What You Need to Know About Search Rankings

In recent years, search engines have evolved dramatically. The rise of semantic search has been the prime mover behind the biggest search changes.

Today’s intelligent search engine algorithms can understand synonyms and language patterns. They’re also capable of learning what we like and delivering personalized search results.

So what can you do in 2016 if you want to improve your search engine ranking? Read on to discover three of the most important ranking factors.

1.Search is about things– not strings

SEOGoogle’s latest update (dubbed “Hummingbird”) featured a massive upgrade to the search giant’s machine learning capabilities.

Prior to the big update, Google was already matching keywords to word stems. For example, it knew that the words “run,” “running” and “jogging” were all connected. After Hummingbird, Google got even smarter.

The driving force behind Google’s new language abilities is a part of the Hummingbird algorithm known as RankBrain. This new algorithm is capable of understanding words on a deeper level.

For example, if you type in a query like “What’s the title of the consumer at the highest level of a food chain?” Google now knows that you want to know more about apex predators– not black Friday shoppers.

Here’s the takeaway: don’t be repetitious.

Years ago, mentioning the same keyword over and over again in an article was good for SEO. Today, you need to cover all aspects of whatever topic you’re covering. Variety is the key.

So before you sit down to produce content, brainstorm as many relevant words and phrases as you can. Keep the gears turning as you write and work in more variations on the main theme as you go.

2.Emotional headlines help sites gain rank

According to CTO of WordStream Larry Kim, a site needs to have a high Click-Through-Rate (CTR) if it wants to convince RankBrain that it’s interesting.

In order to boost your CTR, you need to develop headlines that tap into human emotions.

Traditional marketers have been practicing the art of crafting compelling headlines since the dawn of newspapers. Ad men use a tool called the “Wheel of Emotions” to design and analyze compelling commercials. You can use the same tactics to create compelling blog headlines.

Harvard Business Review recently used the Wheel of Emotions to try to identify which feelings internet users respond to the most. The research team discovered that viral content with headlines that make us feel curious, amazed, interested, astonished or uncertain perform very well on the web.

3. Abusive spam, misleading affiliate links and too many advertising banners will weigh your site down.

You can no longer afford to bother your site visitors.  Sites with high bounce rates get shuffled to the bottom.

One sure-fire way to annoy your visitors is by blasting them with irrelevant ads. In order for your site to succeed, it has to please the people that land on it looking for info.

Here’s another reason to streamline: Google can now measure how long it takes for your page to load. If your site isn’t optimized for the mobile web and it has lots of pop-up ads and animated banners, expect its search ranking to take a big hit once your campaign goes live.

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