Unpopular opinion of the day, right?
Aiming to rank #1 on Google for a specific term, or even, a handful of terms, is a waste of yours and everyone’s time.
Google now uses 200+ factors in their algorithm including social signals, user-interaction, and trust. How can you know which ones to focus on first? You can’t know.
Don’t panic. Forget about the absolute focus on keywords for a minute, and let’s focus on:
Creating High-Quality, Awesome Content
“I don’t need quality content on my website to rank,” said no one ever.
The quality of your website and blog content is still crucial for 2019. Content still reigns as king. Content that is optimised for keywords still holds valuable SEO power. Your content needs to provide valuable information.
High-quality content is about creating pages that increase time on page, lower bounce rate, and provide helpful content for the user.
Google algorithm updates in 2018 revealed that Google is intensifying it’s focus on evaluating content quality and at the depth and breadth of a website’s content.
Reference Google’s mission statement, and you won’t go far wrong:
“To organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful”
Creating good quality authoritative content meets their mission statement far more than keyword cramming.
We can't go into a load of huge detail here about how to write quality content, and what Google deem to actually be quality content (this is just a blog, after all), but there's a ton of really good info on one of Moz's whiteboard topics. This features how to create comprehensive content for your site, and is definitely worth a look at.
If you've found yourself with more time on your hands, one of Google's pages demonstrates their criteria for quality content, along with plenty of SEO do's and don'ts....
And another thing:
Increasing your Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness
Establishing and growing your expertise, authority, and trustworthiness – better known as E-A-T in Google’s search quality rating guidelines is another key trend in 2019.
You cannot rank easily writing authoritative content unless you are an authority on the given subject.
An increase in SERP (search engine results page) does not only boost your business, it makes your business more authentic as well. It is proven that web visitors think the first few websites of the search result pages as more authentic in their relevant industry.
It is basically a psychological game that gives you the advantage.
But what about Featured Snippets, you say?
Ah, the elusive Featured Snippet.
When a user asks Google a question, it might show a search result in a special featured snippet block at the top of the results page.
This featured block includes a summary of the answer, extracted from a webpage, plus a link to the page, the page title and URL. Google programmatically detects pages that answer the user’s question and display a top result, like so:
To win a Featured Snippet, you need to be informative, factual and provide a concise answer to the user’s question. Targeting the correct keywords and finding the correct balance in providing awesome answer content that wins both the Featured Snippet and the click.
Improve your User Experience
Google doesn’t want to rank sites at the top that are the “best optimised.” They want to rank the site that users love the most at the top. So, focus on providing that and, in the long run, you should rank higher.
Bit more about SEO and optimising your website here.
Here’s a fun fact for you. A mere one second delay in page response decreases customer satisfaction by 16%. If Amazon were to increase their page load time by +100ms, they would lose 1% of their sales. Okay, you may have noticed there were two fun facts there; but I consider them extremely demonstrative of my point, so they’re staying.
Organic Traffic Growth
Keywords have trends and they change in popularity over time. Instead of focusing on a handful of keywords or even a few hundred, try and just focus on increasing your overall organic traffic.
Neil Patel discusses the issues surrounding SEO businesses are facing in 2019, and how to step away from incoming keyword meltdowns.
As long as it keeps climbing quarter over quarter, all is well.
Yes, you want to continually improve your search traffic over time, but obsessing over whether or not a keyword is ranking #1 doesn’t mean much in the scheme of things.
Let’s put aside the looooong list of keywords for now, and start thinking about some useful content that not only Google, but your future customers will love.