RankBrain is one of Google’s tools for evaluating new sites and new searches. It’s a powerful algorithmic tool which can gauge the quality of a site’s pages. This is based upon various user qualities while visiting, such as: attentiveness, time spent on page (dwell time), and number of people visiting the page (click through rate, or CTR).
In order to rank in the top 10 organic search results, people need to spend on average over 3 minutes on your page. How can you do this?
Give People What They Want
SEO in 2019 is about humans, not the machine. You can do everything content-wise to get in that desired #1 spot, but if people are navigating away from your page too quickly, Google’s RankBrain notices. You’re not writing for some robot who can’t read. You’re writing so that actual humans will look upon your content with their real eyeballs. If you want to engage with users, write how you speak and not like a machine. Not only is longer text content important for SEO purposes, but people hitting your page will need something to read to keep them engaged. Fluff won’t help here either – you need quality, engaging content.
Be a Pro with Video
Text content isn’t the only way you can captivate your user to hit that three minute mark: emphasis on video content is only increasing with time. Although SEO “spiders” can’t view the video’s content, it still does wonders for user engagement and general SEO. Even if your visitor skips through the video, they’re still spending time on your page and clicking. From an SEO standpoint, embedding YouTube videos on your site will give you a boost on Google (YouTube is a Google property, and Google loves Google!) and your videos will also be found using the world’s 2nd largest search engine, YouTube. In addition, 55% of Google results contain at least one video and video is projected to make up 80% of online traffic by 2021.
Keep it Consistent
Be sure to make content consistent across platforms, especially across desktop and mobile. Many users will not be searching for you on their desktop computers. When a mobile user hits that version of your page, there should not be any obscured content. Don’t hide anything for mobile. Even if you’re just optimizing for mobile, the Mobile First Index will consider the mobile version of your site the primary version, the desktop being secondary. If there is content missing from your mobile display, you will come up short not only when Google decides to crawl your site, but also with your visitors. Make sure not to hide anything behind buttons or “read more” tags. Just like RankBrain views desktop versions of sites, it also prioritizes mobile sites that have a higher dwell time.
Be a Good Host
As with general SEO, sites and pages served over HTTPS are preferred for your user experience. Not only as a measure to get in good with Google, but visitors want to feel like they’re protected on your site. If a user hits that Google “insecure” screen, they’ll probably just click away, fearing for the health of their computer. There could even be some hesitation if they’re hitting the page and not seeing the little green padlock in the address bar. Who wants to risk their machine over a recipe or how-to guide? They’ll likely just find another site which meets their browsing standards. Sites and pages served over HTTPS also have more legitimacy via that security and are often well-established presences.
Don’t Keep Them Waiting
One of the other things to think about that’s often overlooked is your page load speed. Simply put, if users are having to wait for your content, every passing second gives them the opportunity to navigate away and try a different resource. You could be losing traffic – and dwell time – just based solely on your load speed.
Nothing is new under the search bar. We’ve seen SEO evolve over the years and it’s still just as important as ever. The means by which you can achieve a decent page ranking haven’t changed all that much, and are honestly pretty intuitive once you think about it. The pages that give users what they need straightaway are going to be the most effective, well-ranked pages. The more users engage and the more time spent, the better that page ranks. We just need to think more like RankBrain.
Want to learn more about improving your SEO? Download our SEO checklist today.