Expert Shares Advice on How to Become a Better SEO

At the Yext Summit, 27-year search marketing expert Duane Forrester shared his five steps to become a better SEO and anticipate future trends. He emphasised the importance of continuous learning in the rapidly changing SEO industry, which includes machine learning, neural networks, and AI. Forrester advised dedicating at least 60 minutes daily to reading new sources and official blogs and following known experts on Twitter, LinkedIn, Bluesky, and TikTok. He also recommended using official sources for SEO guidance and expanding your sources to ones most people don’t use. Forrester also highlighted the value of developer resources, recommending companies like Meta, Amazon, Apple, TikTok, and OpenAI as they are developing customer experiences that impact consumer behaviour. He also emphasised the importance of understanding how technology affects customer experience and behaviour and how money follows consumers.

High-Quality Content Gets Crawled More Often

Google’s Search Relations team has debunked misconceptions about crawl budgets and explains how Google prioritises crawling. Google’s crawling decisions are dynamic and driven by content quality and search demand. The scheduler decides how much to crawl based on search query demand, which is influenced by user trends. To increase crawling, websites must convince search that their content is worth fetching. Focus on site quality to ensure efficient crawling and indexing. Google’s scheduling is dynamic, and when signals from search indexing show an increase in content quality across multiple URLs, the scheduler turns up the demand. Consistently improving page quality and the usefulness of content to searchers can overcome assumed limitations on crawling. To improve site performance, analyse performance, identify areas for improvement, and focus on delivering the best possible experience to the target audience, Google’s recent insights clarify that a fixed “crawl budget” is essentially a myth. By prioritising quality, relevance, and user experience, site owners can ensure their valuable pages are discovered, crawled, and indexed by Google without worrying about hitting an arbitrary limit.

Google’s Bias to Popular Brands with Low-Quality Content

Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) have historically shown a bias favouring big brands with low-quality content. This bias has been present in the past, with sites with high PageRanks ranking for virtually anything they wanted. Google’s algorithm has also shown other biases in the past, such as Top 10 posts, longtail articles, misspellings, and free widgets. Despite small sites growing to become big brands, they still dominate the SERPs. The recent Google anti-trust lawsuit exposed the importance of the Navboost algorithm signals as a significant ranking factor. Navboost is an algorithm that interprets user engagement signals to understand what topics a webpage is relevant for. Strong user preferences can carry a more substantial weight than Reviews System signals, a patch to fix Google’s bias for content about reviews and why big brands and poor quality content still rank. Whether Google continues ranking user satisfaction signals based on users’ biases and inexperience or if publishers should concentrate on making content for the broadest audience.

A Five-Step Guide for Identifying Drops in Rankings

Google’s Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan, has provided advice on diagnosing ranking declines to Wesley Copeland, owner of a gaming news website. Copeland, who experienced a significant drop in traffic from Google searches, sought help after the advice. Sullivan recommendeds a five-step plan to recover the website’s performance.
  • Use Google Search Console to compare metrics over six months.
  • Sort the Queries report by ‘click change’ to identify decreases.
  • Check if the site ranks highly for relevant terms.
  • If so, the content quality and SEO may be fine.
  • Understand Google’s ranking algorithms evolve continually, causing volatility.
Sullivan’s advice emphasises the importance of SEO professionals regularly analysing performance using tools like Google Search Console to identify potential areas to optimise. High search rankings require aligning with Google’s evolving ranking criteria, and search ranking fluctuations are expected.

Google Plans to Update SEO Starter Guide

Google’s SEO Starter Guide, a crucial resource for search engine optimisation professionals, is set to undergo a significant revision. The guide, which has over 8,000 words of advice, is one of the most visited resources on Google’s Search Central site. The changes aim to simplify the content for modern users, especially those new to building websites. The revised guide will focus more on general SEO concepts than technical details, such as understanding page title tags without manually editing HTML code. The modifications reflect the rise in popularity of content management systems (CMS) like WordPress and website builders like Wix, which automate technical SEO work. The decision to streamline the guide reflects a shift towards a more focused and user-friendly approach, aiming to provide clear, impactful advice without overwhelming readers.

Google: There Is No “Perfect” Method for Search Ranks

Google has reaffirmed that there is no “perfect page” formula for search rankings, stating that there is no universal ranking formula. The company clarified that no such formula exists, despite claims that specific word counts, page structures, or other optimisations can guarantee high placement. Google also emphasised that third-party SEO tools often advise constructing pages in specific ways to succeed in search, but they can’t predict rankings. Google’s algorithm values commonalities and unique differences; following such advice doesn’t guarantee a top ranking. Google’s key advice is to focus on helpful things for readers rather than relying on a byline to rank higher in Google. For instance, if an author byline fits a page’s purpose for readers, it should be included, but not because it may supposedly boost rankings.

Google’s Advice on Moving to a New Website Without SEO Problems

Moving to a new website is a significant change for businesses. Handling the shift carefully is vital to maintaining your search engine rankings and giving users a continuous experience. On a recent episode of Ask Googlebot, Google Search Advocate John Mueller advised small business owners on navigating the transition from old to new websites. He suggests implementing redirects from the old site to the new one, which helps search engines transfer existing signals to the new domain. Redirects navigate users to the correct website and pass link equity to the new domain. 301 permanent redirects are recommended for moving websites. If not possible, options include updating or removing the old site. After the transition, businesses should use analytics software to check the redirects function correctly, monitor search engine rankings, and inform users about the change through social media and emails.

Are Keywords In Domain Names A Ranking Factor?

In a recent Reddit thread, Google Search Advocate John Mueller advised against relying solely on keywords in domain names for long-term SEO strategies, stating that a keyword domain name does not offer a noticeable SEO advantage on Google and can hinder long-term marketing goals. Mueller also warns that domain names focused on a specific keyword can be restrictive for targeting other keywords, making it difficult to diversify website offerings. He emphasises the importance of building a strong, recognisable brand for search and other platforms to connect with customers. Mueller’s insights are valuable for marketing and SEO professionals in 2024, encouraging a shift from relying on keywords to developing a comprehensive, brand-focused online presence.

Google completes November 2023 core update rollout

Google confirmed that on November 28, its fourth core update of the year, the November 2023 update, completed its rollout. The update began on November 2, 2023, following the October 2023 update, which started on October 5 and ended on October 19. The November update caused significant ranking volatility and complaints from SEOs. The impact of the November 2023 reviews update was experienced at different times by sites. Google algorithm updates are crucial for brands, businesses, and organisations as they can impact search results, organic traffic, conversions, and revenue. If a core update negatively impacts a site, Google advises that there are no specific actions to take to recover; a negative rankings impact may not signal anything is wrong with your pages.

Google says major changes coming to search rankings

Google’s Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan, has hinted at major future changes to Google’s search rankings. Sullivan stated that these changes correspond to improvements in the works, and while the prospect of significant changes may seem daunting, it is crucial to approach them cautiously. As the SEO community eagerly awaits further updates from Google, it is essential to remain adaptable and prepared to make necessary adjustments. The core message is that the SEO landscape is constantly evolving, and practitioners must be agile and proactive in responding to these ongoing developments. By staying informed and continually refining their strategies, website owners can position themselves for success in the ever-changing world of search engine rankings. Click the button below for a free review of your website.
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