Category Archives: SEO

Will Google Always Remain The Dominant Search Engine?

When someone mentions search engine optimization (SEO), what’s the first thing you think about? Chances are good that if you’re like most people, it’s Google — or rather, its parent company, Alphabet. That’s not surprising.

While Google certainly didn’t invent the search engine market, it has, for more than a decade, defined it. Half of SEO amounts to trying to figure out what Google’s algorithms are doing, and what sort of content they want.  Other search engines rarely, if ever, even enter into the equation.

And if they do, they’re almost always playing second string to Google.

Will this always be the case, though? Today, we take the search giant’s dominance as a given. As history has shown us, however, dominance can vanish almost overnight.  

BlackBerry. Toys R Us. Blockbuster. Staples. Compaq. These were once household names. And while most of them are still operational, they operate in a smaller niche than anyone could have imagined in their heyday. 

According to research collected by statistics aggregator Statista, Google’s share of the search engine market has been on a steady decline for the past several years. It has, since April 2016, dropped from 63.8 percent … to 62 percent. Alright, admittedly, that’s not much of a decline.

That said, Microsoft’s share of the search engine has been climbing both consistently and significantly. Since 2012, the percentage of total search queries handled by Microsoft increased from 15.4 percent to 25.9 percent. Taken in tandem, these two statistics appear to suggest that Google’s position at the top of the search market may well be in jeopardy.

At the same time, looking at the data in its entirety paints a very different picture. Since 2008, Google has always hovered around the 60 percent mark. Although Microsoft’s climbing market share could, in the future, result in a shift, at the current juncture it’s still business as usual. 

And ultimately, it doesn’t really matter anyway. At the end of the day, all search engines ultimately have the same goal. Through their algorithms, they want to provide their audience with the most relevant, insightful, and valuable content possible. There are a limited number of ways in which one can do that.

They all boil down to intent. Understanding precisely what a user is looking for and providing that to them. This has always been the end goal of search engines (aside from generating advertising revenue, obviously). 

That isn’t to say you should ignore Google’s algorithmic updates, nor that you shouldn’t endeavor to understand the search engine. You still should. But at the same time, your focus should be on understanding your audience and using that understanding to create the best content and the most compelling brand image possible.

Do that, and everything else should follow.

3 Great Sources of Inspiration For Topic Research

Some people can turn creativity on and off like a faucet, accessing an endless well of inspiration and imagination with ease. We’d be lying if we said we weren’t at least a little jealous. See, for most of us, creativity tends to be a fickle, fleeting thing, coming and going more or less as it pleases.

Most often, this manifests as a lack of inspiration in the brainstorming phase, the inability to come up with compelling content even in spite of knowing what your readers are interested in. The bad news is that there’s no way to avoid this kind of thing entirely. The good news is that if you know where to look, you can overcome this roadblock when it surfaces.

Here are a few of our favorite sources of inspiration to help you more effectively research, brainstorm, and create compelling content. 

Quora

Quora is, beyond any shadow of a doubt, one of our favorite resources not just for topic research, but for audience research as well. This Q&A community hosts content on virtually anything you can think of — if it’s a question someone’s asked, you’re likely to find it here. Whether you’re stuck on how to address a particular search query or simply looking for new content ideas, it’s the perfect place to look. 

Other, similar resources include Yahoo! answers and Reddit. 

Competitor’s Blogs

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? As such, if you’re trying to figure out where you should focus your content marketing efforts, it may be worthwhile to have a look at the competition. Note that we are not in any way suggesting that you directly copy them — plagiarism is one of the worst things you possibly do as a writer and something to be avoided at all costs.

Rather, take a look at what sort of topics your competition covers, and think about whether or not there are certain areas you can improve upon when compared to them. In essence, approach content marketing in the same way as you approach every other area of your business. Do what your competitors do, only better.  

Friends and Colleagues

Last but certainly not least, never underestimate the value of your contacts, both personal and professional. Even if someone isn’t part of your target audience or working in your particular field, having someone to bounce ideas off can be incredibly valuable. They’ll likely bring a unique perspective to the table, with insights you hadn’t previously considered. 

A good brainstorming session is an incredible way to get the creative juices flowing. 

Writer’s Block is Only Temporary

Struggling with a creative block can be incredibly frustrating. But if you know where to look, inspiration is usually only a few clicks away. And if the above advice doesn’t help, there’s one more thing you can do to get the juices flowing.

Take a break. Get up from your computer and go for a walk. Do something relaxing, fun, and energizing.

When you return to your work, you might be surprised at how much better you’re able to focus.

Here’s What You Need to Know About Featured Snippets

Small boxes of text that appear at the top of the search engine results page, featured snippets are an effort by Google to provide users with a clear, concise answer to their questions – one that doesn’t require them to click through to the result.

On the surface, that may seem a bit counterproductive. After all, isn’t getting people to access your website the whole reason for doing search engine optimization? If someone doesn’t even click on your site, how does having a featured snippet help you? 

In a few ways.

First, featured snippets appear in what’s known as position zero on the SERP.  They always precede the first link on the page, meaning they’re the first thing a user sees. This goes an incredibly long way towards building brand recognition.

Second, featured snippets actually can lead to clicks if you use them effectively. See, snippets generally comprise only a small portion of a page’s content. If the question you’re answering requires more than a few sentences, people will have to click to see the rest of it.

In fact, according to Search Engine Land, featured snippets are actually known to reduce the click-through rate for the first organic to below 20 percentBasically, featured snippets represent an invaluable component of any SEO strategy. Let’s talk about how you can leverage them. 

  • Create exceptional content. For content to be selected by Google’s algorithms for a featured snippet, it needs to have ranked high on the SERP in the first place. With that in mind, you need a solid understanding of both SEO and of what your audience is looking for with your content. 
  • Find questions to answer. Figure out what people in your specific niche want to know. What questions is your audience likely to ask about your area of expertise, and how can you best answer them? You might consider using a tool like Answer the Public or AlsoAsked. 
  • Look at competitor’s snippets. Figure out what other businesses in your niche are doing to rank for featured snippets, and see how you can outdo them. 
  • Be thorough, yet direct. When answering a question, do so as thoroughly as possible while also remaining concise with your wording. 
  • Consider answering multiple questions per article. A solid article that answers several questions in one piece of content can be a powerful tool where featured snippets are concerned. 
  • Use high-quality media. High-quality video and images, particularly infographics, can go a long way towards making content more compelling. 
  • Understand the basics of SEO. Headers. Optimal content length. Keyword optimization. These are all essential to creating a page that ranks high enough for featured snippets.

Featured snippets are a powerful tool in any website’s marketing arsenal. Understanding how they work is at the core of effective SEO. Arm yourself with the knowledge above, and you’re well-equipped to bring in more traffic and reach a greater audience than ever before.

How Infinite Scroll Impacts Search Engine Optimization

Infinite scroll and search engine optimization don’t play nice together. Given that infinitely-scrolling websites aren’t exactly a new thing on the web, that’s something we’ve known for at least a decade. The problem, as noted by search engine marketing expert Moz, is that many sites implement infinite scrolling via JavaScript, which Google can’t really crawl effectively. 

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3 Things Every Mobile-Friendly Website Has In Common

Per Statista, in 2019 mobile devices accounted for about 51 percent of total web page views worldwide.  What that means for you is that if your website isn’t optimized to be viewed and browsed on the small screen, you’re potentially alienating more than half your audience. That’s not the only reason mobile optimization is important, either.

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The 3 Most Important Aspects of YouTube SEO

The 3 Most Important Aspects of YouTube SEO

It’s no secret that just as with Google, YouTube’s algorithms are a closely-guarded secret. Unfortunately, it also seems to be no secret that compared to Google, YouTube seems in many ways to be fumbling in the dark. As noted by Ben Popken of  NBC News, YouTube wants people to spend as much time watching videos as possible, but its algorithms aren’t entirely sure on how.

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