Top 10 SEO Gurus to Follow on Twitter


Everyone has a mentor, no matter what state in your career you are in. Perhaps you’re a new startup owner that needs some internet marketing help, perhaps you’re a blossoming SEO analyst, or maybe you’re an SEO expert that’s been around the block…

Either way, it’s good to check out what others in the industry are saying about Local, Link-Building, Content marketing, PPC, and all the other disciplines across SEO. Alphametic has curated a list of Top 10 SEO Gurus for 2018 that will ensure you’re always up to date.

1. Barry Schwartzbarry schwartz twitter


When it comes to essential reading, anything written by this guru is a must. Barry Schwartz is the CEO of RustyBrick, a web service firm. He is also the executive editor of Search Engine Roundtable, an advanced SEO forum for all the search geeks out there. He’s always on top of the latest Google news and can be seen posting on twitter regularly about different algorithm updates or sharing some of the seemingly hundreds of articles he posts every day.


URL: RustyBrick

Twitter: @rustybrick

Recent Post: Google Search Algorithm Shifts Around September 19th?


2. Bill Slawksi

bill slawski twitter

Bill has been in the business since 1996. He’s truly a veteran of the space and has been writing about SEO for decades. He is the founder of SEO By the Sea, as well as an administrator of Cre8asite Forums, one of the best forums about internet marketing and search engine marketing. He regularly contributes articles to Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Land as an expert.


URL: SEO by the Sea

Twitter: @bill_slawski

Recent Post: Quality Scores for Queries: Structured Data, Synthetic Queries and Augmentation Queries


3. Julie Joyce

julie joyce twitter

If you need some help building links, Julie’s your go-to. Julie Joyce is the Founder of Link Fish, a link-building agency based out of North Carolina. She has been working in SEO since 2002 and is a co-founder of the SEO Chicks blog. Nowadays she’s a monthly columnist at Search Engine Land and Director of Operations at Link Fish Media.


URL: Link Fish Media

Twitter: @JulieJoyce

Recent Post: Why isn’t my fabulous content attracting quality links?



4. Mike Blumenthal

mike blumenthal twitter

“All local, all the time. What else is there?” Mike Blumenthal is all about Local SEO. He is a leading industry-expert in this space and is the Chief Review Officer of  Gather Up, a business review site he founded with Don Campbell & Thomas Hasch. He runs the “Understanding Google Maps & Local Search” blog and is constantly shedding new light into the Local SEO world. He has over 30 years working with computers and in the internet space.  


URL: Gather Up

Twitter: @mblumenthal

Recent Post: What Percentage Of Verified Businesses Use Google Posts?



5. Neil Patel

neil patel twitter

No guru list would be complete without Neil Patel. With a blog that generates over 2 million users per month, it’s not hard to see why. He is a leading industry-expert in everything digital marketing. SEO, content, PPC, social and more. He is the Co-founder of KISSmetrics, Quicksprout, Crazy Egg and Neil Patel Digital.



Twitter: @neilpatel

Recent Post: The Secret Behind My 1,866,913 Monthly Search Visitors (It’s Not What You Think)



6. Tim Soulo

tim soulo twitter

Tim Soulo is the head of marketing and product strategy at Ahrefs, you know, that tool every single SEO uses? He consistently publishes research studies on the Ahrefs blog about keyword research, backlinking, and other studies with titles like “What we learned about’Long Tail’ by analyzing 1.4 billion keywords”. He speaks at SEO conferences, podcasts and runs the Ahrefs Youtube channel.



Twitter: @timsoulo

Recent Post: How Many New Backlinks Do Top‐ranking Pages Get Over Time [New Data by Ahrefs]



7. Brian Dean

brian dean twitter

As is evidenced by his company name, Backlinko, Brian Dean is an SEO-driven backlink guru. He’s become known for publishing high-quality blog content that is incredibly well-researched, data-driven and practical.  He’s worked with companies such as Disney, IBM, Amazon and more, as well as multiple founded many online sites.


URL: Backlinko

Twitter: @Backlinko

Recent Post: The Ultimate SEO Audit [Works GREAT in 2018]


8. Aleyda Solis

aleyda solis twitter

Aleyda has positioned herself in the vital space of International SEO. Aleyda Solis recently won the 2018 European Search Personality of the Year award and has been featured in the Huffington Post, as well as the Google Partner’s Podcast. She consistently puts out blog content and speaks at conferences all around the world sharing her experience and expert advice on global search marketing.


URL:  Aleyda Solis

Twitter: @aleyda

Recent Post: Avoiding Hreflang Issues by Following a 6 Steps Implementation Process


9. Dr. Pete Myers

dr pete twitter

Moz in itself is an authority on SEO, but Dr. Pete Myers brings the data to the table. He’s got a PH.D in Cognitive Psychology, so he knows his way around statistics. He is regularly publishing research studies with topics like: “New Research: 35% of Competitive Local Keywords Have Local Pack Ads” and the like. If you want a data-driven perspective to a new Google algorithm or a recommendation based on quantitative studies – he’s your guy.


URL: Dr. Pete

Twitter: @dr_pete

Recent Post: NEW On-Demand Crawl: Quick Insights for Sales, Prospecting, & Competitive Analysis


10. Jim Boykin

jim boykin twitter

Good old Jim – he’s been around since 1999 spreading his internet marketing knowledge. He is the founder and CEO of Internet Marketing Ninjas based in New York. He’s been featured in Forbes, the Examiner and has been recognized as a Top 40 Leader Under 40 by the Business Review. He specializes in Link Building, SEO, Blogging, Social Media Marketing and pretty much every other internet marketing specialization.


URL: Internet Marketing Ninjas

Twitter: @jimboykin

Recent Post: The Google Featured Snippet Optimization Tool by Ninjas.


11. (BONUS): Matthew Capala 😉

matthew capala twitter

We didn’t include Matt in the original top 10 list because he’s the CEO of Alphametic, but he’s definitely a person to follow for updates on the going on’s in the SEO world. He has been in the industry for over 12 years, written an SEO guidebook called “SEO Like I’m 5” and taught digital marketing at NYU. He’s a regular speaker at SEO & digital marketing conferences and offers SEO training courses for small and large businesses.


URL: Alphametic

Twitter: @searchdecoder

Recent Post: State of Search for 2019 According to Google’s Gary Illyes


That’s all folks! This list is by no means complete, there are many SEO experts out there that are putting out great content, but we wanted to keep this list to 10 gurus to start building your resource list. 

Alphametic has created a Twitter list called “Top SEO Gurus” which includes all these influencers. Follow @alphametic and subscribe to this list to get a curated feed of the best SEO content out there. If you have any suggestions for SEO gurus to add, tweet us your pick! 

For more curated lists, check out our 8 Digital Marketing Books to Read in 2018.

State of Search for 2019 According to Google’s Gary Illyes

State of Search

It’s not every day that Gary Illyes comes to your backyard.

For those of you who don’t know who Gary Illyes is, you can scour through pages of Twitter debates, blog articles and speaker event announcements to see that he has been an important resource to SEO’s everywhere for years.

In fact, Barry Schwartz gives updates on Search Engine Watch every once in a while that feature Gary:


Just last week, he gave a “ State of Search “ presentation through the South Florida Interactive Marketing Association, where he gave a high-level overview of what the SEO landscape will look like in 2019. If you want to validate your current strategies, or are looking for some info, read on ahead:

Good URL’s are Critical

This may seem like a no-brainer, but bad URL structure has actually been trending UP in recent years at Google. Proper URL structures not only inform search engines what your page is about, but it helps click-throughs indirectly by informing the user what value they’ll get from your page. Specifically, Gary called out not to use the paralx (#) URLs (unless they are meant for “scrolling”) instead of creating unique URLs.

Here’s a good example of a URL:

Here’s a bad example:


Yes, canonicalize. Here’s a definition from Moz:

“A canonical tag (aka “rel canonical”) is a way of telling search engines that a specific URL represents the master copy of a page. Using the canonical tag prevents problems caused by identical or “duplicate” content appearing on multiple URLs. Practically speaking, the canonical tag tells search engines which version of a URL you want to appear in search results.”

This is not only useful for avoiding duplicate content, but it’s just plain old useful. It effectively organizes your site pages and allows you to present Google with a neatly thought out binder with dividers-galore, versus a bulky, disorganized mess of un-related papers (or site pages) that are crammed into a binder titled “My Website”.

HTTPS is a Must

This one has been well-known in the SEO community for a while, but it’s worth repeating. Switching your site to HTTPS is not only on the top of any good SEO practice handbook – it’s also good for the user.

HTTPS increases security by encrypting any data passed between a web server and your browser. Without the encryption, you’re more vulnerable to interception of a third-party system, which can then view your data. This is why Google has not only recommended webmasters switch their sites to HTTPS, but has made it a ranking signal.

Make Internal Linking a Habit

It is very difficult for a page to rank on Google without internal links. Internal links give Google an idea about your website hierarchy, and also allows you to place more value to pages that you want to boost in rankings by linking them within your site in strategic places.

Meta Descriptions Matter (but not so much the characters)

While meta descriptions are not a direct ranking signal, they INDIRECTLY help page ranks by increasing click-throughs to your page from SERPs. The question all SEO’s ask is not whether to utilize meta descriptions – it’s how long they should be.

According to Gary, it doesn’t matter.

(I know, shocking) Google will take parts of your meta description it likes, or it may skip it altogether and grab a snippet from your actual page for the description. Regardless, creating an optimized meta description that is enticing, and relevant will increase the likelihood that your meta description will be used by Google.

Despite Gary’s statement, Moz has a study that shows that the cut off for most meta descriptions across Google cut off between the 145-165 range.

Always Use Page Titles

We already know this is a critical piece of Meta Data, but how often do we ignore this? Many large sites have automated page titles that can be lackluster. While it may not be possible to give every single page a keyword-targeted, strategized, stellar page title, it’s worth it to choose your top pages and carefully plan out their titles.

A good page title will be informative to the user, will include your target keyword, and ALWAYS be relevant to the page itself.

Use Alt Text Within Reason

Gary’s main point in this section of the talk was to always use alt text – within reason. If you’re using it as an opportunity to stuff keywords into the page, then you’re using it out of reason. The purpose of alt text is to describe the contents of an image, so if Google sees a lot of keyword stuffing across your alt text it may raise some red flags.

Use Ads Reasonably

Nobody likes interstitial content. Marketers may like it, but users can live without it. If your pop-up ads are blocking the main content of the page (especially on mobile), Google is going to flag your page.

The reasoning is that it gives a bad user experience. Pro tip: don’t keep your users away from the content they want.

Page Speed, Page Speed, Page Speed!

If you haven’t been optimizing your site speed – you’re probably behind the competition.

This is one of the top 3 ranking factors announced by Google. It’s in your best interest to use tools like Page Speed Insights, or the one Gary recommends, Lighthouse, to increase your site speed.

One of the methods he mentioned was “Lazy Loading”. Here’s a description of lazy loading by Stackpath:

“Instead of bulk loading all of the content when the page is accessed, content can be loaded when the user accesses a part of the page that requires it. With lazy loading, pages are created with placeholder content which is only replaced with actual content when the user needs it.”

Structured Data

Gary spent a LOT of time speaking to this. One of the most overlooked aspects of SEO. Use structured where it makes sense.

To be honest, many of these things are already well-known within the SEO community. But it’s nice to hear it validated by the likes of Gary Illyes. The State of Search in 2018 – and going into 2019 -is all about the user, put out great content, and you’ll get returns.

If you want to read about recent Google updates, check out our SEO Trends 2018 post.

Are You Taking Advantage of the New Extended and Responsive Google Ads?

google ads trend update

New Extended and Responsive Ads

Google recently introduced further extending text ads by adding a third, 30-character headline, attached to the first two headlines, along with a second, 90-character description. This comes at the heels of Google announcing their “360 Suite” where we saw Google Adwords get a rebrand. This allows us, as the advertiser, to more prominently feature exciting benefits to the consumer with added messaging that enhances overall quality. Advertisers now have the flexibility to communicate added messaging like the brand name in the first headline, official site or similar in the second headline, and a third benefit, like free shipping or an offer for discounted orders online.

Google also announced the launch of responsive text ads, which combine an ad in real-time from a list of up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions…we’ll discuss this in more detail below.

google ads 3rd headline example

Benefits of Increased Ad Size and Additional Messaging

Expanded text ads, along with ad extensions, like site links and call extensions, work in synergy to increase overall ad size and perceived value in the SERP. Google’s case studies are evidence for increased performance – praising expanded text ads for helping to increase user engagement through higher click-through rates and increases in other key performance metrics. With a further increase in ad size and messaging, Google’s expansion to additional messaging in ads creates more weight to paid ads displaying prominently. It’s a bullseye for brands looking to literally be front and center at the top of the SERPs.

Smart Performance With Responsive Machine Learning

Google’s exciting announcement is the launch of new responsive text ads. Responsive text ads answer the machine learning puzzle that has become more integrated with Google’s automated algorithms throughout the years.

With responsive ads, the advertiser now has the flexibility to add up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions for a single ad. Google suggests, “for a responsive search ad, provide as many headlines and descriptions as makes sense for your business. If you’re having trouble getting started, we recommend focusing on creating at least five headlines.”

Machine learning is designed to predict which ad combination in real-time will result in higher performance for a matched search query.
The recommendation from Google is for every ad group to have at least 3 ads, including a responsive search ad to accommodate and increase the likelihood that you’ll have a winning combination between all variant ads, headlines, and descriptions.

Responsive ads are a win-win for the advertiser and searcher. They provide freshness through instantaneous Ad combinations to the eyes of return visitors familiar with the brand and new visitors alike that are “window shopping” at leisure in the SERP.

Best practices from Google

google search ads best practices(Source: Google Blog)

Tips for entering your headlines

• Keep in mind that headlines and descriptions may appear in any order.
• Try writing the first 3 headlines as if they’ll appear together in your ad.
• Be sure to include at least one of your keywords in your headlines, and create headlines that are relevant to the keywords you’re targeting.
• Try creating headlines of different lengths; don’t try to maximize the character count in every headline.
• Focus on providing as many distinct headlines as you can. More headlines give Google Ads more options for assembling your messages into relevant ads, which may increase performance.
• Try highlighting additional product or service benefits, a problem you’re solving, or highlight shipping and returns information. Learn more about creating responsive search ads
• If you can provide even more headlines, try creating variations of the headlines you’ve already entered. For example, try a different call to action.

With more Google Ad options your PPC Ads can become more sophisticated and targeted to your consumers. What do you think about these new changes?

If you want to read about more Google Updates, check out our 2018 SEO Google Trends post.

Global Search Engine Market Share for 2018 in the Top 15 GDP Nations

global searche ngine market share infographic

Evaluating your International SEO efforts sometimes involves stepping out of the Google bubble. In this post, we’ll share the percentage of market penetration of individual search engines across the top 15 GDP countries.


Our Methodology:

A list of the 15 nations with the largest nominal GDPs in the world (as of 2018) was compiled. StatCounter was then utilized to calculate the percentage of search engine market penetration within those nations. The resulting percentages were rounded to the nearest tenth and the top 5-6 search engines were reported.


According to the web analytics service, StatCounter, its tracking code is installed on more than 2 million sites globally. “These sites cover various activities and geographic locations. Every month, we record billions of page views to these sites. For each page view, we analyze the browser/operating system/screen resolution used and we establish if the page view is from a mobile device. For our search engine stats, we analyze every page view referred by a search engine…No artificial weightings are used. We remove bot activity and make a small adjustment to our browser stats for prerendering in Google Chrome. Aside from those adjustments, we publish the data as we record it.” – StatCounter FAQ


We chose not to utilize ComScore for this exercise, which uses a different tracking methodology, relying more on user panels. ComScore data shows higher market shares for Bing/Yahoo! in the US.



Within the United States Google continues to lead the pack, with a 16% increase since 2010. Bing and Yahoo make up the majority of the resulting percentages with a combined approximate 12% of market share. Although, compared to the other nations on this list, Google has a higher penetration in 9 other countries. In China, Google makes up a measly 1.5% of market share with search engine Baidu taking the lion’s share at 70%. In fact, Google places 4th after Shenma, Haosou and Sogou. Yahoo! continues to demonstrate a strong presence in Japan.


If Eastern Europe is a strong market for your brand, make sure to pay attention to Yandex, which is the search engine market leader in Russia, although Google has a 45% search market share as the 2nd highest. Nonetheless, with over 90% market share, Google dominates the search engine landscape in most of the top GDP nations in the world, including India, Germany, Mexico, Spain, Brazil, Italy and Australia.


When you’re thinking globally, Google is a great start. But, depending on your market, you might find that you need to pivot your SEO efforts into a different search engine altogether, such as Bing, Baidu, or Yandex, to capture the largest amount of traffic. Use the data below as a reference when determining your next global SEO strategy.


1. United States

Google: 87.28%

Bing: 6.91%

Yahoo!: 4.65%

DuckDuckGo: 0.59%

MSN: 0.21%

Other: 0.36%


2. China

Baidu: 70.26%%

Shenma: 19%

Haosou: 4.26%

Sogou: 3.71%

Google: 1.47%

Other: 0.98%


3. Japan

Google: 70.31%

Yahoo!: 24.03%

Bing: 4.78%

Baidu: 0.58%

DuckDuckGo: 0.1%

Naver: 0.06%


4. Germany

Google: 93.31%

Bing: 4.49%

Yahoo!: 1.03%

DuckDuckGo: 0.51%

t-Online: 0.24%

Yandex: 0.14%


5. United Kingdom

Google: 89.67%

Bing: 7.24%

Yahoo!: 2.27%

DuckDuckGo: 0.49%

Yandex: 0.09%

MSN: 0.06%


6. India

Google: 97.35%

Bing: 1.68%

Yahoo!: 0.91%

DuckDuckGo: 0.04%

Baidu: 0.01%


7. France

Google: 91.15%

Bing: 5.07%

Yahoo!: 1.92%

DuckDuckGo: 0.83%

Qwant: 0.56%

Yandex: 0.35%


8. Brazil

Google: 96.37%

Bing: 2.02%

Yahoo!: 1.51%

DuckDuckGo: 0.06%

Baidu: 0.02%

Yandex: 0.01%


9. Italy

Google: 94.81%

Bing: 3.52%

Yahoo!: 1.17%

DuckDuckGo: 0.15%

Arianna: 0.14%

Yandex: 0.12%


10. Canada

Google: 90.85%

Bing: 5.64%

Yahoo!: 2.49%

DuckDuckGo: 0.54%

Yandex: 0.22%

Baidu: 0.13%


11. South Korea

Google: 84.41%

Bing: 4.84%

Baidu: 4.84%

Shenma: 2.42%

Yandex: 1.88%

Yahoo!: 0.81%


12. Russia

Yandex: 51.08%

Google: 45.27% 2.12%

Bing: 0.57%

Yahoo!: 0.48%

Baidu: 0.25%


13. Australia

Google: 93.16%

Bing: 5.12%

Yahoo!: 0.6%

Baidu: 0.48%

DuckDuckGo: 0.35%

MSN: 0.11%


14. Spain

Google: 95.11%

Bing: 3.4%

Yahoo!: 1.26%

DuckDuckGo: 0.15%

Yandex: 0.02%

Baidu: 0.02%


15. Mexico

Google: 95.27%

Bing: 3.23%

Yahoo!: 1.39%

DuckDuckGo: 0.05%

MSN: 0.02%

Ask Jeeves: 0.01%


Want more statistics? Check out 18 Eye-Opening SEO Statistics to Prove the Value of Organic Search.

8 Voice Search Statistics That are too Crazy to Ignore

8 voice search stats to crazy to ignore banner


Voice search is still being developed to be as robust and intelligent as the examples we see in our favorite Sci-Fi flicks. (Maybe one day we’ll all have our own C-3PO’s sarcastically helping us through our daily tasks). The SEO world is still trying to figure out how to optimize for this new technology, but in the meantime, here are some statistics about what we’re already experiencing with voice search and how it’s affecting the market:

1 in 6 Americans now own a Smart Speaker (Source: TechCrunch)

Google reports over X million units in circulation between Alexa and Google Home in December 2017. Apple and Samsung are going to be releasing their own voice speaker in 2018.

voice search statistic 1

40% of adults now use voice search once per day (Source: Branded3)


This is a MASSIVE number of people utilizing voice search. It speaks to the mobile nature of our lives and our willingness to incorporate technology into our lives.

voice search statistic 2

By 2020, 50 percent of all searches will be voice searches (Source: ComScore)


Is it that hard to believe? This number probably includes both voice searches on smart speakers, as well as laptops, phones and other devices. This has large implications not only for consumers but for marketers and all businesses alike.

voice search statistic 3

Google’s AI read over 2,865 romance novels in order to improve its conversational search abilities (Source: BuzzFeed News)


This is an interesting behind-the-scenes-tidbit to the making of this technology. Google is attempting to make AI seem more human…maybe one day we’ll all have personal besties instead of personal assistants.

voice search statistic 4

Voice commerce was a $1.8 billion retail segment in the U.S. in 2017 and $200 million in the U.K (Source:


The voice search market is past its early adopter phase and is entering the early majority phase.

voice search statistic 5

20 percent of mobile queries are voice searches (Source: Google)


1/5th of people with mobile phones speak to their devices instead of typing. Sometimes, it’s just easier to ask than to type!

voice search statistic 6

Mobile voice-related searches are 3X more likely to be local-based than text (Source: Search Engine Watch)


When we’re on the go, we’re probably looking for something local on the fly. A coffee shop nearby, the nearest ATM or a parking lot. Whatever it is, we’re asking our phones to find it for us.

voice search statistic 7

72% of people who own a voice-activated speaker say their devices are often used as part of their daily routine (Source: Think With Google)


Speaking to our devices have become ingrained in our day-to-day lives. There are a million ways we can use help throughout the day and we’re using voice search to get it.

voice search statistic 8

How does Voice Search affect your day to day life?

Voice Search SEO Playbook: How to Optimize for Siri, Alexa and Cortana

voice search seo playbook featured image

What is Voice Search and Why Should you Care in 2018?


It seems a bit silly to define voice search, but we practice what we preach here at Alphametic, so we’re going to optimize for voice search here and now:

“Voice search is a speech recognition technology that allows a user to speak a search query into a device.”


On the off chance Google rewards us an answer box snippet for that definition (we can hope, right?), this brings us to the WHY. Why do marketers, especially SEO’s, need to pay attention to when it comes to this here-to-stay trend? Is there anything we CAN do? Let’s dig into this.


Voice Search Statistics


Here are some voice search statistics to visualize the current state of affairs:

  • 1 in 6 Americans now own a Smart Speaker (Source: TechCrunch)
  • 40% of adults now use voice search once per day  (Source: Branded3)
  • By 2020, 50 percent of all searches will be voice searches (Source: ComScore)
  • Google’s AI read over 2,865 romance novels in order to improve its conversational search abilities (Source: BuzzFeed News)
  • Voice commerce was a $1.8 billion retail segment in the U.S. in 2017 and $200 million in the U.K.  (Source:
  • 20 percent of mobile queries are voice searches (Source: Google)
  • Mobile voice-related searches are 3X more likely to be local-based than text (Source: Search Engine Watch)
  • 72% of people who own a voice-activated speaker say their devices are often used as part of their daily routine. (Source: Think With Google)

The world is undoubtedly adapting to voice search. It’s not a matter of whether you SHOULD  adapt your SEO strategy to voice search, it’s HOW.

…but hold on, is adapting necessary? According to this article by Ian Lurie, it seems to suggest that voice search isn’t as large of a disruption as we may be making it out to be. And the fact that Google and Amazon have not given companies the option to advertise using these platforms suggests that voice search is more about the user experience more than anything else versus brands trying to get out a message to consumers.

In my opinion, SEO optimization is not mutually exclusive to optimal user experience. There are a few SEO strategies that lend themselves to voice search which we can leverage.

And the best part, it’s mostly things we already SHOULD be doing.  First, let’s take a look at how voice search is different than traditional search and then we can look at some tactics. Here we go:


How Does Voice Search affect SEO?


People Speak Differently Than They Type

According to Neil Patel in reference to voice search:

“No longer do you need to solely rely on using keywords inside your content a certain number of times. It’s all about natural language and the intended meaning behind the searcher’s query, rather than the query itself.”

Every since Googles Hummingbird update, semantic search has been an integral part of our search engine experience and is what made voice search possible. Whereas once we would’ve had to type in more exact phrases, such as “South America news 2017” to get this:

google voice search example 1


We can now type in the search query “What happened in South America in 2017” and it understands the inference – that we want to look at news coverage of important events, without having to type in the words, “news”, or “news sites”, or “newspaper” into the search box.

google voice search query example 2

For a search engine, this once might have been a directionless query, but it now understands my intention of wanting to look at important news coverage it and so served me results of major news sites with articles specific to that region

Because of this more natural, conversational tone, it’s to the benefit of webmasters and SEO’s everywhere to take a look at the language on their sites and see if their main pages fulfill their user’s intent by communicating in easy to understand, natural language.


Voice Search Will Give You One Answer, as Opposed to 8-10 Blue Links

Here’s the clincher. If you’re using a Google Home, or an Alexa echo, you’re only going to get one search result read back to you. There’s no ranking 2nd, 3rd or 4th. You must be the BEST result for that user’s command.

The interesting thing here is that according to a study done by Brian Dean from Backlinko:

Content that ranks highly in desktop search is also very likely to appear as a voice search answer. In fact, approximately 75% of voice search results rank in the top 3 for that query.”

So, although screenless voice search only gives you 1 result, when it comes to the Google Home, it can potentially choose between the first 3 top results, not always THE top result.

This is important to understand since it paints a more realistic picture of what’s happening. Although there is an objective winner when it comes to Googles algorithm when not taking into account personalization, the reality is, Google ALWAYS takes into account location, past search history and other factors when serving you a result. So, although you may not be number 1 for a search query, you might still make it into an individual’s top results.


There are 4 Main Intents With Voice Search (and Search in General)

Back in 2015, Google gave us some great insights into rising consumer search behaviors and coined them “micro-moments” in the online customer journey.

Essentially, these are 4 main intentions individuals have when searching online: when they want to know something, when they want to go somewhere, when they want to do something or when they want to buy something.

google micro moments voice search

As a business, you should be particularly interested in the “I-want-to-buy-moments”, but all of these moments are opportunities to lead a user through the customer journey. In fact, searches on mobile with the word “best” have grown over 80% between 2015 and 2017. In other words, people searching “best restaurants in X city” or “best moisturizer for dry skin” for example, increased dramatically once users understood that Google had the capability to serve them accurate results.

With the rise of voice search, your SEO efforts should focus on these search behaviors and “micro-moments” that are deeply entrenched in consumer’s minds. And with that in mind, let’s dig a little deeper.

Next, we’ll discuss some practical SEO strategies to position yourself to be discovered through voice search where it makes sense for your business.


What SEO Strategies Can You Use to Rank on Voice Search?


Find Opportunities to Rank for an Answer Box Snippet

This is something that most SEO’s are already doing, but it takes on a new dimension in voice search SEO. According to this study by Backlinko, 40.7% of voice search responses came from a Featured Snippet.

That feature typically gives a user a quick and simple answer to any query, so it makes sense that Google Home would be populating its answers from the algorithm for Featured Snippets. If you see an opportunity to become Position 0, it’s likely that you can also be a voice search query answer for that topic.


Tighten Up Your Local SEO

Google My Business is a huge source of information for people searching for local businesses. If you have your Google My Business listing fully optimized and up to date with current information, you’re giving it every chance to be an option on someone’s voice search results.

google local search query voice search

Place Schema on Your Top Pages

Although schema doesn’t seem to have a large correlation between its use and being the answer to a Google voice search, the purpose of on-page schema is to give Google a better picture of what your page is supposed to represent.

Ths is especially crucial in the ecommerce space when Google search results can expose your brand to a new customer. It doesn’t hurt to help Google understand the purpose of your page more clearly.


Optimize for the Long-Tail

As mentioned a bit earlier, individuals are using more natural language in their voice queries. This is a ripe opportunity for long-tail keywords with high search intent (and high commercial intent).

Let’s say you’re a company that sells French Press coffee machines. You have a great post on your blog that goes through the brewing times and temperatures for different coffee types that can be utilized for a great cup of Joe in your French Press. Someone interested in the French Press method of brewing is possibly searching for different brewing methods.

In the Google search bar you might type in “How to Brew French Press”

But on a voice search, you might say “How to Correctly Brew Coffee in a French Press”

This an opportunity for you to not only appear on results, but if the user if using a Google Home or Alexa and they’re not in front of a screen, you can optimize headlines for short answers to common questions that may be asked in a voice search.


If You Haven’t Already, Optimize for Mobile

Not to beat a dead horse, but mobile optimization is key to everything. 20% of people conduct voice searches on mobile, so the more mobile-friendly your business is, the more opportunity to land on a voice search answer.

This means fast page speeds, responsive web designs, easy and simple UX, AMP pages, and of course, great content.



Yes, Bing. Many search marketers utilize PPC on Bing since it is the search engine with the 2nd largest market share in the U.S. But, the most relevant reason why Bing is important for Voice search SEO? – Alexa uses bing as her search engine.

The current top players in the world in the voice search market are Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa, with Alexa taking the lead by a landslide. Alexa has over 39 million units in circulation or 69% of the market. Google Home currently has 14 million units at 31% of the market.

This is one of the few areas where Bing has managed to one-up Google for years, so optimize for Bing and don’t forget it under the shadow of the Google behemoth.

voice search market share


And Finally, Relax.

At the end of the day the concept is the same, ranking for targeted keywords and getting to the top of SERP’s. A lot of these strategies are already well-established best practices in SEO, so keep following best practices and make a few tweaks if it makes sense for your business. The landscape is competitive, but not impossible. Set your goals, track your progress and keep up the good work. I’ll leave with this great quote by Bradley Shaw:

“People are not afraid of the machine anymore, they have gone beyond a period of discomfort and hesitance and into a place of comfort and instantaneous gratification. When we consider the full scope of voice search, we eventually break it down to a consumer being able to gratify a search need without ever having to pull away from decorating the Christmas tree.

The question for online marketers has now become, “will my goods or services fill the need?” 

For more SEO news check out Recent Google Updates and SEO Trends for 2018

7 Deadly Sins of Choosing the Wrong SEO Agency for Your Business [Infographic]

choosing seo agency infographic alphametic



If you need more information about choosing an SEO agency you can check out our 7 Deadly Sins of Choosing an SEO Agency Blog Post. If you’d like to embed this infographic on your site and share, you can use the embed code below:


<div style=”max-width: 1080px;”><div style=”left: 0; width: 100%; height: 0; position: relative; padding-bottom: 399.9074%;”><iframe src=”//” style=”border: 0; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;” allowfullscreen></iframe></div><p>Credit: <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Alphametic</a></p></div>



18 Eye-Opening SEO Statistics to Prove the Value of Organic Search

You already know that having a prominent online presence supported by an effective SEO strategy is indispensable. People are searching for your business, and you need to make sure they find you online. The Internet, however, is a virtually endless resource with millions of search inquiries leading consumers to different places.

seo statistics alphameticMore than often, an online experience begins with a web search. Yet, how do you make sure people searching for companies and services like yours land on your website, and not someone else’s? One thing you can be certain of is that you’ll need to make a case to prove the value of SEO to be able to direct any of your company’s resources – or client’s resources – to site audits, content marketing, technical optimization, local, and backlink strategies.

With updates being done to Google’s search engine algorithm continuously, deciding to craft (an execute on) an SEO strategy sounds like a lot of work. How do you convince your boss or client that it’s worth it? Is keeping up with Google really that important? Yes. Being on Google’s good side, and making it to the front page, will impact your business tremendously. And what about other search engines? What is the value of being searchable? Do you show up online?

To help you make a better case for SEO to justify the value of organic search, I’ve compiled a list of eye-opening SEO statistics about organic search, Google facts, and the Internet at large. Be free to use them, tweet them, embed them, or insert them into your own presentation.

Check them out, and show them to your boss:



When Google went down for 5 minutes, global Internet traffic dropped by a whopping 40%

Source: CNET

Tweet: When Google went down for 5 minutes, global Internet traffic dropped by a whopping 40% #SEO @searchdecoder Source: @CNET

It seems like the Internet really does revolve around Google. In 2013, Google’s services were unavailable for only 5 minutes due to an outage and web traffic dropped by 40%. Google is the heart and soul of the Internet. How important is your Google presence and global web traffic? Very.


google statistic alphametic



There are more than 2.3 million Google searches conducted each minute

Source: Internet Live Stats

Tweet: There are more than 2.3 million Google searches conducted each minute. #SEO @searchdecoder Source: @NetLiveStats

What have you Googled today? When  “Googled” the appropriate temperature to bake Alaskan salmon, Google connected me with 338,000 results in under 0.81 seconds. The first result was more than satisfactory. With over 3.5 billion searches conducted a day, odds are that you’ve Googled something. It might have been that very search that led you here. Back when Google launched in 1995, users were conducting just 500,000 searches per day. Today, this statistic has more than quadrupled. The growth of organic search traffic has been growing consistently.

how many google searches stat alphametic

16-20% of all Google searches are being searched for the first time

Source: Internet Live Stats

Tweet: 16-20% of all Google searches are being searched for the first time. #SEO @searchdecoder Source: @NetLiveStats

How does Google answer questions that have never been asked before? Through extensive indexing, site crawling and millions of search precedents. Never before asked queries are more common than you’d think. Marketers should think about how to fashion their content strategy so that they find the right balance between targeting ultra-competitive, established keywords as well as the less popular queries that are ‘on the rise.’ Use Google Trends to find these niche golden nuggets.

google search statistic


The top 5 search results on Google get 70% of the clicks

Source: Amazee Metrics

Tweet: The top 5 search results on Google get 70% of the clicks @searchdecoder #SEO Source: @amazeemetrics

Does anyone ever go to the second page? No one really does, right? Turns out, that your position within search results is of utmost importance. Studies show that the first 5 search results receive the most clicks (70%).

SERP CTR statstics alphametic



One in six people on the planet use Google

Source: Search Engine Watch

Tweet: One in six people on the planet use Google @searchdecoder #SEO Source: @sewatch

A big chunk of the world is “Googling” away. With 2 trillion searches conducted on the planet every year, there’s no denying that Google is the world’s most powerful search engine giant.

how many people use google stat alphametic


10% of Google searchers are looking for detailed content, and Google’s algorithm keeps this in mind

Source: Moz via Results Driven SEO

Tweet: 10% of Google searchers are looking for detailed content, and Google’s algorithm keeps this in mind #SEO Source: @ResultDrivenSEO

There’s definitely a correlation between longer content and Google ranking. Moz’s study found that the most popular pages had over 35,000 words and generated more than 800 links. Google prefers well-written and longer content over those that are more superficial and short. Don’t get lazy on that blog! Articles over 1,000 words might just fare better SEO wise.

seo statistic alphametic


More than half of Google’s searches are conducted across mobile platforms

Source: The Verge

Tweet: More than half of Google’s searches are conducted across mobile platforms @searchdecoder #SEO source: @verge

This is no surprise. Smartphones and tablets have become the new prime way to communicate, and access information. According to The Verge, more people are searching on mobile devices than ever before. Taking into account the increased smartphone and tablet usage, Google has updated its SEO algorithm to take into account mobile website usability. In the world of mobile-first indexing, a website that doesn’t work well on mobile can be affected negatively in Google’s rankings.

SEO mobile statistic alphametic


88% percent of smartphone users are using their device to conduct search on Google

Source: Think With Google

Tweet: 88% percent of smartphone users are using their device to conduct search on Google@searchdecoder #SEO source: @thinkwithgoogle

In company with the previous statistic, is the fact that the majority of cellphone users use their phones to conduct searches. According to the report Understanding Consumers’ Local Search Behavior, 88% of smartphone perform searches, making the need for a mobile-friendly website crucial. People are searching on the go, and are looking for local results. Google is looking to provide the most practical, precise and relevant local search results through their regularly updated mobile-friendly ranking algorithm. Optimize your local listings with a smart local search marketing plan in place.

seo smartphone statistic alphametic


18% of local mobile searches lead to sales on the same day

Source: Google

Tweet: 18% of local mobile searches lead to sales on the same day @searchdecoder #SEO source: @Google

And what’s even more important, 18% of local searches will lead to a sale on that very day. In contrast, only 7% of non-local searches will. Capturing the local search market through SEO is a smart strategy. Potential customers and clients are searching, you just have to lure them to you. If you have a locally-focused business, you need to show up highly on Google Maps, and other local directories.


50% of mobile phone users are likely to visit a store on the same day they conducted their Google search

Source: Google

Tweet: 50% of mobile phone users are likely to visit a store on the same day they conducted their Google search @searchdecoder #SEO source: @Google

Having a mobile-friendly website is super important because people searching on their phones are more likely to visit your store on that very day. While 50% of mobile phone users will visit your store after conducting a search, only 34% of users searching on tablets and computers will do so.

mobile local seo stat alphametic


Globally, Google’s search market share reaches 82%

Source: Net Market Share

Tweet: Globally, Google's search market share reaches 82% @searchdecoder #SEO

And in the World? Google is still on top. Anyone you’re trying to reach, anywhere they might be, Google is your best bet towards generating an impression, and getting your product and brand across borders. Except for in the case of China, and a few others, Google is the dominant search engine in almost every country in the world.

google bing market share stat alphametic


Google owns 64% of the search engine market share in the US

Source: comScore

Tweet: Google owns 64% of the search engine market share in the US @searchdecoder #SEO source: @comScore

In the US, people use Google more than Bing, Yahoo, and all the others. The term “Google it” is popular for a reason. In a study conducted by comScore, out of a total of 17.5 billion searches conducted in one month, 11.2 billion of them were conducted through Google. Bing follows second with just 3.7 billion, and Yahoo with 2.2 billion.

google market share in us alphametic


36% of Chinese websites have hidden code that connects to Google’s servers

Source: The Guardian

Tweet: 36% of Chinese websites have hidden code that connect to Google’s servers @searchdecoder Source: @Guardian

Over 21% of the world’s internet users live in China. After having left an enormous market in 2010, Google plans to return. With twice as many people online in China compared to the US, a just a piece of the Chinese search engine market share will secure Google as the most utilized website in the world. Is your company interested in expanding internationally? You’d need to optimize for Baidu if you target Chinese audience. If so, this might be something to consider when crafting your SEO strategy.


78% of local mobile searches result in in-store purchases

Source:Search Engine Land

Tweet: 78% of local mobile searches result in in-store purchases @searchdecoder Source: @sengineland

People aren’t just Googling the latest cat video. They’re looking for the best store, the best product and the best service near them, and for them. With the power to Google, consumers are behind the wheel of their purchases and investments, and as we’ve learned, they never really go past the first page. So does “the best decision” = a high Google search ranking? To an extent, absolutely.


Website URLs that are not mobile friendly have experienced a 21% decrease in search engine rankings

Source: BrightEdge

Tweet: Website URLs that are not mobile friendly have experienced a 21% decrease in search engine rankings. @searchdecoder Source: @BrightEdge

Is your website’s search ranking being affected for sure? Seems like it. According to a study conducted by BrightEdge shortly after the Google’s mobile algorithm update last year, the presence of non-mobile friendly websites on the first 3 pages of Google began to fade fast. Over 20,000 websites were tested and scored for mobile friendliness, and then had their ranked recorded. A 21% decrease in ranking was found for those URLs scoring low in mobile-friendliness.


Web users exposed to slow loading times, will conduct less searches on average

Source: Google

Tweet: Web users exposed to slow loading times, will conduct less searches on average @searchdecoder Source: @Google

This is according to studies conducted at Google using their search engine. Speed matters. Even after rectifying a low speed, users will be reluctant to return to your website. Get rid of anything that hinders your website’s speed. Music players, flashy graphics and unnecessarily large images will stagnate loading time. Google has a few tips on how to fix a slow website.


51% of website traffic comes from organic search results

Source: BrightEdge

Tweet: 51% of website traffic comes from organic search results @searchdecoder Source: @BrightEdge

How are people getting to your site? They’re Googling their way there. Chances are, more than half of your web traffic started with a search. According to a study conducted by BrightEdge, this means that over 40% of revenue is captured through organic search traffic. Social only accounts for merely 10% of web traffic, and paid search just 10%.


Users focus more on organic search results 94% of the time

Source: Search Engine Watch

Tweet: Users focus more on organic search results 94% of the time @searchdecoder Source: SEWatch

There is good news for those reluctant to invest in an AdWords account. According to Search Engine Watch, organic results fare better over paid ads. The higher you rank, the more clicks you get, and paid ads don’t count. Users tend to ignore the advertisements on top of the page and go straight to the organic search results listed first.

Hope the list is helpful! Have I missed any of other important SEO statistics? Please drop me a note in the comments below.

Recent Google Updates and SEO Trends for 2018

google updates seo 2018 revisited

Update: Republished on May 31, 2018 with updates in these sections: Meta Description Snippet, Mobile-First Indexing

Update: Republished on October 1, 2018 with updates in these sections: Meta Description Snippet, Mobile-First Indexing, UPDATE: 2018 Core Algorithm Changes


2018 is looking to be HUGE for SEO. Official mobile-First Indexing, voice search, RankBrain, artificial intelligence, machine learning, increased search personalization, and the list goes on and on. There have been many Google updates that have rocked the boat in the SEO world in the last few years, we’re going to take a look at some of the major recent Google algorithm updates and then look at some SEO Trends for 2018 that are on the horizon.


2017 Google Algorithm Updates


January 2017 – Intrusive Interstitial Penalty

Those pesky ads that pop up on your phone when you’re trying to read an article became Google’s target in early 2017. What is referred to as “Intrusive Interstitials” are pop-ups that take up a large amount of screen space on mobile and disrupt the user experience. Websites that featured these pop-ups directly after a user enters their site began to experience a decrease in traffic because of this algorithm update, according to the SEO Roundtable.

What’s an SEO to do?

Be mindful of the kinds of pop-ups you place throughout your mobile site. Google is increasing its focus more and more on the user experience. Ads and pop-ups are notoriously obnoxious, so ask yourself next time you consider placing a pop-up screen on your mobile site – are you adding value to the user experience?


March 2017 – The “Fred” Update

Google began to penalize sites with thin content more aggressively in the post-Panda world. In other words, this update was meant to target sites whose purpose was to drive ad revenue by bringing a ton of traffic to their sites, but not delivering much value in terms of content utility for the user. This is an example of Google cracking down on a practice that it already says is a no-no for rankings.

What’s an SEO to do?

Keep on delivering high-quality, high-word-count content that is useful and informative for your audience. If you’re overhauling your site, run a content audit and determine where you may have ‘thin content” and work on ways to improve your website’s on-page value. Siteliner is a useful free tool to identify duplicate and common content on your site that you want to keep in check, as well as analyzing the word count of your text content.

percentile graph

June 2017 – Google Jobs Search Widget

Google rolled out a SERP widget that targets users searching for job listings. Its right underneath the search bar and is prompted by searches like “Entry level jobs near me” and more broad job searches as well. It lets you filter by title, full-time, part-time, date posted, etc. Once you choose the job, it sends you directly to the page where the job listing lives that has the most relevant content.

What’s an SEO to do?

This update affects the staffing industry, job recruiters and the like, but it can be a preview of what’s to come as Google continues to try to mediate between a user’s search intent and related web pages.

google job search snippet


October 2017 – Chrome HTTP Warnings

Back in April of 2017, the Google Security Blog declared that Chrome browsers would start to indicate whether a site was “Secure” or “Not Secure” by indicating it in the URL. Here’s an example:

secure chrome address bar

HTTP sites with forms and credit card fields would have the not secure warning. The update was rolled out officially in October of 2017. Google has also officially announced that in July of 2018, they will start to mark ALL HTTP sites, regardless of whether they have field entry forms or not, as “Not Secure.”

What’s an SEO to Do?

Websites that have not yet switched over to HTTPS could experience a decrease in conversions and click-throughs as well as an increase in bounce-backs because of this address bar warning which is not visible to the user. A no-no for any sustainable SEO strategy. This is also concerning on its own, especially when you know that Chrome is the most popular browser. A user can be less likely to give out their information on a form or online transaction without the credibility of a “Secure” heading. Go into 2018 with HTTPS.


November 2017 – Meta Description Snippet Length Increase  

Update: as of May 2018, Google has reverted back to their original character limits, but many of the concepts below still apply. Your meta description should stand on its own between 155-165 characters, but you can add more lines in case Google chooses to dynamically lengthen your descriptions. For more information on this update, check out this article from Moz.

2nd Update: As of September 2018, Gary IIyes of Google has confirmed that meta data length DOES NOT matter. Your meta description can be as long or as short as you’d like it to be. The only caveat is that if you refer to the update above, Google does tend to truncate descriptions, so if you do have a meta description that is longer than 165 characters, just make sure that if any piece of your description is cut out, the rest of the text works together. In other words, every sentence should stand on its own.

Meta descriptions once had an industry standard of a 155-165 character limit. During November of 2017, there seemed to be a spike in SERP results with longer snippets within the 300-320 character range (Moz). Google confirmed this update in December with Search Engine Land, saying they wanted to provide more descriptive snippets to users by helping them better determine whether a webpage was relevant to their queries.

What’s an SEO to do?

Overall, the implications of this update meant SEO’s now had more room to be descriptive and communicate value when they set their descriptions for their pages. This can also impact the click-through rate of your web pages on organic SERP. Check out more information on this update as well as what to do to improve your SEO results on the Alphametic blog here. Start re-writing the meta descriptions to optimize your top performing web pages. Here’s an example of Alphametic’s keyword research services page when we updated the meta description.

alphametic hompage meta description

UPDATE: 2018 Core Algorithm Changes


August 2018 – The Medic Update

It seems that Google has made a core algorithm update that has affected mostly health and medicine sites. Another category of URL’s that were affected were YMYL websites (your money or your life sites). These types of sites are defined as follows by Search Engine Watch:

Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) pages are specific web pages that Google wants quality raters to hold to a higher “Page Quality” (PQ) standard than other types of web pages. They are called YMYL pages because they can directly influence your money or your life, hence the name.

Although not the only sites to be affected, these categories were disproportionately affected by this core Google update. Danny Sullivan from Google has officially confirmed this update but has stated that there is nothing to be done to improve your site, just focus on great content.


As 2018 continues, here are updates that have been in the works for years – but have really taken shape this year:


SEO Trends for 2018



Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced that 20% of mobile searches are voice searches. And this trend isn’t stopping anytime soon. It’s natural that people use voice search on their mobile phones while they’re on the go, and while mobile use continues to skyrocket – we can expect voice search to grow right alongside it.

voice search infographic screenshot

(Image source)

What’s an SEO to do?

It’s different to optimize for voice search in the sense that people speak differently than they type. They tend to use more natural language patterns than the typical, choppy search engine queries. But this actually makes optimization more intuitive. One strategy laid out by Neil Patel is to optimize your content based on question queries, since most users who use voice search are asking a question like who, what, when, where and how. Use natural, full sentences and write blog posts answering your audiences main questions and concerns. Ideally, you’d get a featured snippet, so the user’s digital personal assistant can read out your content as the best answer to their question. is a useful tool to discover trending “question keywords.”


Mobile first indexing

Mobile first indexing has been in the works since 2016, but it was announced by Google spokesperson Gary Illyes that mobile first indexing would rollout sometime in 2018. What this means is that now Google will be using your mobile content to determine your rankings to a much greater degree.

What’s an SEO to do?

Hopefully, by now, your site is mobile responsive and looks great when viewed from a mobile phone. Google spokesperson Gary Illyes has given us the heads-up that if your domain is mobile responsive – you’re solid. Sites that are not yet mobile responsive will be highly affected by the mobile-first indexing update. If there are areas of your site that could have an improved mobile experience, it’s worth it to go back and check where you can make changes in order to be fully optimized for the rollout in 2018. Use Google’s Mobile Friendly test to determine if your site is optimized for mobile.

Update: As of March 26 of 2018, Google has announced that it has started migrating sites that follow mobile best practices to mobile-first indexing. It is slowly bringing more sites on board to mobile-first indexing. They’ve also mentioned that they will notify webmasters through Search Console if their sites have been migrated.

Update: As of September 2018, Gary Illyes of Google has confirmed that 50% of websites have been converted to mobile-first indexing and that it will take years for the roll-out to take full effect. He also confirmed that sites that do not have mobile versions of their sites will still be indexed, it is simply best practice to have a mobile-responsive website. His comments were taken from his State of Search presentation.


RankBrain and Search AI

Think of Google’s RankBrain algorithm as a machine trying hard to think like a human, using every possible piece of data at its disposal – social, user-generated content, browser footprints, click patterns – to match individual searchers with the best answers to their questions.

AI personal assistant

According to Google, “If RankBrain sees a word or phrase it isn’t familiar with, the machine can make a guess as to what words or phrases might have a similar meaning and filter the result accordingly, making it more effective at handling never-before-seen search queries.” If you want to get geeky, RankBrain converts the textual contents of search queries into “word vectors,” also known as “distributed representations,” each of which has a unique coordinate address in mathematical space. Vectors close to each other in this space correspond to linguistic similarity.

In more plain English, when people type a search query – aka a keyword – that’s never been made before, RankBrain attempts to map this query to words – or “entities” (clusters of words) – that have the best chance of matching it. RankBrain attempts to guess what people really mean when they make queries over time, records the results, and adapts results to provide what it sees as better user satisfaction.

If you’re serious about SEO, you need to optimize for RankBrain. Why? Google recently announced that RankBrain is Google’s third most important ranking signal. And it’s becoming more important every day.

What’s an SEO to do?

Brian Dean of Backlink recommends rethinking your keyword research strategies to optimize for RankBrain.  He predicts that the Long tail keywords are becoming dead due to how well RankBrain understands that these long-tail terms often refer the same thing. So Google shows nearly identical search results. Brian recommends that SEOs focus on the “medium tail keywords” instead. In the example below, he demonstrates how to spot these search queries in your keyword reports.

paleo diet search volume

Image Source: Backlinko

“When you optimize your page around a medium tail keyword (and make that page awesome), RankBrain will automatically rank you for that term… and thousands of similar keywords,” says Brian Dean.


Brand Mentions Over Link Building

There’s been a lot of buzz recently over whether “no-follow” links and brand mentions have any ranking weight, supplementing the good old-fashioned “do-follow” links. The evidence, based on this excerpt analyzed by Neil Patel from a Google Panda Patent seems to suggest that Google’s algorithm is learning to take into account unlinked brand mentions across the web as an indication of authority. That both do-follow links and “implied links” are being looked at more closely.

What’s an SEO to do?

This is GREAT news in the SEO world. Links still matter, but now you can get more credit for all those social mentions as well as unlinked brand mentions online in a more direct way. You also get credit for other areas of the web where people are talking about your brand, but not necessarily giving you the links you’d like. This is an opportunity for SEO’s to expand their backlink strategies to incorporate other PR-focused outreach methods into their framework for a more well-rounded online footprint that isn’t just focused on earning hard-to-get links.


Highly Personalized SERPs

SERP personalization has been a thing since as far back as 2007. But as of recent years, Google has gotten very sophisticated with its algorithm by serving up results that are based on your local geography, your search history, your interests and activities throughout other Google apps. This means that every user is going to have a search experience that is unique and personalized, like this search for taco places in Miami which not only gave me results for Miami but pinpointed EXACTLY where in Miami I was and what was close by:

taco in miami personalized results

What’s an SEO to do?

Although you can’t guess what every user’s personal results are going to be, users that DO click on your site and engage with it are more likely to see you again in search results. If every user is getting personalized data, how do you know your keyword tracking data is accurate?

Location is a huge factor in personalization, so one way around this is by setting up your tracking by individual location. You can use a tool called Rank Tracker to customized your rank tracking by location to get more “Real-time” results of users and be assured your results are more targeted..

Also, if you’re a local brick and mortar business, it still pays off to optimize your sights for your local geography, add schema markup on your site, and make sure that all your business listings are up-to-date and fully optimized.


The Gist of It

Google continues to update and test its algorithm in a way that encourages practices it wants to make standard (like HTTPS certified and mobile-responsive sites) and changing their own user’s experiences to give them as much information as possible up front.

These trends are here to stay, so the question is, how will they fit into your SEO strategy?

Want to take your SEO performance to the next level in 30 days? Check out Alphametic’s SEO Quick Wins.


seo trends 2018


Meta Description Length Has Increased to 320 Characters in Google. What’s next for SEO?



September 2018 Update: This meta description update has been reverted back to its original 145-165 character range limit. For more information regarding this update and the current status of meta data, refer to our Google Updates and SEO Trends 2018 post.

It’s official, Google has increased their meta description length to a max of 320 characters! Now, some of you may be saying “This is fantastic!” and the rest of you are probably saying “Oh crud…I have to update everything.”

Well, truth is, you’re both right. It IS a great opportunity to communicate more value to your target audience, but it’s also going to take a bit of work on your part to update your pages. Let’s talk about how this can affect your SEO efforts.

But first, let’s answer what’s on everybody’s minds:


How Does the New Meta Description Length Affect Rankings?

Meta descriptions are an INDIRECT ranking factor, what does that mean?

Google doesn’t actually count the keywords you put into your meta descriptions towards your SERP ranking. If you don’t have a pre-set meta description, it’ll just take a piece of your webpage that it thinks describes the intent behind the page the best.

Now, why it an indirect factor? At the end of the day, your meta descriptions for your webpages is like the “Hook” of an email. If an individual reading their email has gotten past the subject line, they’ll take a peek at the hook and, as you probably guessed, the “hook” reels them in towards actually clicking on the email.

It’s the same with your meta description. If the individual gets past the page title and hasn’t committed to clicking on it yet, they’ll further determine the utility behind your webpage based on the few seconds they’ll spend reading your meta description. If your meta description can get you more clicks, and therefore traffic and potentially conversions on your webpage, THEN those factors will start counting towards your ranking.

At the end of the day, Google will reward the web pages that consistently attract clicks from SERPs, solve users’ problems, and deliver value. Thus, strong meta descriptions can help improving your click-through-rates, which translates into better rankings and more traffic.


What’s an SEO to do?


Review your priority pages and their meta descriptions

This is an opportunity to enhance what you’ve already got. Determine how the extra length can add further value at a glance on SERP results.

Step 1: Review your Google Search Console data to identify the 20% of your web pages that drive 80% of your traffic.

Step 2: Expand your meta descriptions to include more descriptive, keyword-rich content that speaks effectively to your customers.

If you are offering SEO services to clients or working in-house on Internet marketing campaigns and looking for “quick wins,” consider adding this two-step approach to your marketing toolbox in 2018.


Optimize for click-through and use the extra space to give them what they want

Maybe add a call to action or an extra line of services you offer to drive click-throughs. Just think: a person looking for the keyword this page ranks is looking to answer what question? Your meta description should promise an answer.

Check out one of our meta descriptions written in the longer character limit below:

new meta description length example

Utilize the extra space on all meta content moving forward

Now you get the opportunity to set a new standard for all future web pages and content. If you have a company-wide style guide that includes meta description standards, consider updating this information or just establishing a go-forward methodology with your team (or for yourself, if you’re a lone-wolf SEO).

As Bill Carmody says in this article on Inc aptly title Google is Your Homepage”     

Like it or not, Google is your homepage. In fact, I’ll go one step further and confirm that you and your company are who Google says you are.”

He’s got a point. Many times, a google search result is the first interaction a person has with your brand. Let’s make it a good one.


At Alphametic, we follow SEO news and keep up to date with the industries latest stories. Want to see another update? Check out this article about the new Google Search Console Update.