Tag Archives: SEO

Continuous scrolling on Google may improve the click-through rate

Google is rolling out continuous scrolling on mobile search

Google is rolling out continuous scrolling on mobile search.

Google is introducing continuous scrolling on mobile search. What does that mean?

When you search something on Google, look at the first page where it lists around 10 links with descriptions. After that people need to click or tap on the next page.

But the SEO track record of the second page is not very good. Search results appearing on the Google’s second page get less than 1% CTR. A major chunk of clicks are consumed by the links appearing on the first page.

In fact, appearing among the top results is so important that the first link that appears in the search results gets 25% clicks (source).

Consequently, whoever wants to improve his or her search engine rankings, wants to appear on the first page because not many people go to the second page.

Nonetheless, Google has discovered that when people are searching on the mobile phone, the check out up to 4 pages.

Besides, it doesn’t make any sense to make people click the next page when they can simply scroll through all the listings. Let them scroll as much as they want, I would say, even on the desktop. There is no UI logic of dividing the search results among different pages.

There may have been a psychological reason a few years ago when people were mostly using the search engine on their desktops, but on mobile phones, people don’t mind scrolling.

The continuous scrolling feature will definitely improve the CTR of many web pages and blog posts.

If people are abandoning the current search because they wouldn’t go to the second page, even on desktop, they may keep on scrolling until they find something click-worthy.

 

How to create the perfect web page title for SEO?

How to create the perfect web page title for SEO

Titles are important. They can have a big impact on your search engine rankings.

Although many renowned SEO experts claim that it is debatable whether creating “optimized” titles can improve your search engine rankings, there are different reasons why the quality of your titles is directly and indirectly related to your overall search engine rankings.

What is a blog post or a web page title? It is not the headline. It is the text that appears between the HTML tags <title> and </title>. This is the text that is picked by search engines and social media websites when you simply insert your link on your timeline.

I have personally observed that your title does matter. Your title is an indicator of what your web page holds. Hence, it naturally gives the needed information to the search engine crawlers. Again, that’s debatable. But there are certainly logical reasons why your titles matter.

Studies have shown that when people see a search term that they have just used appearing in the hyperlink of the search results, they are more likely to click it. Isn’t it natural?

For example, if you search for “content writer for web design service”, and there is a hyperlink that actually contains the phrase “content writer for web design service”, what reason do you have to not to click it? You have a big reason to click it.

Then, there is a direct relationship between the number of people clicking your link in the search results, and your search engine rankings. When more people click your link, Google takes it as a good sign.

It can be a double-edged sword, though.

If lots of people click your link and then immediately come back to Google, it means your bounce rate is higher. It means although you’re able to get the clicks, you are not providing valuable content for the search term for which your link is appearing higher. Your search rankings for that search term begin to go down.

Nonetheless, it is your title that brings people to your website, whether your title appears in Google search results, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any other social media website that creates a thumbnail out of the link and uses the title to highlight the main point of your link.

The point is, no matter what the search engine experts say, as a content writer, I know that your title has a big impact on your search engine rankings.

How to create web page and blog post titles that improve your search engine rankings?

For this, I always suggest my clients to get written highly focused web pages and blog posts. This way, your web page title directly represents the body text.

For example, if I publish a blog post titled “Top 12 tips for writing content to improve your SEO”, Google and search engine users know what to expect from this blog post. All those people who want to read about how to write content that can improve their SEO, are going to find this link worthy of clicking.

If you stick to the core topic, that is, explaining how to use content writing to improve your SEO, people are going to stick around. They’re going to spend a few minutes reading the blog post as much as it appeals to them. They may also check other links on my website or blog.

This tells Google that the title for which my this particular link is ranking high, appropriately represents what my blog post contains. It takes it as an indicator of quality content and consequently, it raises the ranking of this particular link further.

Hence, when writing titles to improve your SEO, keep the following in mind:

Let the title exactly represent what the main body content contains.

Include the main phrases in the title for which you want to optimize your web page.

Don’t needlessly or randomly stuff keywords into your title. This decreases the quality of your SEO. You only have limited number of characters – 60-70 – and within those characters, you must represent a complete phrase, a sentence that can stand by itself.

Taking the above example – Top 12 tips for writing content to improve your SEO – it wouldn’t make sense if you simply use the keywords as your title, “content writing, SEO, top tips, writing content”. People are not going to click it.

Hence, try to represent the complete phrase, a long tail keyword that people actually use to look for your content.

Is SEO all about writing optimized content?

Choosing between a content writing service or an SEO company
Choosing between a content writing service or an SEO company

Many SEO experts claim that there are 200+ factors that influence your search engine rankings. Optimized content is one of them. But most of these factors are influenced by the quality of your content.

Often, I advise my clients that if they need to make a choice between hiring an SEO company and hiring a proficient content writer, at least for the time being, make the choice in favor of a content writer. Not because I provide content writing services and if they hire me, they are going to pay me, it is the most obvious choice to make.

Now, when I say writing optimized content is one of the biggest influencing factors for your search engine rankings, I assume that I’m talking about, and your understanding, high-quality, relevant content.

Content is the foundation of the structure of rankings you are going to build upon. This foundation can be solid. This foundation can be weak. But foundation it is. If the foundation is weak, you are either not going to be able to build your structure of rankings, or your structure is going to collapse sooner or later.

SEO experts are important. I’m not saying they are not important. They give your content writing the right direction.

In fact, if you can hire a good SEO expert and a content writer, this can be a win-win situation.

A year before Covid-19 hit, I was working with a UK-based market research company. They had hired a good SEO company to strategize content writing. I could have done that for them, but they preferred to work with an expensive SEO your company. Which was a good decision.

One thing I liked about the SEO company is that they knew exactly what titles I needed to write content for, how tough or weak competition our individual titles faced, and how long must the pages be in terms of the number of words. They had access to some great SEO tools that I don’t have. This saved us a lot of time.

For example, when I am in a flow, I don’t mind writing 1000 words even if the client has asked me to write 600 words (I don’t charge extra for those 400 words). But the people from that SEO company insisted that if they had asked for 600 words, I stuck to 600 words. The logic was, writing those extra 400 words was a waste of time, and they didn’t have much time. To beat the competition, they needed just about more than 550 words. Made sense.

By the end of the day, I won’t hesitate to say that for better SEO, all you need is high quality content that is well written and written in a manner that is easily understood by search engine algorithms.

An SEO company can help you get back links – you need back links to boost your rankings.

An SEO company can audit your website structure to make sure that the content organization is search engine friendly and all the elements needed to make your search rankings better are present.

An SEO company also monitors your current rankings and raises the red flags in case some of the rankings are going down.

So, in that sense, an SEO company provides you the needed vigilance. As a business serious about improving and maintaining its search engine rankings, you need such vigilance. The rest is taken care of by regularly publishing high quality content.

Google is rewriting website titles – can you stop?

Lots of people on the Internet are complaining that Google is randomly changing their website titles. This Moz blog post has just published a complete analysis on how Google seems to be changing titles of various websites and web pages.

A few days ago, I published a blog post titled Why is the title tag so important when writing content? and in that blog post, with a screenshot I had explained what a title tag is and how it is different from a web page or blog post headline:

Screenshot of the title tag
Screenshot of the title tag.

Various SEO experts (people who are constantly observing what is Google doing with their content) began to notice this peculiarity in search results on August 16. Everyone is speculating that the update was introduced on August 15, 2021.

The author of this Search Engine Journal post quotes some website owners who say that the text for the titles is being picked from the page’s <h1> tag, but many have reported that their text was being picked from the anchor text of some randomly chosen internal link.

So much noise was generated on the Internet that Google published an update explaining how and why they are changing the titles randomly.

They have first explained how the titles are generated:

We are making use of text that humans can visually see when they arrive at a web page. We consider the main visual title or headline shown on a page, content that site owners often place within <H1> tags or other header tags, and content that’s large and prominent through the use of style treatments.

Then they go on to explain why they are changing the titles. They have mentioned three reasons:

  1. The title is a very long, needlessly long (Google can display only title characters up to a certain point).
  2. The titles are stuffed with keywords.
  3. The title seems to use “boilerplate” language. For example, a homepage may have just “Home” as title.

Personally, I think this makes sense. If they leave it on people, they are certainly going to use titles that they think are going to improve their search engine rankings and this sometimes triumphs over creating meaningful titles that actually represent what the web page or the blog post contains.

What can you do to stop Google from rewriting your web page titles?

Well, you can avoid doing things that makes Google rewrite your title. Here are a few things I would suggest:

  • Don’t go beyond the recommended title length – 60-70 characters including spaces.
  • Create meaningful titles that represent the body text of your web page or blog post. Don’t create titles just to improve your search engine rankings or to misrepresent the information.
  • Don’t repeat keywords in the title. Keep it to one keyword and one long tail keyword.
  • In the <h1> tag, use a headline or use the text that would also look good, relevant and meaningful as title text when it appears in search results.

These are just suggestions, and everybody is coming up with his or her own set of suggestions. It seems Google is still playing with this new change, and it will take some time before things settle down. Many people are complaining that weird titles are being created by Google. One person said that Google randomly picked a date from the web page and decided to include it in the title text.

My advice would be, create meaningful titles and stick to quality and relevance.

How to minimize the bounce rate on your blog

In case you’re wondering what’s bounce rate, it is the percentage of people leaving your blog (or website) after checking just a single link, and that too, within a few seconds.

High bounce rate is bad, low bounce rate is good.

You need to come up with ways to minimize the bounce rate on your blog. A low bounce rate is good for your conversion and your search engine rankings. I will explain how and why.

Initially when I started writing this post, I had intended to simply publish a couple of paragraphs and then link to another blog post from another website that originally seeded the idea in my mind.

But on second glance, that particular blog post is not written to add to the topic and in fact, most of the topics are a regurgitation of unrelated topics. Such blog posts increase the bounce rate.

In fact, I just discovered that I have written this blog post on a similar topic: How to improve your bounce rate with quality content writing.

Why is a low bounce rate important for your blog’s SEO?

As you have read above (or in the blog post I have linked above) your bounce rate is the ratio between the total number of people coming to your blog and the number of people leaving your blog immediately after arriving at the link, without visiting other sections.

Think about it from Google’s perspective.

The search engine user comes across your link for a particular search query, clicks it and comes to your blog.

She feels that the information she is looking for is not present on this link. She so disappointed that she doesn’t even try to check out the other sections of your blog.

She immediately comes back to Google and carries on with the search.

Google doesn’t solely want to depend on its search algorithms because its search engineers know that no matter how advanced the algorithms become, people who want to exploit the logic, sooner or later will.

But people’s response to your content cannot be cloned, and this is why, Google takes into account the response your content gets from its users.

When someone finds your link on Google and clicks it, Google tracks the behavior of the user. Currently your link has a particular ranking, let us say, it is on the fourth position of the second search result page, for a certain keyword or a search query.

The user comes back to Google within seconds and either tries out a different query or clicks other links.

This tells Google that the information she was looking for after using that particular keyword or search query, isn’t present on your link.

If multiple people do the same thing, Google concludes that your link doesn’t deserve its current rankings for that particular keyword or search term and consequently, lowers the rankings of that link.

It’s quite logical actually. If your link is not solving the problem for that particular search query, it doesn’t deserve to rank there.

Now, reverse the situation.

The search engine user uses a particular keyword or a search query and comes across your link on the second page at the fourth position.

She clicks the link and goes through the entire blog post. It takes at least a few minutes to read the blog post.

This tells Google that the content on that link is good enough to make her stay for some time.

She not just reads the content on the link, she also explores other links on your blog.

It tells Google that your blog contains useful information related to the search query used by her.

As a greater number of people show the same behavior, Google improves the rankings of that link for that particular keyword or search query.

Hence, the lower is the bounce rate for that link for the related keyword, the higher go its rankings.

A lower bounce rate is also important for your conversion.

The longer she stays on your blog, the greater is the chance that she may subscribe to your newsletter or check of the commercial section of your website or blog.

How to minimize your blog’s bounce rate?

Very simple. Deliver what you promise.

As explained above, why do people leave your blog immediately?

Because they were misled into visiting your blog.

They saw your title and clicked the link but when they came to your blog post, they realized that it’s not what they were looking for.

If this is not a one-off incident and there are multiple people who think that they have been misled (whether you are doing this intentionally or unintentionally), Google takes it as a high bounce rate and concludes that your link doesn’t deserve its current ranking for the related keyword or search query, and downgrades it.

Here are some steps you can take to minimize your blog’s bounce rate:

Provide specific answers to specific questions

In their pursuit to write long form content I have observed that many blog publishers try to cram as much information as possible in a single blog post.

In such cases, even when you have covered the topic mentioned in the title, it gets buried under extra details. Your readers are unable to find the exact piece of information they are looking for.

Google has tried to solve this problem at its own end: you must have observed that sometimes when you click a link, you are directly taken to the portion that gives you the answer for your query, and this portion is highlighted by a yellow marker.

But even for that to happen, you need to make sure that the answer exists in your blog post in such a manner that Google can locate it.

Long blog posts of 2000-4000 words have their importance, but you don’t always have to write them.

Sometimes you can write shorter blog posts that I trust to a particular question.

This will give you more satisfied visitors.

Write and publish blog posts catering to search intent

Since I have published multiple blog posts explaining search intent, for example, you can visit this blog post for a longer explanation – What is search intent and how knowing it improves your SEO – I won’t explain it again, but knowing the searcher intent of your visitors and then writing content accordingly, can bring down your bounce rate drastically.

In brief, search intent is the intention with which a search engine user uses a query.

She doesn’t always want to purchase from you. Sometimes she is looking for information.

When she finds out that instead of informing her, you are trying to sell something to her, she leaves immediately.

It can also be the opposite.

She wants to purchase something, but you go on and on educating her. She gets confused and leaves immediately.

Therefore, it is vital that you write and publish keeping search intent in mind.

Link to other blog posts from your existing blog post

Linking to other blog posts from your blog also saves you from creating duplicate content.

For example, in the above point, instead of explaining again what is search intent, I have simply hyperlinked to another blog post and if you want to know more about search intent, you can just go to that link.

This way, even if you’re unable to find what you’re looking for in the present blog post, maybe you will find the right information in the hyperlink.

Shorter paragraphs, smaller sentences, and headings

Simply put, make it easier to read your blog post. When people notice long strings of text going on and on, they feel intimidated and leave immediately.

Write in a conversational style. Write shorter sentences. Even if you want to express something complex, leave it for later.

Draw the reader in. Ask the right questions. Drop the right hints. Tantalize. Invoke interest.

If you can write three sentences out of a single, long sentence, do that.

Don’t have more than two sentences in a paragraph.

Organize different subtopics under different headings so that the reader can skim if she wants instead of reading everything, and still make sense of what you are saying.

In conclusion, minimizing your bounce rate or reducing it is crucial for not just improving your search engine rankings but also for improving your conversion rate.

It is not even difficult. Be truthful. Have a conversation with your reader. Sound enthusiastic. Provide short answers for short questions.

You don’t always need to show how much you know.

Sometimes, knowing enough to provide the right answer suffices.