SEO seems more human these days. When search engine optimization is performed to achieve higher organic ranking and conversions off Google’s search engine, it must adhere to best practices. And because Google’s core algorithm runs off a hybrid of machine learning and artificial intelligence, it is expanding its ability to recognize human intent, human emotion and is therefore becoming more human itself. In terms of SEO it too must take on human attributes if successfully optimized websites are going to be favored in Google’s ring of digital humanity.
A great place to start is by focusing on your SEO inner child; the foundation to optimizing content for human audiences and not just Google search bots. First, the term “inner child” is often misinterpreted. Many think it means that part of you that is young at heart. In actuality one’s inner child is one’s original or true self when viewed as damaged or hidden by negative childhood experiences. In order for someone to be thriving, their inner child needs love, acceptance, and holistic care. When SEO is performed by someone bearing the semblance of a protective and nurturing parent tending to the needs of a website’s physical, emotional, and creative needs, a website and its content can evolve with a healthy inner child that Google will favor in their quest to humanize user search experience.
Physical SEO – It’s All in the Website Architecture and Security
In order for your SEO inner child to thrive joyously and ride off on unicorns into Google rainbow skies, your website architecture must offer the following:
- Separation of purpose
To ensure a secure infrastructure, your website’s architecture should reveal as little code as possible. Most of the back-end components can be hidden and multiple layers should be used as a means of added security. This way hackers only get minimal information as opposed to your entire system.
You will also want to make sure your site is horizontally scaled across multiple regions and servers. When analytics reveal your traffic has climbed you can then add, remove or replace servers according to your present strategy.
To avoid a huge catastrophe in the event a server or two go down, your architecture should buttress a an environment with high availability. Embrace a cross-regional option, as there is always the potential for a regional fail.
Changing layers, modules and being able to build on your application without having to stress over data contracts is vital to healthy architecture. When you worry about breaking something or what the ideal starting point is, you will be stressed and more prone to committing error.
Make sure your code has set directives and responsibilities that don’t bleed into one another. For example, back end should not exhibit front end code. A good web architecture standard going into 2017 is to harness a multi-layer application of autonomous and autarkic applications that allow one to work on individual layers while the application is running on a communication between JSON content with a RESTful API.
Google Loves Emotional SEO
One’s inner child need to be emotionally nourished, and so too does your website’s content optimization for 2017. Let’s go back to a time when most SEOs argue that search had its biggest shift: September, 2013 when Google Hummingbird came out. This core algorithm put focus on meaning behind words, especially those in queries. SEOs soon learned that optimized content using popular search queries in H titles accompanied by in-depth, educational, well-written content ranked significantly better, and met greater conversion. Then in October of 2015 an update to the Hummingbird algorithm (the 3rd largest ranking algorithm) known as Google RankBrain was revealed. RankBrain runs on both artificial intelligence and machine learning, supported by Hummingbird requirements, to understand the emotions that go into search queries so it can present a more accurate answer, and continue to learn with rolling momentum. Also, because mobile has dominated search methods for the last two years, longtail keywords are ranking factors that play into local SEO.
How Emotional Language Ranks Mobile Content
I did a little experiment on my Samsung Galaxy Edge 7 using voice search. I decided to implement a single emotional word into a standard local search query thus speaking, “OK Google, where can I get my damn shirt dry cleaned”. A few things happened:
- Google revealed results that pulled direct keywords, hence online reviews by angry people who used the word “damn”, but not “damn shirts”. This Yelp review ranked first, and when clicked on the reviewer announced he took his shirts home and spent all day washing and ironing them his “damn self”.
- Articles expressing negative industry news, “ripoff” style articles about dry cleaning as a paid service, and a number of other articles arguing why dry cleaning is a waste of money ranked second.
- Local dry-cleaners ranked third.
I did a similar search for 4 other common local services using both angry search language and happy / loving words, and received identical style results. This tells us that:
- Google is ranking content on mobile that uses the same keywords but not in their whole format.
- Google identifies emotional words in search queries and pairs them with answers containing matching emotional content.
- Google ranks blogs and news feeds that have matching emotional content and editorial angles.
- Emotionally heavy content, in this case, ranks higher than actual local business locations below the fold.
Clearly, optimizing your website with emotional content will not only resonate well with your readers, but with Google’s ranking considerations. Mobile search has blown up, and it will only continue to grow. Soon automakers will have mobile search capabilities embedded in vehicle technology (some already have) and in due time this will be standard. More local searches will flood the Internet, and since most people tend to act on their emotions quickly and mobile search welcomes impulsiveness, you can bet Google’s quest to better understand user intent via their emotional heart strings will remain on the forefront of their strategies.
Hyper Creative Feeds Your SEO Inner Child
Our inner child is a creative being full of curiosity longing for a distinct voice, and though creative design may not directly impact SEO, it does indirectly. From understanding the psychological impact color has on the consumer mindset, to web themes, when you can stand out in your industry as having a buttoned-up, polished hyper creative presence, online searchers will typically:
- Spend more time on your website
- Visit more pages
- Interact and engage more with the site
- Complete desired actions like filling out forms or making a purchase
- Sharing your content through social channels
When Google sees positive engagement on your site, its perception of your value goes up, and with that comes a higher domain authority, better organic placement in the SERPs, and the outlook for a long, healthy existence.
Back to Bruised and Battered Basics
Here’s the thing, unless you have had true masters for the past decade like an award-winning Google partner SEO agency running your campaigns and managing your strategies, your website has probably been beaten up a few times in the rankings, or even hit with Google penalties. In this case, it is okay to view some of your origins as damaged–this is your SEO inner child that may have seen darker days when major Google updates rolled out and best practices changed. Your website’s infant years may have been hidden in the SERPs by negative online experiences, and that’s okay because it gives one the knowledge to trace the past, study Google’s search evolution, and create a holistic plan to triage your SEO inner child and prep it for its dominance in 2017.