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The global datasphere will grow from 33 zettabytes (each equal to a trillion gigabytes) in 2023 to 175 ZB by 2025.
In marketing, our role as the stewards of much of this data is growing, as well.
As of last year, more data is being stored in the enterprise core than in all the world’s existing endpoints, according to a report by IDC.
The great challenge for marketers and SEO professionals is activating and using that data.
In 2025, each connected person will have at least one data interaction every 18 seconds and nearly 30% of the world’s data will need real-time processing.
There’s no way human marketers can handle this processing on our own.
And more and more, as our machine-learning-enabled tools process and analyze search data, they’re learning and improving their understanding of it as they go.Machine Learning in Search
Perhaps the best-known use of machine learning in search is Google’s own RankBrain, an algorithm that helps the search engine better understand the relevance and context of – and the relationship between – words.
Machine learning enables Google to understand the idea behind the query.
Machine learning allows the algorithm to continuously expand that understanding as new words and queries are introduced.
And as algorithms get better at determining which content best meets the needs of each searcher, we are being challenged to create content that meets those needs – and to optimize it so that relevance is clear.
It’s no coincidence that as we’re experiencing this explosion in data, interest in SEO is growing, as well.SEO & Data Science
SEO has grown to be a viable, respectable mainstream marketing career.
As I write this, there are 823,000 people on LinkedIn with “SEO” in their profile and 8,600 who specifically categorize their core service offerings as SEO.
Looking worldwide, those figures balloon to 3.2 million and 25,000, respectively.
But this is just a small sampling of the SEO industry.
Our industry is massive in size and scope, as SEO now touches nearly every aspect of the business.
So much more is being asked of SEO professionals now, thanks to that massive increase in data we have to deal with.
Yet according to our research at BrightEdge, only 31.5% of organizations have a data scientist at their company.1. Enhanced Performance in Your Field of Specialization
Employers and clients alike are driven by results.
Do you know how to use the machine-learning-powered tools in your area of specialization?
Whether in paid search, technical SEO, content creation and optimization, link building or some other facet of SEO, those who can prove superior performance through the use of machine-learning-enabled SEO tools are increasing their own value.2. Start Ahead & Stay Ahead
Search is a live auction. If you’re waiting to see what customers think and only then getting ready to respond, you’re already behind.
Machine-learning-powered tools enable marketers to activate real-time insights, to personalize and optimize content in the moment for each users’ individual needs.3. Economies of Scale
You are exponentially more valuable as an SEO practitioner and leader if you can demonstrate the ability to scale your efforts.
The real power of machine learning is in its ability to convert more data than we know what to do with into actionable insights and automated actions that marketers can use to really move the needle.
To do that is hard.
For example, to build BrightEdge Autopilot we had to process over 345 petabytes of data over the course of many years to help fine-tune machine learning and automated products.
Machines aren’t angling for a promotion; they don’t harbor preconceptions or care about past mistakes.
They are entirely subjective, taking opinions and personalities and other potential bottlenecks out of the process of data evaluation.
What marketers are left with are pure, accurate data outputs that can then be activated at scale to improve search visibility and interactions with customers.4. Room to Grow
Mastering your SEO toolset gives you more room to grow in your profession, and as a person who just so happens to love the work you do.
Machine learning, in particular, empowers us to reap insights from larger datasets and gives us access to far more intelligence than when we could only learn from that we manually analyzed ourselves.
It is your specialized insight and industry knowledge that determines which outputs are useful and how they should be applied.
Machine learning can tell you very quickly how your audience’s behaviors have changed during a major market disruption, such as our recent experience with COVID-19.
But how you interpret and respond to those changes is still very much the domain of marketing and SEO professionals.
Machine learning can help you recognize patterns in visitor behavior that point to opportunities and areas in need of improvement.
What technology cannot do is replace the creative and analytical human thought process and experience that determines the best next steps to take in response to those insights.
The people of SEO cannot be replaced. In fact, they’re more important than ever.
The tools we use may be quite sophisticated; machine-learning-enabled tools can even make decisions and implement optimizations.
However, it is the people of SEO who drive the creative and analytical processes that machines simply cannot replace:
Data scientist (who control input into machines).
Culture builders and success evangelists.
Expert users who facilitate sales and help customers.
Strategic planning across digital channels.
And there are agile marketers who may do any combination of the above.
They are key in facilitating collaboration with other digital departments to ensure a truly holistic SEO strategy.
In their HBR article Collaborative Intelligence: Humans and AI Are Joining Forces, H. James Wilson and Paul R. Daugherty explain the three key roles humans undertake in every interaction with machine-learning-powered technology:
Train: We need to teach the machine to perform certain tasks.
Explain: We must make sense of the outcome of the task, especially if it is unexpected or counterintuitive.
Sustain: It is up to us to ensure that the technology is used logically and responsibly.
Applying this lens to our SEO tech, we see these three tenets hold true.
We need to decide which SEO tasks to intelligently automate and give our tools the proper input.
We need to take the output and make sense of it, focusing only on those insights with business-building potential.
We are responsible for ensuring that searcher privacy is protected, that the value of the technology outweighs the cost, and that it is otherwise being made good use of.
You can build your value as an SEO and learn to work more effectively with machine-learning-powered tech by building these skills:
Agility: More than a trait or quality, agility is a skill developed through constant experimentation.
Embracing machine learning and automation means building synergy with human creativity and skills.
It can make us more creative and effective by uncovering SEO insights and patterns we would never have recognized otherwise.
It can help us discover new topics, identify content gaps, optimize for specific types of queries and results, and more.
What’s more, it can save vital time on tasks that are too time-consuming, too repetitive and laborious, so we can scale performance.
And as that happens, we develop new skills and progress also as part of a symbiotic relationship between people and technology.
All screenshots taken by author, June 2023
You're reading Why Seo & Machine Learning Are Joining Forces
If you want organic search visibility, rankings, and traffic, you have to commit yourself to the grind of consistently creating optimized content.
Content and SEO.
At their best, they form a bond that can catapult any website to the top of search engine rankings.
But that’s only when they’re at their best. Because, when they’re at their worst, they can cause Google penalties that are near impossible to recover from.
The purpose of this chapter is simple; to provide you with an understanding of why content is important for SEO and show you what you can do to make sure they work together in harmony.
As we dive in, we’ll gain a better understanding of what content means, what its SEO value is, and how to go about creating optimized content that lands you on the search engine radar.
Let’s get started.What ‘Content’ Means
Providing an exact definition for content, and one that is agreed upon by all marketers would be near impossible.
But, while it is a challenge, TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden gathered some definitions of content from marketers around the world that give us a solid starting point.
Actionable marketer Heidi Cohen describes content as:
“High quality, useful information that conveys a story presented in a contextually relevant manner with the goal of soliciting an emotion or engagement. Delivered live or asynchronously, content can be expressed using a variety of formats including text, images, video, audio, and/or presentations.”
While Cohen’s description is right on point, it’s important to understand that content found online isn’t always high quality and useful.
There’s a lot of bad content out there that doesn’t come close to providing any type of relevancy or usefulness to the reader.
In a more simplified but similar definition, Social Triggers founder Derek Halpern says:
“Content comes in any form (audio, text, video), and it informs, entertains, enlightens, or teaches the people who consume it.”
Once again, Halpern is describing content that is, at the very least, relevant and useful to its intended audience.
If we avoid a description of “quality” content, we can take a more direct approach by looking at the dozens of different types of digital content.
At this point, you should have a pretty good idea of what content is while also understanding some of the different formats where it can be presented.
But what exactly is its value to SEO, and why is it so important that the two work together?What Is the SEO Value of Content?
Google, the king of search engines, processes over 6.7 billion searches per day.
And since we’re talking about search engine optimization, that means they’re pretty well suited to answer this question.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin co-founded Google in 1998 with a mission:
That mission remains the same today. The way in which they organize that information, however, has changed quite a bit over the years.
Google’s algorithms are constantly evolving in an effort to deliver, as they say, “…useful and relevant results in a fraction of a second.”
The “useful and relevant results” that Google is attempting to deliver are the pieces of content that are available throughout the web.
These pieces of content are ranked by their order of usefulness and relevancy to the user performing the search.
And that means, in order for your content to have any SEO value at all, it needs to be beneficial to searchers.
How do you make sure it’s beneficial? Google helps us with that answer too.
Their recommendation is that, as you begin creating content, make sure it’s:
When these elements are in place, you maximize the potential of the SEO value of your content. Without them, however, your content will have very little value.
But, creating great content isn’t the only piece of the puzzle. There’s a technical side that you need to be aware of as well.
While we’ll talk about that later in this chapter, Maddy Osman put together a comprehensive resource on How to Evaluate the SEO Value of a Piece of Content that further elaborates on the topic.
For now, we can conclude that the SEO value of content depends on how useful, informative, valuable, credible, and engaging it is.The Importance of Optimizing Content
The reason optimized content is important is simple… you won’t rank in search engines without it.
But, as we’ve already touched on briefly, it’s important to understand that there are multiple factors at play here.
On one side, you have content creation.
Optimizing content during creation is done by ensuring that your content is audience-centric and follows the recommendations laid out in the previous section.
But what does audience-centric mean, and how does it differ from other types of content?
Audience-centric simply means that you’re focusing on what audiences want to hear rather than what you want to talk about.
And, as we’ve identified, producing useful and relevant content is the name of the game if you’re looking to rank in search engines.
On the other side of the optimization equation is the technical stuff.
This involves factors like keywords, meta titles, meta descriptions, and URLs.
And that’s what we’re going to talk about next as we dive into how to actually create optimized content.How to Create Optimized Content
When attempting to create optimized content, there are a few steps that we need to follow.
They include:1. Perform Keyword Research & Determine Your Topic
While we’ve already identified that your main goal should be to create audience-centric content, keyword research is necessary to ensure that the resulting content can be found through search engines.
A few things to keep in mind when choosing your keywords and topic:
Focus on Long-Tail Keywords
Avoid Highly Competitive Keywords With Massive Search Numbers
Use a Proven Keyword Research Tool
Match Your Topic to Your Keyword2. Develop Your Outline & Format for Optimal Readability
As you’re creating your outline, be sure that you’re formatting your core content so that it’s broken down into small chunks.
Online readers have incredibly short attention spans. And they’re not going to stick around if your article is just one ginormous paragraph.
It’s best to stick with paragraphs that are 1-2 sentences in length, although it’s all right if they stretch to 3-4 shorter sentences.
You’ll also want to be sure that you’re inserting sub-headers and/or visuals every 150-300 words to break up the content even further.
As you can see from the graph below, website engagement impacts organic rankings.
And, if you want to increase engagement, readability is crucial.Example of Properly Formatted Content
Here’s an example of a page that is formatted for optimal readability:
As you can see, most of the paragraphs are only a sentence or two long.
The text is also broken up using subheadings every 100-200 words.Example of Poorly Formatted Content
On the other end of the spectrum, here’s an example of a post that’s likely to send readers away directly:
In this post, the content itself is fine. The problem is the extremely long sentences and paragraphs.
With better formatting, the author could easily increase visitors’ average time on site.3. Stick to Your Topic & Target Keyword
As you begin writing your content, keep in mind the importance of sticking to the topic, and target keyword that you’ve chosen.
Don’t try to write about everything and anything within a single piece of content. And don’t try to target dozens of keywords.
Doing so is not only a huge waste of time, but it also prevents you from creating the most “useful and relevant” content on your topic.
Focus on what you’ve chosen as your topic and stay hyper-relevant to that topic and the keyword that supports it.
Brian Harnish’s Local SEO Guide for Beginners is a great example of an author staying hyper-relevant to a specific topic and keyword.
Just by looking at his title, the topic and target keyword are immediately clear.
And, due to this focus, Harnish’s guide ranks on the first page of Google for the phrase ‘local SEO guide.’4. Include Backlinks Throughout Your Content
If you read the local SEO guide, you’ll notice that Harnish includes several links to external sites.
Since Google has made it clear that credibility is an important SEO factor, linking to relevant, trustworthy, and authoritative sites can help ensure that search engines see your content as credible.
Be sure, however, that the words you’re using for the link are actually relevant to the site the user will be sent to.
For example, take a look at this sentence:
“You need to understand how to create a compelling headline for your content.”
If you were to link to a resource showing the reader how to create compelling headlines, you’d want to link the bolded portion shown below:
“You need to understand how to create a compelling headline for your content.”
In most cases, it’s recommended that you keep your links to six words or fewer.How to Optimize Your Content Once It’s Created
Now onto the “technical” part of content optimization.
The most important steps include optimizing the following:
Let’s take a look at how to complete each step.1. How to Optimize Your Title Tag
For reference, it’s the highlighted portion in the image below:
Title tags are important for a few reasons. First and foremost, they help search engines understand what your page is about.
In addition, they can be a determining factor for which search result a user chooses.
To optimize your title tag, you’ll want to be sure of the following:
Keep it under 60 characters.
Don’t stuff multiple keywords into the title.
Be specific about what the content is about.
Place target keywords at the beginning.
The example above is a good one.
Here’s an example of a tag that fails to follow these guidelines:
The difference between the two is clear, and it shows the importance of optimizing your title tags.2. How to Optimize Your Meta Description
Your meta description is the small snippet of text that appears under the title tag and URL.
When performing a search, it’s the section that’s circled below:
As far as meta description best practices, you should:
Keep it under 160 characters.
Provide a short, specific overview of what the content is about.
Include relevant keywords (they will be highlighted when a user sees search results).
The example above shows a well put together description. Here’s an example of one that could use some work:3. How to Optimize Your URL
Readability is most important here, as it ensures that search users aren’t scared off by long and mysterious URLs.
The image below provides a great example of how URL readability can affect the way a user sees results.So, Why is Content Important for SEO?
Because when content is optimized, it drastically improves your visibility.
Nobody sees it.
Nobody shares it.
Nobody does anything with it.
But it’s actually easy to get visible when you know what to do.
Sometimes, it can be the difference of something as small as writing optimized, unique meta descriptions for all your pages to send a huge visibility boost to Google.
If you want visibility and exposure, you have to commit yourself to the grind of consistently creating optimized content.
Featured Image Credit: Paulo Bobita
One of the reasons SEO is such an exciting space is that we’re constantly being challenged to innovate.
But that doesn’t mean you need to reinvent the wheel. That just isn’t scalable – especially not at the enterprise level.
You need to keep proven tactics in your back pocket that you can adapt and modify to inform your own SEO strategy.
And so I was wondering… what useful insights can we learn in studying the keywords that enterprise-level companies are optimizing for?
This is not an exhaustive study; rather, it’s a high-level view of known ranking factors such as links, content, and user experience.
There’s much to be learned from the brands that are winning in search!
In this column, you’ll learn a process for analyzing SERPs and find tips to improve your own SEO based on what we can see others doing well in Google results.How I Chose The Keywords For This Assessment
Before we jump into the analysis, I want to share how the keywords were chosen.
First, I searched for a list of the top enterprise companies in the U.S.
An enterprise company is a large corporation with a very large marketing budget that manages thousands of employees – think Fortune 500 companies.
I picked out 21 sites I thought would return general keywords and avoided brand-specific keywords like “iPhone.”
Then, I used Ahrefs to see what organic keywords the sites were ranking for with a keyword difficulty score of 90 and above.
At this point, I had a list of 44 possible keywords to study.
Next, I did a quick Google search to see if there was a variety of websites on the result’s page or if one type of website dominated.
This knocked out some contenders such as “weather,” for example, because it’s a given that the weather channel, national weather service, and new stations will rank.
Finally, I settled on three enterprise-level keywords that cover a broad range of business types:
Service industry (life insurance).
Fintech (NFT).[Coffee] SERP Insights
The search engine result page (SERP) for the keyword “coffee” interested me because it’s so clean!
The SERP covers just about every possible search intent for the query, “coffee.”
And a few oddities caught my eye that may provide us further insight into how Google’s algorithm works.
This section will cover what makes “coffee” an enterprise SEO keyword with quick stats, jump into a review of what the SERP tells us, and lastly analyze the link profile and content to see what we can learn.
Coffee Keyword Stats
Avg. Monthly Volume: 6.6 million in the United States.
Difficulty Rating: 96.
Average CPC: $1.80.SERP Review
You can read a knowledge panel with information from Wikipedia and nutrition facts sourced from the USDA on the right-hand side.
Followed by suggested searches for Starbucks coffee drinks, songs about coffee, and other items people often search for: tea, espresso, drink, etc.
We have Wikipedia, Peet’s Coffee, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Starbucks, National Coffee Organization, and a chúng tôi article in the traditional organic results.
Hmmm, I wonder why Peet’s coffee ($7.9 billion in total sales) is beating Starbucks ($24.6 billion in net revenue).
And how did the chúng tôi article squeak in there?
Let’s find out!Links Review
Peet’s Coffee has 6,900 referring domains linking to the ranking page, while Starbucks has 4,900 referring domains linking to the home page.
Peet’s Coffee has approximately 1,500 internal backlinks pointing to the ranking page.
440 of the 1,500 internal backlinks have the anchor or surrounding text, including “coffee.”
Starbucks has 13,400 internal backlinks to the ranking page; 9,600+ backlinks include “coffee” in the anchor or surrounding text.Content Review
Peet’s home page has “coffee” in the page title and as the first menu navigation item.
Subheaders cover the topic of coffee, from roasting to the history of coffee.
The word “coffee” is counted a total of 42 times on the home page, out of a total of 1283 words.
Starbucks, on the other hand, appears to use its website as an extension of its retail locations.
The home page really feels like an app to order coffee or a corporate communication board – like the digital version of a break room corkboard.
Coffee is in the page title as part of the brand’s name, but it is not the primary word on the home page.
Out of a total of 515 words, coffee is counted only 12 times.Technical SEO/UX Review
I did not run a full technical audit for this analysis, so additional factors could be at play here.
I used a schema validator and Page Speed Insights tool to quickly assess what schema is on page and the specific web page’s core web vitals.
Peet’s Coffee uses organization, webSite, Product, and Store schema, and it failed the core web vitals assessment.
Primarily in first contentful paint (FCP) and largest contentful paint (LCP).
The first input delay (FID) and cumulative layout shift (CLS) look good.
It was interesting to see position history between May 2023 and April 2023. Starbucks seems to have fallen out of the top 100 for an entire year.
Did Starbucks get hit with a penalty?Breaking Into A Highly Competitive SERP
We have to talk about what Healthline did because it’s such a great example.
Healthline published an article, “9 Unique Benefits of Coffee,” on January 11, 2023, and began ranking in position 3 for the query “coffee” by March 04, 2023.
Wondering how Healthline found the wedge in?
They noticed the missing piece from the SERP.
The SERP covered shopping, local shops, definition, nutrition facts, songs, recipes, and videos but not why people would be interested in drinking coffee – the benefits.
The people also ask (PAA) questions provided a solid hint with questions like: “What are the benefits of coffee?” and “Is coffee good for your health?”
Outranking arguably more trusted websites like chúng tôi chúng tôi and harvard.edu.
YMYL sites should pay special attention to Healthline page structure and author profiles.
In the screenshot below, take note of how each sentence uses a “fact-checked” source, followed by a summary explaining it to readers in simple terms.
This is really well-written content.
One more thing – did you notice anything odd about when the Healthline article ranked?
Nearly two months passed between when the Healthline article was published and when the article ranked.
Healthline went hard adding internal links to the “benefits of coffee” page in March 2023 (First seen March 2, 2023) – and pop – the article ranks!
“9 Unique Benefits of Coffee” currently has 266 internal backlinks; 247 include the term “coffee” in the anchor or surrounding text.Coffee: What We Can Learn
By analyzing the entire SERP, we can see that Google is looking to cover every possible search intent for the very basic query of “coffee.”
While Peet’s Coffee, chúng tôi and Starbucks seem to dance for the top company ranking for the query – chúng tôi found an opportunity by focusing on what the SERP did not contain.
However, it seems like the Healthline article did not really gain footing until the site added internal backlinks to the article using the desired search query of “coffee.”[Life Insurance] SERP Insights
Life insurance is an interesting SERP to study because it showcases the battle of big national brands with a seemingly unlimited marketing budget (if you look at CPC numbers) for what is a relatively lower search volume.
Analyzing “life insurance” is sure to turn out some gems.
Life Insurance Keyword Stats
Average monthly search volume: 202k in the United States.
Difficulty rating: 90.
Average CPC: $30.SERP Review
When you google “life insurance” the recommended search terms are:
Companies: Google understands who we are trying to reach.
Quotes and policy: Google understands what we want from the company.
For seniors: Google understands the primary target audience for life insurance.
People Also Ask common questions are:
What are the three main types of life insurance?
What is life insurance and how does it work?
What is the average life insurance cost per month?
What is life insurance used for?
Knowing the recommended search terms and reading the PAA questions, we can conclude that people who search for [life insurance] want to know what life insurance is for and how much it costs.
Let’s see what we can learn from Geico’s featured snippet compared to competitors.Links Review
Geico has 367 referring domains to the ranking page.
And has 155 of the 1,200 internal backlinks pointing to the ranking page, including “life insurance” in the anchor or surrounding text.
Investopedia is a contender for the top-ranking site and has significantly more referring domains than Geico or Liberty Mutual.
Significantly more, 1,100 referring domains versus Geico’s 367 and Liberty Mutual’s 300.
Of Investopedia’s 726 internal backlinks, 711 are going to the ranking page, including the term “life insurance” in the anchor or surrounding text.Content Review
The first paragraph of the Geico web page addresses the primary question, “What is life insurance?” as an H2.
The term life insurance is used 49 times on the page with a total word count of 1922, which pales in comparison to Investopedia’s 5504 words!
Investopedia’s Page title is SEO perfection.
Note how it includes the keyword and its three support terms, life insurance, policies, and companies.
The page content starts with no introduction, just jumping right into an H1 “What is Life Insurance?
We find a definition for life insurance (just like Geico), “Life insurance is a contract between an insurer and a policy owner….”
To highlight the pattern for this SERP a little bit more, I’m also showing you the fourth-ranking web page Liberty Mutual.
Just like Geico, Liberty Mutual stacks an H1 “Life Insurance” on top of an H2 “Ensure financial security for your family.”
Followed by a CTA box for starting a quote.
Scroll a bit further down the page and you will see an H2 for “What is a life insurance policy?”
Note that the header includes the additional word “policy.”
This approach didn’t pay off as Geico took the featured snippet for the search query, [What is a life insurance policy?] as well.
The trouble for Liberty Mutual is that the text following the H2 is not a definition.
It is sales language, explaining what the user gets when purchasing a life insurance policy.Technical SEO/UX Review
Geico uses FAQ schema page markup for the accordion questions and answers at the bottom of the page.
This does not give the webpage a boost as it is not ranking on the first page for those queries.
Running the page path through Google’s page speed insights tool and Geico fails the core web vitals assessment.
Doing significantly poorly in the areas of first contentful paint (FCP) and largest contentful paint (LCP).
Investopedia (position 2) uses article schema and passed core web vitals with all four areas in the green.
Liberty Mutual Insurance (position 4) uses breadcrumb and financial product schema. It passed the mobile core web vitals assessment by Google, with all four areas in the green.Life Insurance: What We Can Learn
By analyzing the featured snippet, we can see that the result Google is looking for is a definition.
The top-ranking pages all have the first H2 as “What is life insurance…” and the following subsequent text “Life insurance is (insert definition here.).”
Now, why is Geico outranking Investopedia when Investopedia is faster, and the quality of content is significantly better?
Well, step back and consider the singular web page in the context of Google’s full understanding of the website.
The Geico website is a company that sells insurance.
The Investopedia website educates consumers on all things related to finance.
Remember the common theme among related search queries and the PAA?
It gives us an additional hint about who people want to hear from when they search “life insurance.”
Google has determined that people want to know what life insurance is AND how much it costs.
Google has also determined that the closest recommended search query is “life insurance companies,” meaning that people are searching for:
What life insurance is?
How much does it cost?
And for a company to purchase life insurance from.
It makes sense that Google would place a website that sells insurance above a website that provides information.
It would be interesting to see what happens if Investopedia places a form for life insurance quotes on its web page.
Or, if Liberty Mutual updated their definition for what life insurance is.[NFT] SERP Insights
Crypto and NFT were two terms that had made it into the initial top 40 enterprise SEO keywords.
Given the virility of the queries, I had to include at least one in this review.
NFT had greater search volume, a higher difficulty rating, and a more interesting SERP.
NFT Keyword Stats
Average monthly search volume: 1.6M in the United States
Difficulty rating: 96
Average CPC: $1.10SERP Review
Google the acronym for a non-fungible token (NFT) and you’ll likely see something different depending on the day.
It’s a really volatile search with frequent position changes.
At the time of this analysis, there was a sentence-structure featured snippet by Reuters defining what NFTs are at the top of the SERP.
Note: The featured snippet changed hands three times as I wrote this article, and last I checked, it looks like the Wall Street Journal has since snagged the featured snippet.
Followed by a knowledge panel with information pulled from Wikipedia and “People also ask” questions:
What is NFT and how does it work?
What is NFT crypto?
What does NFT stand for in NFT?
What does it mean to own NFT?
We can see that Google also (currently) thinks that users searching for [nft] are looking for a definition.
After the PAA, there are informational articles from news sites The Verge and Forbes.
The first company you will find is a marketplace, OpenSea.io.
The article by Forbes is of specific interest here because Forbes began ranking for the term “NFT” on April 9, 2023, after an update to the page made on April 8, 2023.
The kicker is the original article published on April 29, 2023.
Almost an entire year earlier.
So, what switch did Forbes flip?Links Review
Forbes has 2.31k referring domains and 16 internal backlinks pointing to the article, 14 including the term “nft” in the anchor or surrounding text.
All backlinks (from referring domains or internal pages) were added on or after April 8, 2023.Content Review
I used the web page’s core web vitals to play “find the difference” and see if I could spot any of the edits to the content made on April 8th.
I didn’t see anything.
The page title, headers, and general page structure appear exactly the same.
And, it does not appear as though any edits were made to the Forbes article before April 2023.Tech SEO/UX Review
Forbes includes NewsArticle schema and failed core web vitals assessment by Google’s page speed insights tool.
It’s honestly really close to passing though, having passed FCP, LCP, and FID. Only failing cumulative layout shift (CLS).What We Can Learn
In the case of Forbes’ article on NFTs, it appears that the article sat stale for nearly a year before getting the link love it needed to rank.
Don’t forget to link to your content! Google has confirmed that internal links are a ranking factor.Final Thoughts
Google’s algorithm is constantly changing (thousands of times a year), so there’s no magic SEO formula or tool that can rank – and maintain the rank – of high-performance keywords.
By studying enterprise SEO wins, we can gather insights into how to best optimize our web pages:
Analyze what Google has determined to be the user intent.
Look for content opportunities left on the table.
Use internal backlinks to tip the proverbial search result scales in your favor.
Featured Image: G Stock Studio/Shutterstock
Search engine optimization (SEO) has different dimensions like on-page, off-page and black hat methods. The most important part of SEO starts when you start writing the content. The first thing you need for writing an article is to have a title or topic. We have done various experiments on our articles and find that having an attractive title will increase the traffic up to 50% with the same content on the page. Therefore, it is very important for any website owner to understand the page title and optimize page titles for SEO.What is Title Tag?
Page Title in Page Source
You should optimize page titles for SEO since both search engines as well as users will understand your content based on the title of a webpage. Since every page of your site may have different content, you need to use unique and relevant title for each page in your website.Adding Title Tag to Your Webpage
Title in WordPress EditorSearch Engines Show Titles in Search Results
Now that you know what is page title and how to insert on your HTML page. Next comes the importance of it. As mentioned, search engines like Google show the page title in the search results. A search result in Google has the following format:
Google Search Results Format
As you can see there are totally four parts in the basic search results:
Google also will highlight the searched keywords in each result. Sometimes, you will see a missing word with strike out to indicate the result is missing one of the keywords.
Users Can Also See Page Titles
Besides search engines, users can also see the title on the browser’s title bar. Most of the time users open more than one search results, started checking one page and tend to forget the other opened pages. In such scenarios, the page title shown on the browser’s tab gives quick information to users about the page.
Title Tag Shown in Browser – FirefoxHow to Optimize Page Titles for SEO?
The important question is how to optimize page titles to get more traffic. There are many tips to make your title attractive.1. Use Site Title as Your Brand
It is very important to make sure you have a Page Title as well as Site Title and they are relevant to the content and brand respectively. Since the Site Title is appended on all individual Page Titles it is highly recommend using a brand name or company name as a Site Title. This helps users to remember your brand and also search engines nowadays started showing the company name next to page URL for all subdomains.2. Use Attractive Separator
Well, this may looks silly but works when applied properly. By default, you can see a hyphen mark as a separator between page and site title. You can use custom HTML characters like » to show the title in appealing manner.3. Limit the Length
Ensure to have a page title of 60 – 70 characters length so that it can fit on the search results without truncation. Also test your page URL with any of the search snippet preview tool to ensure the display is fine.
Remember, the length of the page title includes the length of page title, any separator and site title. Therefore, limit your page title length according to your site title length.4. Use Attractive Titles
How to buy a blogging theme for WordPress?
Top 5 blogging theme for WordPress
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Guide to buying WordPress blog theme
5 free WP blogging themes for beginners5. Use Focus Keywords in Title
Before writing an article, you should first decide the focus keyword and write the entire content revolving around that. This will help you to get targeted traffic for that keywords and improve the page’s value. Ensure to use the focus keywords in the title, meta description and on the first paragraph of the content. This will increase the possibilities of Google picking up your page for the top search results.6. Unique Title for Each Page
Many website owners use a template to insert page title by simply changing few words. Avoid duplication and ensure to have unique page title for each page in your site.How to Check Issues in Title Tags?
Well, it is easy to maintain or check the title of each page for a smaller site. But the task will be cumbersome when your site is grown in size having hundreds of pages. In general, many of the PHP based sites use script to generate title that is similar on all pages. This will kill your ranking in Google as it may look spam and less useful for users. Earlier, you had an option in Google Search Console offering free tools to check the titles on bulk like below.
Title Tag Improvements in Google Webmaster Tools
You can see all types of errors in your titles and the number of occurrences with detail. The issues are classifieds under Missing titles, Duplicate titles, Long Titles, Short Titles and Non-Informative Titles. You can check each of the errors and rectify them to improve your site’s search ranking. Unfortunately, the new Search Console does not have any sort of option to check duplicate titles. You may need to use third-party tools to check titles in bulk and find the duplication to remove.Dos and Don’ts with Page Title
Here is a summary of what you should and shouldn’t when optimizing page titles for SEO.
Make your title effectively connects the user to your page contentGeneric titles like “Untitled” or “New Page”
Use unique and separate title for each and every page of your siteSingle title tag for all or most of the pages
Use your site title different than your page titleStuffing unnecessary keywords
Use short and meaningful titlesVery long titles which can’t be shown in the search result area
blog / Digital Marketing What is Semantic Search? How Does it Improve Search Accuracy?
The introduction of semantic search has enhanced search accuracy like never before. A few years ago, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategists relied solely on keyword research to improve website rankings. Today, while keyword research still fulfills its own set of functions, understanding user intent through semantic search has become a key aspect that every content marketer swears by.
Do you want to learn more about this kind of search, how it works, and why it plays such an integral role in SEO today? Then dive in!What is Semantic Search?
In simple terms, it is a data-searching technique that seeks to improve search accuracy and derive relevant results by focusing on two aspects—user intent and contextual meaning. It goes beyond just analyzing keywords and attempts to maximize the user’s chance of finding more personalized and accurate results. It uses Machine Learning (ML) techniques and deep learning models to find and deliver contextual data.How Does Semantic Search Work
A semantic search works by drawing links between words and phrases that users enter on a search engine platform and interpreting this content in a more “human” way. For example, if you ask your friend “What is your favorite book” and follow it up with “Who is it written by?”, your friend would understand that “it” here refers to their favorite book. Similarly, semantic search attempts to understand user queries as a human would. It interprets a search query based on a variety of factors like user search history, location, number of keyword matches, spelling variations, etc.Where is Semantic Search Used?
This search is most popularly used by search engines like Google to strengthen search query processing. It is used to understand content for data mining and contextual classification for Expertise-Authoritativeness-Trustworthiness (E-A-T) evaluation. Organizations also use it to improve knowledge management services and enhance market visibility. A few other modern applications include:
Maintaining business directories
News monitoring and research
Editing suite platformsHow to Implement Semantic Search
Implementing semantic search effectively requires marketers to match their content with the search term using the right digital strategy. We have compiled six practical ways to help marketers implement semantic search across their digital content strategy:
Enhance topical length and depth of content
Optimize for keyword clusters
Include related terms and synonyms
Use structured data
Explore content optimizer tools
Build topic clusters on the website
ALSO READ: How to Become an SEO Expert: A Comprehensive GuideSemantic Search Features
Semantic search can be conducted efficiently when user intent, context, and conceptual meaning match the main user query and reflect relevant results. Even if there are no exact word matches, semantic search uses vector search and ML applications to deliver information that targets the user’s query.
Let’s take a closer look at the two most important elements of semantic search—context and user intent.Context
It is important to correctly identify the context in which the user query is being made to understand what the user is trying to find. Search engines generally use context on both personal and group levels. The personal level involves the personalization of results based on the user’s previous searches or interactions. At a group level, this technique enables search engines to display results based on how other searchers react to similar queries.User Intent
Learning about the user’s intent is the basis of semantic search and helps search engines figure out the exact information the user is looking for. Deep learning enhances this process by automatically generating additional features that accurately capture the intent of the query and the characteristics of the webpage.How Does Semantic Search Impact SEO
In recent times, there have been significant changes in SEO techniques in the context of Google algorithms like Penguin and Panda. Amidst these changes, one thing that has remained pretty much
unchanged is the use of keyword targeting for SEO. But this would often result in keyword stuffing, which means over-utilizing keywords on a webpage.
Today, it has given rise to changes in Google’s algorithm, which now functions by understanding the intent and context of user queries and not just matching keywords. It has rebuilt its focus around creating quality content and, by default, made keyword stuffing obsolete. These are a few ways in which semantic search benefits SEO:
Helps in ranking long-tail keywords
Drives more sales
ALSO READ: A Comprehensive Guide to Content Marketing in 2023 and BeyondSemantic Search vs. Keyword Search
We have already seen how this search functions and optimizes search accuracy. But it is important to know how it is different from keyword search. The primary difference here lies in how the matching of the user query and records occurs. Keyword search functions by matching the word-to-word text of the query with records using synonyms, ignoring plurals, eliminating stop words, etc. They may also use Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Natural Language Understanding (NLU) tools to improve retrieval.
However, it matches queries with records based on similar concepts. It increases intelligence by matching queries with concepts rather than keywords. This is done using vector search. Using this intelligence optimizes results more humanly and enables users to find information that is more personalized and relevant to their search.
The principle of this search highlights looking beyond the keywords of a query and finding answers based on matching concepts, logic, and intent. If you want to learn more about semantic search and its functions, check out sales and marketing online courses at Emeritus and grow your prospects in the digital marketing industry.
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This post was sponsored by Market Brew. The opinions expressed in this article are the sponsor’s own.
Wish you could rank higher than your competitors in search results?
It’s time to move past the tools that your competitors are using. Stop using historical data and start looking at SEO tools that accurately predict Google algorithm update impacts.
You can do this with a comprehensive SEO intelligence tool, like Market Brew.
SEO intelligence uses AI to determine the future of your search by helping you:
Today, we’ll dive into how to solve hiccups at each step, but first, let’s learn more about what SEO intelligence is.What Is SEO Intelligence?
SEO intelligence uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help guide search engine optimization for better rankings and organic traffic by assisting with:
Optimization, and more.
The most successful SEO professionals prioritize testing new tools to find exciting new intelligence features that boost your search engine optimization.
Market Brew sets a new standard for forecasting SEO like no other software tool has before.1. Predict Exactly How Algorithm Changes Will Affect Your Search Visibility
With Market Brew’s sophisticated AI process, you can confidently make predictions on the future of your search for your site.
Yes, with AI, you can immediately predict SEO rankings, months before those changes show up in their rank trackers.
Instead of spending hours upon hours researching what could happen in the future, and putting your own personal credibility on the line, Market Brew can show you exactly what to expect from a volatile Google algorithm update.
How? By creating an SEO testing platform, or predictive model, based on real algorithmic data.
When your SEO team completes a task in Market Brew, the changes are tied directly back to the predictive model that the task was based on.
Users can immediately see the effect of even the smallest optimization, leading to a deeper understanding of how each SERP is calculated.
Predict your ranking shifts, now →2. Learn & Observe Decisions Search Engines Make
Wondering why a competitor’s page is ranking higher than yours?
Need to explain to clients why Google is shaking things up again?
Using AI, you will be able to quickly and accurately get the SEO analysis you are looking for.
With its ability to utilize a genetic algorithm and self-calibrate each search engine model, Market Brew will help you understand how each SERP change happened through comparison – it will view the different learned algorithmic bias/weight changes from before and after Google’s algorithm update.
Market Brew uses Particle Swarm Optimization to adjust the algorithmic settings on its standard model so that Market Brew’s results look exactly like the target SERP results.
Each time this calibration process runs, the bias/weight settings are updated and stored.
When Google rolls out its next algorithmic update, Market Brew automatically re-calibrates its search engine models.
With the new calibrated settings, users can easily see which algorithms are now more or less important.3. Conduct Truly Accurate Competitive Research With AI
With Market Brew, you can start by looking at your competitors’ sites in a detailed side-by-side comparison.
You can quickly create an SEO pros and cons list, with websites in the same field.
Here, you’ll be able to pay attention to key comparison details, such as:
Elements of your competitor’s content.
Your competitors’ internal page links and backlinks, sorted by either link flow distribution, anchor text distribution, or both.
Keywords with high search volume or transaction value.
Your competitor’s top-performing pages.
Looking at your competition will guide you on how to improve your site. Competitor comparisons save time, money, and resources when taking over market share in search.4. Measure Total Link Value
The links on your pages are an essential part of gaining traffic to your site, specifically the number of links and the links’ authority.
The types of links on your page can significantly affect the value and ranking authority from one page to another. Measuring links is the most straightforward method of determining a site’s backlink value.
Market Brew scores each link on your site with the most sophisticated link algorithms to create the most accurate overall depiction of how powerful each link is.
When viewing your total link value, here are things to consider:
Is the link relevant?
Is the linking site authoritative?
Is the link followed?
Where is the link on the page?
How many links are on the page?
Is the link reciprocal?
Does this link share anchor text with another link?
You should always be intentional with your linking. Remember:
Cluttered and excessive links are unlikely to create a seamless user experience, and oversaturation devalues links.
When placing your links, consider the visitor’s intent and how to help them achieve their goals.
Links from trusted sites that have built up their authority pass more link equity than links from brand-new sites just starting.
Links at the bottom of a page do not hold as much weight or authority in Google’s eyes.
Links that are reciprocal do not pass as much link flow as links that are not.
Links that appear on every page, and share anchor text and target, do not pass as much link flow as those that appear uniquely.
If you link to a restaurant business’s grand opening from an article about where to trade in your car, the link is irrelevant — Google will note this, and your SEO link software should, too. Irrelevant links do not provide authority or value.5. Measure & Evaluate Keyword Link Value
Market Brew uses targeted keywords as anchor texts for internal linking and link building from other websites to help certain pages rank on search engines.
This calculation, combined with Market Brew’s sophisticated link scoring, determines an anchor text distribution that other tools can’t see and assigns each anchor text a specific importance, based on the quantity and quality of backlinks sharing this anchor text.
SEO tools can help you find your highest-ranking keywords. Vary your anchor text distribution using your primary and secondary anchor texts.
Link variance performs better on search results both for primary and secondary keywords. The goal is to rank for specific keywords while focusing your anchor text distribution on the right landing pages.6. Determine Real E-A-T Scores
E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trust. According to Google, E-A-T is one of the most important factors when considering a website’s overall Page Quality Rating.
Google states you need these things to be trustworthy and have authority:
A satisfying amount of high-quality content, including a descriptive or helpful title.
Satisfying website information and/or information about who handles the website. For example, an ecommerce site should have satisfying customer service information.
Maintaining a positive website reputation across the internet.
Until Market Brew’s insights, SEO professionals had no way to measure E-A-T scores with credibility and confidence.
In 2023, Market Brew deployed its first expertise algorithm (the E in E-A-T) which measures the coverage of content for each page’s topic cluster.
In certain search results, this expertise algorithm is now showing a correlation with ranking positions.
Market Brew is the world’s first statistical modeling tool for search engines.
Market Brew is a search engine built by search engineers that can calibrate itself to behave like any search engine in the world. Its Artificial Intelligence-powered task system provides seamless navigation through each relevant part of the search engine model, uncovering SERP-specific prioritized tasks from off-page to on-page and everything in between.
A successful SEO campaign begins and ends with Market Brew’s search engine models.7. Establish Topic Authority
Imagine being able to submit every change to Google to see what would happen. With Market Brew’s SEO testing platform features, you can.
Market Brew’s Spotlight algorithm allows users to establish the perfect Topic Authority and understand exactly what the outperforming site’s topic cluster is, and even which expert topics the content should be talking about.
Each Market Brew account comes standard with the following:
Evergreen Googlebot Crawler.
Particle Swarm Optimization for all of your search engine models.
Proven search engine algorithms.
Rapid testing capabilities.
SEO Teams tool to help Manage Optimization.
The ability to compare and contrast how your changes fared.8. Identify Keyword Stuffing
Topic clusters are a distillation of keywords, and keywords are essential for SEO.
But stuffing your copy with an overkill of keywords gives the impression that you focus on rankings rather than readers – and search engines notice.
Instead, Google wants to see intentional content that adds value to its readers. That is why Google frowns on pages that stuff their keywords.
Instead, focus on responsible keyword SEO optimization.
Using two to five keywords on a page is a safe number to stick with for your SEO.
Instead of using the same keyword repeatedly on your site, find related topics for each keyword to prevent the overuse of one keyword and build a topic cluster.
Google rewards sites with focused topic clusters, and sites that use them will usually have more dense content if there are a variety of keywords and related topics on a page.Simplify Your SEO Process
If you want to simplify your enterprise SEO optimization process, stick with Market Brew.
Each Market Brew account comes with Market Focus capability, which begins with a keyword-based approach. Then, with Market Brew’s robust link-scoring layer, the technology calculates a basket of keyword clusters for each page.
Market Brew’s automated discovery system uses this data to guide you to the exact algorithms that are the deciding factors in the target search engine environment, shown on the Top Optimizations screen.
In conclusion, manipulating search rankings with repeated words or phrases will only cause a site to rank lower in Google’s search results.
Make your life simpler and let Market Brew take your keyword optimization to the next level with our software.
SEO professionals find our predictability analysis to be the closest thing you can get to an SEO services guarantee.
Through our search engine replication process, we quickly and clearly show you how best to optimize your site, making it a walk in the park for you and your business.
Are you interested in signing up for a Market Brew account? Book a demo today, and see how valuable our software can be for your business.
Featured Image: Image by Market Brew. Used with permission.
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