SEO tactics must continue to evolve.
Search engines are known to reward websites that publish high-quality content – consistently.
Gone are the days when businesses could rank on Google simply by pumping out generic, keyword-stuffed material.
Now, the key to higher rankings is creating content that offers maximum value to searchers.
On October 6, I moderated a webinar with Carlos Meza, President & CEO at Crowd Content.
Meza explained how to optimize your content for user intent and relevancy by using a meaningful content structure.
Here is a summary of the webinar. To access the entire presentation, complete the form.Key Takeaways
Use human-first content. Focus on the user and how you can help them. Ensure that your content leaves them with takeaways.
Topic Clusters answer not only one question but all the questions that the searcher might have.Content Creation: What’s Changed Over The Years
2023 has been focusing on quality content, with 6 out of 7 updates targeted toward content.
Today, some content methods are no longer applicable.
[Make sure you’re not using these old ways & see content horror stories] Instantly access the webinar →
Search Engines are getting better at understanding content as humans would; it now:
Puts context into queries and sentences.
Punishes keyword stuffing.
Analyzes the holistic meaning of a query.
Looks at the meaning/scope of whole paragraphs.
Leverages NLP and AI to predict information people want.
[What’s NLP?] Instantly access the webinar →
In light of these updates, what do you need to do?What To Do Now: Write For Humans
Unfortunately, over time, we became too technical in SEO and forgot that the content we produce is supposed to serve a purpose for humans.
Writing for humans means producing high-quality content. Here’s how.High-Quality Content: 3 Factors To Consider
When you want to start writing high-quality content, there are three factors to look at.Factor #1: Empathetic, People-First Content
Ask yourself, what would you feel if you were in the shoes of the reader?
Humans respond to narratives, stories, brands, and information – and so do search-engine algorithms!
So, make sure you:
Start with intent – the “why.”
Focus on the “who.”
Make it readable & user-friendly.
[Check out Google’s guidance] Instantly access the webinar →
By writing people-first content, you’ll stay aligned with Google’s narrative that great content is the best way to protect yourself from updates.Factor #2: Topic Clustering
Topic clusters are resources that answer all the questions around a topic.
When you think about topic clustering, you can think about it like what you’ll have on your plate for dinner.
[Learn what we mean] Instantly access the webinar →
Focus On Topics & Not Keywords
Now, this doesn’t mean keywords don’t work anymore. It just means keywords should be within the topic cluster.
Topic clusters are great for:
Scaling SEO strategy based on topics.
Increasing web engagement.
[Find out where to start with clusters] Instantly access the webinar →Factor #3: Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
A subject matter expert has highly specialized knowledge of a particular industry or field.
Improve E-A-T score (must-have for YMYL content).
Make content unique.
Provide more organic opportunities for backlinks.
[Discover the recipe to producing great E-A-T content with an SME] Instantly access the webinar →
A Note On Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Is AI good or bad for content? It depends on how you use it.
For example, AI is a tool to help writers be more productive, overcome writer’s block, and create an outline.
However, AI will not replace 100% of what a writer can do.
So, it’s best to proceed cautiously when using AI to create content.
Make sure your content strategies stay up-to-date by applying all the principles discussed in the on-demand webinar.
You’ll find that adapting to the rapidly changing SEO standards will be easier, and you’ll be able to energize more of your online presence.New SEO Strategies: 3 Steps To Perfect SEO Content Creation [Webinar]
Here’s the presentation:
Join Us For Our Next Webinar! KPIs, Metrics & Benchmarks That Matter For SEO Success In 2023
Reserve my Seat
Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal
Everything that is man-made is knowable.
That includes the Google algorithm.
But that doesn’t mean the algorithm is known.
In the 20+ years, I’ve been doing SEO, I’ve seen thousands of theories around how the search engine algorithms work – specifically Google’s algorithm.
Everyone from Ivy League PhDs to street smart elementary school dropouts search for a silver bullet – a trick or technique that will allow a website to rank for any keyword or topic desired.
I’ve seen some SEO professionals find things that work for a time.
I’ve seen black hats seemingly rank at-will for anything they want – for a time.
But the tricks never work for long.
I’ve never been a fan of silver bullets or manipulative tricks to rank for specific terms or topics.
I don’t believe that SEO is rocket science.
There are those that would have you believe if you can just plug the right numbers into a mathematical formula, you’ll be able to rank.
The problem is those numbers are constantly in flux – and if Google sees that someone has figured out how to mathematically manipulate their system, they change the numbers.
Let’s face it, when we try to reverse engineer Google algorithm, no matter how smart we are, we are akin to someone trying to find a specific red dot in a Jackson Pollock painting while blindfolded.
No, SEO isn’t rocket science.
It’s more like plumbing.
You don’t need to understand how to build a sewer system, you just need to understand how the pipes work and be willing to get your hands dirty while working hard.The Rise of the Baby Algorithm
Earlier this month at Pubcon, Google’s Gary Illyes said something that validated my current thinking around rankings in general.
“We have probably millions of baby algorithms and they act differently. They might do something that triggers more crawls on certain sites. It solely depends on the algo and what it’s trying to do.”
In other words, what works in Google for one topic may not work for other topics.
Each topic might have its own “baby algorithm.”
That means that the ranking criteria for keywords around mortgage topics will be different from the ranking criteria for recipes.
This makes sense to anyone optimizing for topics in multiple verticals.
There is no overarching, unified tactic that will definitively get any site to rank for a topic.
What works in vertical may very well flop in another.
The confirmation of many different Google algorithms by Illyes solidifies that adage that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy in modern SEO.
Modern SEO is tried and true best practices coupled with marketing nuance and hours and hours of testing.SEO as Fishing
I love metaphors.
When I heard Illyes talk about baby algorithms – it wasn’t cute cuddly infants that came to my mind.
It was ponds, lakes, rivers, and oceans.
In my mind’s eye, I saw a vast interactive landscape filled with thousands of varied bodies of water.
In each pond were different types of fish.
The ponds that held bass didn’t have sharks – the sharks were in the bigger bodies of water.
Lots of folks were casting lines into the ponds.
Some of these folks were using the wrong bait.
Some folks were trying to catch sharks with worms while others tried to catch bass with large squid.
Periodically, a fishing guide would help a fisherman by suggesting a different bait – or moving them to another pond that had the type of fish they were looking for.
What can I say, I have a vivid imagination.
Of course, in this metaphor, the bodies of water are the aforementioned baby algorithms.
The guides are SEO professionals.
If you’ve done much fishing, you know that the right bait and the right placement can determine success or failure.
The same goes for SEO.
Some of the baby algorithms Illyes refers to appear to be more sensitive to technical SEO aspects.
Some of these baby algorithms respond best to great content.
Some are more prone to rank sites with solid backlink profiles.
The trick to not just to understand what is working in the baby algorithm where you are “fishing”, but to be able to find the right baby algorithm body of water.
You won’t catch freshwater fish in the ocean.
And you won’t get customers for a mortgage company if you are trying to optimize for a travel-based baby algorithm.
There are plenty of people out there that can catch fish without a guide.
If you are dropping a line in a well-stocked pond, it’s hard not to catch a fish.
But in SEO, there aren’t very many well-stocked ponds and the competition among fishermen can be brutal.
That’s where the SEO comes in.
Think of an SEO as the fishing guide who can understand what types of fish lurk in each body of water.
SEO professionals also understand the bait to use to catch particular fish.
A good SEO will move you from a baby algorithm pond to the baby algorithm ocean if you need to catch sharks.
SEO professionals may not know each individual baby algorithm, but experience has taught them how to find the right place and use the right bait for each type of fish – even if it may take some trial and error to land the right combination of bait and location.
Just throwing a line into a pond won’t work for most companies.
Sure, you might get lucky and catch a few small fish.
I’ve fished a lot in my life, and I can tell you when I can afford a good fishing guide, I hire one.
I will always catch more fish with a guide than on my own.
In SEO, if you don’t know the right bait or the right body of water to cast your line in, you need a guide.
Good SEO professionals are those guides – we find the right baby algorithm and right bait for our company or our clients to catch the fish they need to feed their loved ones.
Featured Image: Unsplash / Modified by author, October 2023
It’s easy to get caught up in SEO tactics while forgetting that anything we do – technical SEO, link building, content marketing – has an impact in five ways.
If it drives organic traffic, it follows one of these mechanisms.
When we start with impact in mind, it’s easier to prioritize objectives and tactics.
Everything falls into place.
The goal of understanding these five ways we can drive organic traffic is to flip our thinking from, “What SEO tactics should I apply?” to, “How can I increase traffic through one of these 5 ways?”1. Rank Higher for Already-Ranking Keywords
One of the easiest and most common ways to drive more SEO traffic is simple: rank better for the keywords upon which you already rank.
We commonly focus on low-hanging fruit and keywords that rank on page two, but all too often forget about pushing keywords from position #4-10 into the top 3.
SERPs follow a power law, meaning the top position is exponentially more valuable than the second one.
The returns from moving a keyword from #2 to #1 are higher than moving it from #3 to #2, which is higher than moving a keyword from #4 to #3.
The higher you rank, the more traffic you get.
This is no news but is often forgotten when it comes to investing resources in SEO.
More traffic comes with larger expectations.
The higher you want to rank, the more checkmarks you need to tick, your content must be of higher value to users, your brand must be more authoritative, and your experience better.
Requirements vary by query.
To understand how to rank higher for a keyword or a set, we need to compare our content and domain on multiple dimensions against the top-ranking result(s).2. Rank for More Long-Tail Keywords
Content that already ranks well for its primary keyword can also rank for more and longer-tail keywords to drive more traffic.
Additional keywords content ranks for can be related to the main query, variations, or simply longer and more specific.
Commonly, an increase in ranking keywords can have various reasons:
The content got more backlinks.
The content was expanded.
The content was updated/refreshed.
In each of the three cases, the change indicates to Google that the content is relevant or authoritative for more queries.3. Rank for Net-New Keywords
Most of the time, we focus on driving organic traffic while forgetting the other four.
While ranking for net-new keywords is arguably the most effective driver of organic traffic, it also takes the most effort.
You can find net-new keywords in several ways:
Identify keyword gaps with competitors.
Look for keywords related to the ones you already rank for.
Think of topics/keywords you don’t cover yet.
Get suggestions from tools.
Note that it typically takes Google a bit of time to really understand it when launching net-new content.
New content has a “ramp-up time” for unfolding its full potential, during which Google assesses and ranks it higher or for more keywords.
That ramp-up time depends on several factors like the link profile or content quality.4. Increase Your CTR
As such, improving your CTR is a low-effort, high-returns option to drive more organic traffic.
We have three basic options to draw more attention:
Google shows a vast range of rich snippets in its search gallery: site links, FAQ, star rating snippets, and more.
Not every rich snippet has a significant effect and sometimes, it can even be negative.
That’s why testing is the name of the game here!
Not every site can use the full range of rich snippets. Review rich snippets, for example, are mostly reserved for recipe, review, and ecommerce sites.
However, every site can go after certain rich snippets, and every site can optimize titles and descriptions.
Titles, especially, impact multiple dimensions; they draw a lot of attention in the SERPs and have a high impact on relevance and rankings.5. Rank in SERP Features
The Google Search landscape has changed toward an augmented experience aiming to answer questions directly or direct users to the right place beyond 10 blue links.
Websites still get a lot of traffic from Google, but they compete at the same time.
We can control the appearance in such augmentations or SERP Features to a degree. The most obvious opportunity is Featured Snippets, which have become the new #1 spot.
However, there is more.
Other unpaid opportunities you can influence include:
Top Stories and in-depth articles.
Google’s growing usage of SERP Features drives users to scan search results in a “pinball” pattern rather than the classic F-pattern.
That impact is amplified on mobile devices.
As SEO professionals, we need to stop looking for the impact of tactics and start looking for the impact of opportunities.
The five fundamental ways to drive organic traffic are great starting points for opportunity sizing, making it easier to get resources because investments are made in potential returns, not tactics.
Each of the five ways has a different ratio of effort vs. returns.
If you’re looking for quick wins you can drive without relying on someone else, CTR improvements are your best bet.
If you’re looking for the biggest possible impact, go for net-new content.
Mind you, not always is change driven by what we do.
As the web grows and evolves, Google constantly indexes new content and weighs it against what’s already ranking.
Google improves its understanding with new breakthroughs in Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Natural Language Understanding (NLU).
Google’s definition of quality isn’t static.
Some algorithm changes can drive more organic traffic to content that hasn’t change simply because Google’s understanding has improved.
Image and all screenshots by author, March 2023
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