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The Complete SEO Guide For 2018

Table of contents:

  1. How the Google RankBrain works
    1. Does the average time spent on the page matters?
    2. Organic CTR can be tricky
  2. How to grow your CTR
  3. Write Deep Content
  4. Remember the Google Mobile-First policy
  5. Use YouTube and video content to gain traffic
  6. Don’t Forget The Links

How the Google RankBrain works

Back in 2015 Google released the RankBrain feature for the search optimization. This is the algorithm learning AI system that learns how you interact with the search results and rank the results for the others based on the information that it gathers.

When they released the Rankbrain it was used only for 15% of all the search results, but now this feature is one of the most important things that affect the search results.

Everythings is pretty easy, so let me just show you how it works real quick and you’ll get it too. Let’s say you’re looking for the WordPress themes:

how google search results look

So let’s say you’ve clicked on the second link and opened our collection of themes, you loved them and you browsed our catalog for quite some time. Then Rockbrain marks the second result as a very useful link. Then it makes the same marks after analyzing the behavior of the other visitors in our marketplace.

For example, you’ve opened the first link with the free themes from WordPress. org, but you didn’t like them cause you’ve noticed that they look cheap and you don’t like them. You leave the website in a few seconds, it means that Rankbrain will mark this result as a bad one and will move it down very quickly if the other visitors feel the same about it.

So as you can see, RankBrain takes into the consideration two things:

  1. The time you spend on the page
  2. The number of people who selected your page out of all the search results by this keyword

Does the average time spent on the page matter?

Let’s take a look under the hood of these two aspects. When we talk about the average time a user spends on your page, we need to highlight the fact that RankBrain considers it to be the most important aspect of the usefulness of your page.

If you search for some statistics, you’ll see that the average time a user spends on the pages from the TOP-10 is 3 minutes and 10 seconds.

3 minutes is the average time spend on a page

It means that if users read your content more than 3 minutes, you are doing a great job and you should keep it up.

The logic behind that is pretty simple, cause if you stay on the page for so long, it’s obvious that you love it or simply consider it useful and dig into this information as deep as needed.

Organic CTR can be tricky

When we discuss the organic CTR we need to review one crucial flaw that RankBrain has according to one of the Google engineers.

Basically, the page that gives a straight answer to your question in the snippet will be ranked lower than the one that intrigues with the title and gives the answer on the page itself.

Is it fair? No. Do we all have to adapt to these rules? Definitely.

If you want to know how to gain a higher organic CTR, I can offer you to review the following tips and tricks.

How to grow your CTR

So we have just reviewed the main concepts of how the Google’s RankBrain works. It means that now we can put this knowledge to a good use.

Due to the fact that RankBrain will still play a huge role in the search rankings for the next years, you need to become a real CTR-master and learn how to get a higher CTR if you want to get more and more visitors the 2018.

There are three reasons why you need to step up your CTR game this year, they are

Advertised results

too many ads on the first google page results

Google’s Own Recommendations

here's what you get when you search for the movies

Rotten Tomatoes and iMDb links are on the top

Google’s direct answers to your questions

Google will answer your direct question above

According to the research data, the overall CTR for all the results went down by 35% due to the fact that Google started to give the direct answers to user’s questions, maps, and other useful blocks.

It means that in 2018 your snippets should strive for getting the user’s attention from the first seconds.

Please, don’t clickbait or I will come and get you.

Write Deep Content

This is the point that some of you still don’t want to understand. There is no more chance for you to include dozens of keywords related to your topic in your text and believe that you’ll get the top places in the search results.

Now Google not only reviews your pages for the keywords, it also looks for the context and real answers to the user’s questions and needs.

So only the articles and pages that cover up the topics the most and give people the deepest content will be able to get to the top.

Quote from MoneyBall - Adapt or die

Your page should bring real value to the users, not just pop up with the needed title or subheadings.

Here are some ways to make sure you’re looking deep enough into the topic you want to review.

The text size is around 2000 words

It will ensure that you cover all the details that any user wants to know about the topic or question he searched on Google.

Add some LSI-keywords to your text

While writing your 2000 piece you should use topic-related keywords to cover a wider range of search requests. For example, if you want to write an article about the hoodie design:

LSI keyword generator

As you can see, I’ve used a special platform that generates a list of LSI keywords. Yeah, it’s called the LSI Graph and it’s truly amazing, just try it out when you start writing your next piece and you’ll see how convenient it gets with this tool.

User Google search suggestions smartly!

As a user, you could notice a block on the bottom of the Google search page. It gives a few suggestions on the topic related inquiries, use them in your article and get an attention form a wider audience.

search recommendations

Don’t forget about the Google Keyword Planner

It still can serve you as the most extensive data collection regarding the search inquiries and keywords.

Remember the Google Mobile-First policy

According to the latest Google research data, 60% of internet users search for the information using their smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.
So Google’s response to this came pretty fast: Google announced that they will consider the mobile version of your website as a primary one even if your website visitor is using a laptop or any other desktop PC.

It means that you have to make sure that it’s easy to interact with your website on the mobile devices and all the content is visible and easy to read. For example, here’s how you see our latest article on the blog on two different devices:

SEO Guide 2018

As you can see, it’s easy to interact with our blog and read anything you want, it doesn’t really matter what kind of device you read us on.

Here is where you can test your website for the mobile-friendliness:

Google Mobile-Friendliness Test

P.S. Do I really have to highlight the fact that your website should have a responsive design in 2018?

If you don’t know how to make sure that your website looks great on any device, make sure you check all of our best website templates, they’re all responsive as hell.

Use YouTube and video content to gain traffic

According to the latest research data, the average time people spend on YouTube doubled this year. Video content is still the best tool to bring something to this world and put your creativity to a good use nowadays. Since I’ve mentioned that, it is also a great SEO tool for you.

More and more people go straight to YouTube when they want to find the answer to some specific question, they even leave Google behind.

For example, my friend recently told me that when he wants to get a deeper knowledge of how to do something, he goes straight to YouTube. He learned how to cook, iron his cloth and build a new table using YouTube and he is happy about it.

So if you start producing video content, you can bring more and more people to your website. The only task you have is to create a valuable video, don’t just create videos for a purpose of creating videos, get it?

Basically, here is what Google does for quite some time already when you search for something:

SEO Guide 2018

Video content even conquered the ‘Images’ section:

SEO Guide 2018

Jump on this video-content train while you have time, too many marketers are too lazy to work with a video still, so you have time to experiment with it.

Don’t Forget The Links

If you understand all the things that we’ve discussed above, you still have to remember that SEO is and always will be about the content and links.

Basically, if you don’t have a good content and all the needed links on your page, you don’t even have to care about the RankBrain and other stuff, cause it’s for those who already got onto the TOP-10 page.

The content quality and link building is something everybody talks about and we are not an exception, you can find these fundamentals explained in our video:

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