As you can appreciate, SEO has gone through several transformations in the past few years, none more so than this year 2015. However, I believe the biggest change to affect us next year will be the impact of Rankbrain on our search results going forward.
This doesn’t just affect company websites it effects ALL websites, blogs etc.
The basics that we looked at before, such as meta data (title, description and keywords) are becoming less and less important as time goes by. In fact, there are several searches carried out today where your keyword isn’t even on the page of the first few results. This is HUGE!
Many of the main fundamental strategies for SEO have stayed the same. Producing and crafting great content for your readers is still the number 1 goal and I can’t see that changing anytime soon.
Table Of Contents
Ensure you 10x your content (which basically means, make sure your content is 10x better than the competition).
Now, I’m not saying that you need to entirely focus on what your competition is producing. I’m merely suggesting that you see what they do well and more importantly what they are missing.
Have they provided an accompanying video to explain in more detail what they mean (don’t forget, not everyone wants to read text), have they supplied any illustrative pictures to show their reader a different angle on the topic. To be fair, the list goes on and on.
Make sure you have the correct site structure that Google prefers. I say Google, but most search engines state a similar criteria. The picture above is an old (I believe dating back to 2010). However, the same principles follow today.
Very few of your backlinks should point back the main index.html (home page). You should always try to point an inner page or blog post when linking back to your site. Any link juice you receive should eventually flow to your home page anyway.
An alt tag is basically descriptive text within your image. It tells both your reader and search engine spiders (bots) what the image is all about. The bots can’t visually see your image so traditionally you needed to inform them via alt tags.
Again, this is purely anecdotal, but I believe alt tags within your pictures are not as important as they used to be. I’m in no way suggesting that you stop using them (I still do), I’m just saying that Google is now able to look at your page, look at the text/words that surround your picture and are able to make a best guess about what that picture is and what it’s about. This isn’t a new phenomena.
In truth, Google has been organising the images like this for years. Just suggesting that with Rankbrain they’re getting better at guessing the relevance of a picture used in an article.
Below is a picture of one of Engadgets’ pages. When you do a search in Google images for “”Rankbrain” this is one of the first pictures that is displayed. In essence, Google is saying that this is one of the most relevant pictures for a picture showing “Rankbrain”.
Funny enough, what further reinforces this search result are guys like me referring to the exact same picture that also has a link back to the very same picture 🙂
The code that you see below is the URL link for this image. As you can see, the term “rankbrain” doesn’t appear in the URL at all. Google basically draws from the surrounding text on the page and decides what is relevant to show in the serps.
That’s probably a bit over-dramatic. However, the days of focusing on keywords, i.e. making sure you have them dotted throughout your content, in your keyword meta data and in your anchor text are becoming less and less important.
I have been running a series of tests in incognito mode of Google and found some really interesting findings. Here’s my findings:
I basically typed into Google “how to train your dog” (so that is the keyword I’m searching for)
and as you can see from the results, that keyword does not show up anywhere in the serps.
It doesn’t show up in the:
of very few websites on the first page.
Below is the page that is the first result in the serps. As you can see, the keyword isn’t found on the page either…..
Now, in year’s gone past, this sort of result would have been unheard of. When you typed in a keyword it would have at least shown up somewhere on the page (if not in the meta data). However, Google now has a way of sifting through the trillions of web pages to find the most relevant search result for your query without even finding one that has your keywords represented anywhere.
I did this test another 20 or so times and came up with very similar results. Trust me, this is hardly scientific and I’m well aware that this isn’t always the case. However, one important thing to remember is. Inserting keywords into your meta data as well as on the page isn’t really as important as it used to be. Google’s got smarter! and it’s getting smarter by incorporating some of Rankbrain’s features.