One of the most important factors in running a blog is providing high-quality content for your readers, and providing enough of that content to encourage those readers to return. However, it doesn’t matter how good your content is: If your blog isn’t attracting enough organic traffic, then the time and money spent investing in that content has gone to waste.
This means that a strong SEO strategy is incredibly important, and part-and-parcel of any content plan for your blog.
The problem, however, is that search engine algorithms change frequently, and so it’s easy for your blog to get left behind and for your traffic to suffer as a result. Google applies hundreds of changes to its algorithm every year, and while your SEO strategy may work wonders for your blog one week, it may be obsolete the next.
Thankfully, there are ways to stay ahead of the curve. One way is to continuously experiment and try new things with your content plan. The Internet is an ever-changing landscape of information and data, and you simply can’t afford to be found standing still while the environment around you is changing. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things, because you never know what will work at any one time.
The other — and far more efficient — way of ensuring your blog is up-to-date with the latest SEO strategies is to delve into Google Search Engine Patents. These patents protect Google’s technology from being copied by competitors, so as you can imagine, the information provided in them is particularly detailed and extremely useful.
Why Google Patents Are Important for Your Blog
Patents are fantastic for ensuring your blog is optimized for the latest Google search algorithms, but at the same time, you certainly don’t want to bet your house on every patent you find.
Companies generally file patents for ideas and technology they feel will be useful in the future, and sometimes they’re filed simply so the competitor never gets their hands on them.
There’s no guarantee that a patent will ever be utilized by the company, but knowing when and how Google wants to change search can allow you the flexibility to make necessary changes to your blog over time. Patents are a great way to see where SEO may be going in the future, and as such it is a fantastic tool to use when planning a long-term SEO strategy.
Here are five Google patents that you should keep an eye out for.
Answer the searcher’s question
Patent: Rich content for query answers
Google has come a long way from the search engine it was way back in 1998. What began as a simple list of websites that included your search query within the text of a specific page, the search engine now relies on complex algorithms to offer a far more personalized search experience.
Today, Google search results have evolved to provide simple answers to complex questions.
You may have noticed that whenever you search a question in Google — say, “What’s the time in Rome?” — the search results will display in the knowledge graph at the top of the results.
The reason Google does this is because it knows people want straightforward answers, and that they don’t want to have to dig through a website to find what they’re looking for.
This patent, in particular, extends this query, with additional rich content answers added to the result. What this means is that you can position your blog and content to feature in this section of a search result, alongside other rich content answers.
While a reader may get their immediate answer direct from Google’s search result, the click-through rate for links with this rich snippet is generally very high, as the searcher often wants more information.
The simplest way to position your site in this way is to incorporate Schema into your content. Schema is a type of structured data that simply acts as a translator of sorts for search engines. Essentially, it makes it easier for search engines to read your content.
Incorporating Schema into your website will involve a little bit of coding and digging into your content’s HTML. There are a few useful tools to help, like Google’s Markup Helper.
Personalized questions and answers
This patent is interesting, and some may find it a little too intrusive for their liking. There’s no denying, however, that it’s very impressive in how it shapes search results and how it can potentially drive traffic to your site.
The patent basically refers to Google using information related to a television show you may be watching, and shaping search queries relative to that interest.
Personalized search results are nothing new. In fact, Google has been offering personalized search results for years. It did that by utilizing browser habits in an attempt to answer questions and provide search queries before you actually made the query. This patent, however, takes that to a new level, using external devices to create a more personalized experience.
You may be wondering how this changes your SEO strategy. In creating more personalized queries, Google is also enhancing the localization of results. This means that content you create that is specified with locations, dates, and other key points that may service a specific area, will service a small bubble of search queries.
You may want to plan this for future content planning and slowly integrate it, as it’s something Google is still working on. However, preparing your site to offer more localized results for people with specific interests could set you up with a future-proofed content plan.
Use LSI keywords
This is something that should already be incorporated into your SEO strategy, but it’s also something that can be easily missed by bloggers. LSI keywords work to add context to specific words and phrases that could potentially be defined and interpreted in other ways.
It seems like a fairly simple way to boost your blog’s SEO, but it can be easy to bypass when you’re writing about something specific that you assume your reader — and Google — knows about. Ensuring the LSI keywords match up with the main keywords of a specific page will help propel your content to the top of the search ratings.
It’s important to remember that a keyword on its own may not necessarily be enough to help your Google ranking, and your content may get lost in the noise alongside other content with similar terms. Specifying what it is about a keyword that makes it different, and how it applies to the query that Google is making, can help drive people to your content.
Using a tool like LSIgraph.com will help you come up with LSI keywords that match your topic. Simply input the keyword, and try to work the top results into your content strategy.
Keep your readers active
Getting people to your site is one (very important) goal, but keeping them on the site and active can be quite tricky. That’s why you want to create content that invites discussion and keeps readers engaged by welcoming responses.
This patent in particular highlights Google’s intent to rank content relative to the value of the page, and how entrenched in the content the visitor is. Basically, the higher the time-on-page and lower the bounce rate, the more likely Google is to list the content in a favorable position in search results.
There are a number of ways to do this. First, you want a site that actually allows user registration and/or commenting. With so many people on social media, there’s really no excuse for not offering visitors the opportunity to respond directly to your content.
Secondly, you want to serve the reader with more content that is relative to the page they’ve landed on. There are many ways to do this, and a number of tools, particularly on WordPress, that allow you to offer “similar content”-like widgets and boxes to encourage readers to extend their stay.
If a person arrives on a site via a search result, stays for a few seconds and then returns to Google, this has the potential to devalue the content, and your blog will suffer as a result.
Of course, creating good content ties into this, so you want both good content and community strategies in place to ensure readers are invested in the services and features of your site.
Write compelling, attractive meta descriptions
This is an oldie but a goody and is something Google continues to refine and change. Search results are never finalized and your content can move up or down the ranks depending on how engaged readers are with the content in search results.
Google runs continuous analytics to see how users interact with ranked results, and this, in turn, affects where your content is ranked in a query. What you want to make sure of is that once your content hits a good position in a search result for a specific query, that it’s actually attractive enough to be clicked. It’s easy to skim through Google and skip over results, even those that appear on the first page at the top of the list.
If your content is in that position, you want to make sure the snippet is of the highest quality. Include the keyword in the meta description, keep the description brief and try experimenting with other descriptions if the click-through-rate isn’t particularly high.
As you can imagine, Google constantly files for and is granted new patents regularly. While it would be easy to get lost digging through patents, keeping up to date with new ones being granted and considering how the technology could be used to evaluate your website is one way to future-proof your SEO strategy. Even if you stay abreast of changes, it is always a great idea to test variables and split test content.
Over to you…
What is one change you expect to see in SEO in 2017?