Think with Google recently published their:

Think with Google’s 10 most-read articles of 2019

and I decided to take a look.  Right off the bat, they share how internally the stakeholders in the companies who represent what they say include 7000 websites that Google even uses to increase visibility.  They say they actually use SEO to increase their own presence on their own search engine (and potentially across others like Bing, Yahoo and and Ask.  Given that Bing is increasing their search engine market share, Google probably does need to pay attention to their own SEO (or Microsoft’s version of it).

Nevertheless, the folks internally (or at least the author who is a “Website Optimization” expert within Google) share(s) their top tips for the many website owners and individuals who are out there optimizing their websites for maximum search engine visibility.  We decided to share some of their tips, a link to the post and some extra resources you may not have known about that can add to this basic primer on SEO — from the horse’s mouth!

3 SEO Strategies from Google (Summary)

(we’ll share the initial part of each piece of advice and you can go here to read the rest)

1. For big SEO results, start small

In the post, they talk about how their Google My Business marketing site grew 200% in organic traffic because they implemented fundamental website practices including leveraging canonicals.

If you don’t know what canonicalization for web pages, think of multiple pages having the same content.  You might not realize it, but your website might have different versions of the same page in secure, unsecure or other forms.  In order for Google to give you maximum credit for the page you want to show up, you need to tell it through the canonical tag.  Read the guide from the link above around the term or this link to their webmaster’s central blog explaining it even further (canonicals).

The guide above re: “fundamental website practices” is also a good read.  In short, they say you need to provide “delightful website experiences” that are:

  • Fast
  • Integrated (with the device the user accesses the site)
  • Reliable
  • Engaging

Here’s the graph they prove to you that they grew their presence with some simple practices:

Google My Business marketing site, for example, saw a near 2X increase in organic traffic

2. Don’t be scared of changes — embrace them

This advice will also be the subject of some of the advice we feel (after almost 2 decades of SEO experience) would be good for you too. Google’s internal teams tell us that we need to tackle the new (and somewhat complicated) worlds of AMP, Progressive Web Apps, and structured data. If you haven’t heard about these, you should jump into them right away!

They said that by fixing search console errors by implementing structured data and adding AMP to the Think with Google site, they received massive organic benefits.  They fixed one common AMP error which increased impressions by 200% and an enhancement to their content leveraging these got them to show up in a featured snippet adding 1000 extra impressions a day.

Another graph providing their point:

rich snippets and fixing amp error helped think with gogle

3. Where possible, consolidate

Lastly, Google tells you to focus on less.  If you do, you should see improvements.  It’s definitely a point that I think many sages would tell you applies to almost every arena.  Nevertheless, they remind us of this (despite having 7000 websites across the company).  They give an example they focused a bit more for Google Retail and it increased organic traffic by 64%.

Here’s their graph: google retail improves by focusing efforts

For the specific piece online they talk about all of these items in more detail, click here.

And the other 9 articles they identified as the most read are:

3 Additional Free SEO Tips from Seattle Organic SEO

Since Google was doling out the free advice recently, we thought we would do the same.  Frankly, we could charge quite a bit for these tips, but sharing is caring, right?

Pay attention to the real estate in SERPs

If you haven’t noticed yet, the search engine results pages are changing.  If you don’t know what I mean, simply check out the search for “the avengers.”  Historically, there were simply text results, but in this very impressive set of results for the popular cinema experience, you have a smorgasbord of different types of results.

avengers endgame FULL serp

If you were an SEO trying to optimze websites to show up for these searches, you need to know how each of them work.  As a movie website, how do I get into the showtimes?  As a video channel owner, how do I get my YouTube videos to show up in the first 3 results? If you’re in the industry, you would probably realize that building a wikipedia article for a new movie is almost essential given that the knowledge graph on the right will be fed most likely from the wikipedia article.  If not, you had better know what else might fill in that space.  From our experiences with all the thousands of websites we’ve worked on or seen, the knowledge graph obtains significant traffic. In essence, you NEED to keep up with these elements.  And if you don’t know anything about them, learn!

Moz and SEMRush both do a good job talking about the different “SERP Features.”

And if you’re wanting to keep up with how much each of these different features are invading our search results, they both also monitor the changes:

SEO Requires more complementary channels than ever

The age old question of “does doing Google Ads help our organic performance?” is on the minds of many of our clients.  And nobody will be able to prove 110% that spending more on the main product that feeds ABC’s stock will help you organically, but we know it can.  If you look at all the top spenders out there on the Internet, you’ll see a correlation.

Now, is there a 1:1 relationship between what’s spent and what’s garnered in terms of organic value?  We know that is NOT necessarily true.  However, how about over an extended period of time?

Candidly, the main aspect to understand is that when you send your website somewhat artificial traffic through Google Ads, you give yourself a chance to have “engagement.”  And Google DOES keep track of that & it has been documented to help SEO.  As a result, the spend can definitely help improve your visibility.  Obviously, there are many other factors and if your website is scaring people away that are NOT “delightful website experiences,” well, you are potentially just throwing money away.

Not only will spending more on Google Ads potentially help your SEO, but the signals from Social Media.  Obviously, if your email marketing is strong, you can also encourage people to search and then ideally click on your site (if they can find it) and as a result, email can also play a significant role.  Basically, you should be thinking much more than just your efforts on maximizing the signals of your website because these other channels will help in so many ways.

No pain, no gain

It’s obvious, but very few website owners (and honestly, business owners) are willing to play the long game.  On top of that, they don’t realize that SEO is incredibly challenging, but can REAP HUGE rewards.  As the Think with Google pieces state, 50% of the traffic of MANY websites come from SEO.  Take a look at the top properties on the web like:

Wikipedia’s Marketing Channels

wikipedia's digital marketing channels

Amazon’s Marketing Channels

amazons digital marketing channels

*Note: the direct would be NOwhere if it weren’t for the YEARS of dedication to SEO and paid search marketing.

Internet Movie Database’s Marketing Channels

imdb's digital marketing channels

We didn’t provide Facebook’s organic traffic because it would be partially misleading, but the site that’s one of the most highly trafficked sites in the world still garners close to 11% of their traffic through organic sources.  And on the way to their 80%+ direct traffic, they need google to ironically help them.  As we’ve reported regularly, but “facebook” is the #1 searched term in the world (even if it’s considered a navigational term).  There are still many searching for “facebook login” and the like.

Even though we’ve mostly just talked about all the gains, YOU MUST do SO many things including our 1st and 2nd set of tips to truly gain all the benefits that these monsters in in the dotcom world have become.  It’s the same with many other rising companies like a car company I profile in a Medium post here.  (if you don’t have a medium login, you might be able to get the initial portion on LinkedIn here)

Nevertheless, you have to be willing to take the BIG bite and swallow the medicine that’s needed to reap these benefits.  We’re happy to explain some of the MANY tasks we need to help sites grow their visibility.

In the meantime, here are some SEO resources as well from either the aforementioned post or we think might be useful for you on your SEO journey:

If you want more, give us a call and we would be happy to help you with our empirically proven strategies. Obviously, there might be a cost for dedicated services, but we’re also happy to meet new people as well. Give us a call at (206) 309-5033 anytime!

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