The origins of SEO can be traced back to 1990 when the first few search engines surfaced in the IT arena. However, it is the birth of Google in 1998 which spurred the interest of techies in exploring this concept further to better equip them with an understanding of search engines and how their output could be enhanced to assist users worldwide. Since that period in time till today, the ranking factors which are essentially the ingredients in the recipe of Google’s algorithm have changed – some are either new while the others have increased in quantity (or level of significance).
On-point meta titles and descriptions do incite a users’ interest and spike their urge to click but quality content is what enhances dwell time.
With the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) and its subsequent impact on various industries, search engines experienced their own interaction with the technology with the launch of Google’s RankBrain algorithm in 2016 which quickly rose through the ranks to become its third most important ranking factor.
RankBrain is a specimen of AI which assists Google in filtering, sorting and organizing search engine results. This factor makes user experience (UX) on the portal more important than ever because it essentially keeps track of which pages they click on and then gives a boost to its ranking on the page accordingly. For instance, if a user searches for ‘best restaurant in Paris’ and clicks on the 3rd result, RankBrain will take note of this selection to give the article an upward push in its standing. Similarly, if you search for this query again and select article number 2 this time around only to find out that it is not the content you are looking for and jump back to article number 3 – RankBrain will take note of this and give a demotion to article number 2.
RANKBRAIN & DWELL TIME
Digging deeper into the riddle of RankBrain, the element can be further broken down into two factors 1) how much time a user spends on a specific page or dwell time and 2) the percentage of clicks that a research result receives or click through rate (CTR). Industry users have commented that an ideal dwell time which stands at about 3 minutes and 10 seconds possesses greater importance in the eyes of Google in comparison with click-through rate. The idea here is not only about attracting a user to click on your page but to make them stay long enough. On-point meta titles and descriptions do incite a users’ interest and spike their urge to click but quality content is what enhances dwell time.
So what exactly can be done to turn a “ short ” click into a “long ” one? The top two actionable strategies to achieve this goal are as follows:
- Develop Engaging Content: Content that induces an element of intrigue and curiously to increase the time they spend on your page. Users have a short attention span, if they feel intimidated by time consuming information which they feel may not serve any purpose, they will leave. The idea here is to use copy-writing tips and techniques to keep them glued to the information. One such known and effective technique is known as ‘bucket brigades’ which spurs readers’ interest and compels them to continue reading.
- Break Down Your Content into Subheadings: Yes this strategy seems rather simple but it is extremely effective. If a reader has decided to input a search query, they are probably looking for actionable recommendations, information or advice. When someone skims through your article and sees that it is organized with subheadings, they are more likely to spend time on reading sections which capture their interest or fulfill their needs rather than getting overwhelmed by excessive unstructured information.
RANKBRAIN & CLICK THROUGH RATE
Surprisingly enough, Google willingly accepted a slight drawback in their own algorithm by stating that it does rank some pages higher than they should be. This is precisely why brushing up on your Click Through Rate or CTR enhancing skills is really important because content which rakes in positive CTR results automatically receives a spike in its search engine standings.
FOLLOW THESE FIVE USEFUL TIPS TO BOOST YOUR CLICK THROUGH RATES:
- Know your Audience: In the world of media, knowing your audience is the first phase to driving your venture towards success. Drama, music, shows and movies all cater to a specific audience depending upon their taste and appeal to their emotions and personalities based on this understanding. Your content is essentially a piece of media which has been prepared to appeal to a group of people and people are emotional. Publishing an article about a tour package to Disneyland? Select an article title which spurs a reaction of joy, curiosity and happiness rather than simply advertising discounted package rates. You are more likely to catch a searchers’ attention this way.
- Craft your Titles Carefully: A bit too much of the same ingredient can actually make the food bland rather than giving it the savory taste you were hoping for. Keywords hold fundamental significance in the SEO formula but title tags that lend too much focus upon keywords are actually detrimental to CTR success. Make sure your titles are selected carefully and grab the searchers’ attention before they decide to move onto the next result.
- Highlight the Numbers: Ever wondered why article titles such as ’15 Hacks to Help you Beat the Monday Blues’ rake in the highest number of clicks? Well, we are wondering the same but statistics show that they just do!
- Ditch Generic URLs: URLs that are a mash of numbers, symbols and alphabets have a lesser appeal compared to descriptive URLs. Use this simple technique to boost your CTR by up to 25%!
- Put your Headlines to the Test: Once you have shortlisted a few headlines and titles, the easiest and most importantly, free way to put them to the test is through none other than Facebook! If your headline appeals to the emotions of readers and translates into positive Facebook post engagement outcomes, chances are it will push your CTR through the roof as well.
While RankBrain is an important piece in the SEO puzzle, it is important to note that your readers are coming for one thing after all – engaging, useful and valuable content. Surely, not ever one is a writer or has enough time to collect their thoughts on paper but you can definitely apply some tried and tested strategies to make your content worth the readers’ time.
Do you also find it difficult to create content on a regular basis? Without a strategy, you are without a map to success. To help you get started, in the next article, we will explore Content Creation Strategies. Subscribe now and be among the first to receive the article via email.