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SEO Facts That Will Cause You To Rethink Your Content Strategy

VegasMisha always had a passion for writing and sharing "must know" content for everyone to enjoy.

My Aspirational Journey in SEO

As a writer, it is my duty to stay up-to-date with my craft, but when I take an interest in something, I tend to seek out as much information as possible about it. This was the case with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which has been an interest of mine for the past decade, ever since I learned about the tool and its value to marketing techniques.

Not only did I want to learn the basics about SEO, but I also wanted to dig deep into the details and learn the hidden secrets and facts behind this method that is so effective and appealing to marketers.

While venturing to learn more on the subject, I found myself reading countless blogs, posts, and books, listening to one podcast after another, watching video after video, and even sitting through hours of SEO training courses, studying every facet of this powerful optimization process over the past decade.

Today, I consider myself somewhat of an expert in SEO, using the skills and knowledge I gained throughout my aspirational journey, to write powerful, compelling, and effective content for websites, blogs, and ads. Now, I am going to share some important facts about SEO with you, to help simplify your escapade in learning more about this valuable optimization practice.

How the Internet Changed the Way We Search for Solutions

Before the existence of the internet and the transformation to search engines, we “let our fingers do the walking” to find information about businesses in a large book we called, “The Yellow Pages.”

This book was sectioned by categories with listings that appeared in alphabetical order. So the strategy behind getting your business to display first was a no-brainer. You simply added a number or “A” in front of your business title.

For example, many businesses would use names like, “A1 Plumbing” or “A Plus Cleaning Supplies” where others would get more creative and use something like, “Another Auto Repair Shop,” “Ace High Construction,” etc.

This made it hard for places like “Western Tools” to profit from the big book since most people would scan through the A section first and find what they are looking for before even making it to the Bs.

In today’s world, with an advanced way to search for products, services, and businesses, it doesn’t matter whether your business title begins with “A” or “Z”, as long as you have an optimized website for search engines to send traffic to, you are in business.

However, getting search engines to send traffic your way takes a lot more than just a mere name change. It takes expert SEO tactics that some people may not know about.

Keeping some SEO facets a secret was done intentionally by Google to encourage businesses to create websites with value-driven content pertaining to its niche, rather than a site developed specifically to gain more traffic. But, as with everything else, there are always leaks to uncover hidden information, which is how some of the secrets I am about to reveal got out of the bag.

SEO Fact 1: You Can Improve Your Site Rank Substantially, by Removing Pages From Google’s Index

Google uses complex algorithms when determining how to rank websites and web pages. It sends out sophisticated software called web crawlers, spiders, or Googlebots to inspect websites. After thoroughly checking everything from the keywords used in the content to the links provided, these crawlers will add the gathered information to Google’s search index.

Google checks the gathered information for each page on your website and ranks the pages for certain keywords and phrases. When someone searches for specific keywords or phrases, Google will display significant websites in the organic search results listed according to relevance.

While some of the pages on your site may be optimized properly, other pages may not and this will weigh you down as Google takes the whole website into account when determining your ranking.

You can remove the pages without value and check how your website is ranked by using a free Google program called “Search Console.” This program allows website owners to tell Google how to crawl their site, request a re-crawl of their site, or opt-out of website crawling altogether by using the “robots.txt” file. It can also help accelerate the ranking process by manually submitting your website to Google and requesting for it to be crawled.

The SEO tool maker known as MOZ removed 75% of its website’s pages from the Google index in 2017. These were pages that had low value as they were merely member profiles. The removal of these pages resulted in a 13.7% increase in organic search traffic.

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SEO Fact 2: Exact Matching Keywords No Longer Have To Exist in the Content to Rank for Specific Search Terms

This may come as a shock to some but a recent study found that an exact matching keyword to a search query did not even appear in the content of nearly 75% of the pages ranking in Google’s top ten.

This is jaw-dropping, especially for those who are still using traditional SEO and adding relevant keyword search terms to their content multiple times. But the truth is, Google no longer focuses mainly on keywords to rank web pages as it did in the past.

Previously, Google’s algorithms were set up to seek out and display in Google’s search engine result’s pages (SERPs), websites with the most keywords in its contents that matched the search query.

This was a mess as it had marketers up nights trying to come up with different ways to use specific keywords that made sense. Some of the worst websites with no value whatsoever were ranking higher than those with rich valuable information. It resulted in content that read something like this:

Our air duct cleaners are experts in the air duct cleaning industry who can get any air duct cleaning job done right. No air duct cleaning job is too big or too small. We have been providing professional air duct cleaning services for many years and have built up quite the reputation as the best source for air duct cleaning. Air duct cleaning is essential for a variety of reasons...

Notice how many times the targeted keywords “air duct cleaning” or “air duct cleaners” were used in the content. In fact, this keyword phrase appeared in almost every sentence... sometimes two or three times.

Eventually, the algorithm was changed and now Google focuses on other important variables to rank websites. Today, the most prominent factor in determining a website’s ranking is direct website traffic according to the chart above that resulted in a study conducted by Semrush

Just under website visits, is how much time a visitor spends on the site, next is pages per session, then bounce rate, referring domains total, number of backlinks in total, etc.

Apparently, keywords are no longer a major concern in page optimization since anything having to do with keywords including keyword in anchor, keyword density, keyword in the title, etc., was found at the bottom of the list. It’s also important to mention that meta tags are also no longer relevant for ranking.

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While there are numerous factors that determine how your site ranks in search engines, your website’s domain authority, is one of the most important. Domain authority is also determined by a number of factors, including the quality and number of links from other websites to yours, known as backlinks.

Powerful backlinks are vital to SEO if you want to rank higher in Google SERPs. In fact, you can have hundreds of insignificant websites linking back to your site but it wouldn’t impact your ranking as one powerful authoritative link would. Therefore, it’s about the quality that counts, rather than quantity.

So which sites are considered high authority quality pages? Google, Huffington Post, New York Times, Washington Post, Forbes, Wikipedia, and government sites are just a few examples of websites with higher domain authority.

The sites linking back to yours would also have to be relevant to your niche and provide valuable information to readers. Thus, these links should come without exploiting them as this is a big Google no-no.

One thing Google will not stand for is going against its guidelines and using tricks to try to improve website rankings. This is referred to as “black hat” or “link schemes” and it comes with high penalties. For example, if you are caught trying to buy backlinks from other sites, Google will penalize you by moving your website back in its SERPs.

One good example of this took place in 2006 when Google caught BMW employing a black-hat method to augment its German website. The site was not only pushed back in rankings, it was removed completely from search results, whereas the BBC called this “the death penalty.” BMW admitted to having set up “doorway pages,” which are used to attract a search engine then redirect traffic to another site. However, it also stated the company didn’t intend to deceive users, and if doorway pages go against Google’s terms, it will take this into account.

J.C. Penney is another big organization that tried to cheat the system to cut in front of the other corporations. But the tactics it used were a little different. The company paid other sites to link back to their site with specific keywords they were targeting such as “dresses,” “rugs,” and more.

Still, the punishment for J.C. Penney was far less harsh than the fate BMW suffered. Google took what it calls “corrective action” against the establishment and only somewhat reduced its rankings for certain keywords.

Another factor of domain authority is how old a website is. The older the website, the more authority it has, and the higher the authority, the higher your site will rank on search engines.

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SEO Fact 4: Google Emphasizes on Content “Above the Fold” When Ranking a Website

Above the fold is basically the content a user sees when the page loads before scrolling down. In this case, the fold refers to an invisible line that divides the content you see on the screen from the content you see after scrolling.

In the past, above the fold, SEO was crucial, but it only mattered for PC versions of your site. Now Mobile-first indexing (MFI) is used by Google since people are using a mobile device more to access the internet, and the majority of users today access its search feature using a mobile device.

Therefore, the size of the screen must also be taken into consideration when optimizing your site, since websites will display differently above the fold on a smartphone.

Today, Google and other search engines are putting more weight on content above the fold than they did in the past for ranking purposes. Therefore, if you’re going to add an image to your site, make sure to leave enough room for the compelling text that can be seen when the page loads. Keep in mind that a Googlebot cannot crawl an image, it only recognizes and parses text.

The idea is to add as much information as possible about your site above the fold. According to Google’s mobile-first indexing (MFI) best practices, never place ads above the fold. This is because ads can take up a lot of room on mobile devices, which may result in a bad user experience.

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SEO Fact 5: Understand the Value of Latent Semantic Indexing

SEO experts discern the importance of latent semantic indexing (LSI), also known as Latent Semantic Analysis, which is a search engine feature that helps them understand a web page's subject matter. LSI uses what is called singular value decomposition, which is a mathematical technique used to discover co-occurrences of words placed together within a document.

Words can have many meanings. But, by putting words into a type of context, and including related words, it is easier to determine the author’s intent. For example, the word “date” by itself could refer to a scheduled meeting of two people, the date on a calendar, or a date that you eat.

Google determines the meaning of a word by evaluating the words and phrases surrounding it then draws a conclusion of the overall meaning. From there, Google will properly categorize the page as a candidate for certain search queries.

Remember that using the same keyword multiple times within the content used to be a good thing, but now search engines see this as spammy. Instead, include related words and phrases to offer a cohesive topic to your page. When creating quality content with insight into the subject matter, your words will flow naturally.

In Conclusion

These are just five of the many factors Google and other search engines consider when ranking your website for search queries. However, even the best SEO providers don’t know the full scope of Google’s complex algorithms.

Thus, even if you do know a lot about optimizing your site to rank higher in search engines, they may not be relevant soon as Google changes things faster than we can keep up with.

In addition, if you look at the sites that make it to the top of the first page of the SERPs, you may notice that a good budget may also play a major role in ranking high.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 vegasmisha

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