Many tech experts consider Google's algorithm-learning AI RankBrain the most powerful artificial intelligence system in human history. Nonetheless, countless business owners and self-proclaimed marketing gurus hold themselves back by using grossly outdated SEO strategies.
Let’s take a quick look at the SEO writing strategies that actually work in 2018 -- and which ones don’t.
METRICS THAT MATTER IN 2018
Here are some new metrics that Google prioritizes highly.
Dwell Time: This statistic measures how long visitors stay on a given site. Google assumes that a high dwell time means users are actually enjoying the content — and therefore rewards sites that perform well in this regard.
Social Shares. Content that generates a buzz on social media is clearly resonating with its audience — and is, therefore, exactly the kind of content that Google is looking for. As you can imagine, content that gets shared ranks consistently higher on major search engines.
Diversity of Content. Having different types of content (i.e. writing, photos, and videos) shows Google that you take a holistic approach to your online presence. This is one reason why we include an image with every writing project here at Content Cucumber.
Internal and External Hyperlinks. When your content includes links to other pages in your website, your site becomes more logical and navigable. (An attribute that Google considers to be an important metric of a “quality” website.) Links to external websites shows search engines that you do your research and make your site more navigable. Last but not least, both internal and external links also make your site easier for Google's indexing bots to “crawl”
METRICS THAT NO LONGER MATTER
Now, here are a few SEO metrics that used to matter, but are quickly become irrelevant or even harmful.
Keyword Repetition. Content geared toward stuffing as many keywords into one post as possible tends to be awkward, poorly-written, and uninformative. Fortunately for readers, Rank Brain is awesome at identifying such content. Unfortunately for marketers who rely on outdated SEO tricks, keyword repetition has been identified as a “black hat” strategy which received consistently lower rankings.
Long-Tail Phrase Variation. A strategy that became extremely popular about five years ago was long tail keywords. Companies would create a different blog post for every possible phrase related to a given topic. (i.e. a page for “affordable graphic design.” a page for “graphic design companies for small business,” a page for “cheap professional designs,” etc.) This would flood the web with results from the content creator, thus providing a substantial search engine boost. Like keyword repetition, however, this strategy has become obsolete with recent improvements in search engine AI.
Backlink Trading and/or Links for Hire. Creating content so good that other websites link to it as a reference will provide a serious SEO boost. However, companies that trade links with other sites and/or pay a “link farm” for inbound links are in for a tough surprise — this is yet another blackhat SEO technique that Google is now excellent at spotting.
IN CONCLUSION: QUALITY RULES
Virtually all of these tips could be summed up more generally by the rule: create quality content. Doing your research, writing in a natural and readable tone, and steering clear of blackhat SEO tricks is the quickest route to high search engine rankings. If you are looking to hire a writer who can help you with quality content creation for your online marketing strategy, then be sure to get in touch with Content Cucumber and learn more about our unlimited writing subscription service.