With the growing popularity of voice search on platforms like Google, it is becoming more and more difficult to generate organic traffic through search results. After all, when Google gives back an answer, it normally shows one result that comes from the featured text snippet that would appear on the top of the page of the search. That cuts out a lot of other websites that a user may have clicked on if they saw the rest of that page of results, which drastically cuts their incoming traffic. This shift in traffic patterns led digital marketing agency iPullRank’s Mike King to call this new era the Age of Invisibility. At the 2019 Digital Summit in Dallas, King gave his advice for pushing websites into the top ranks of Google’s search results.
How can you get your website into the featured snippet spot?
There is, of course, the option of having product listing ads, but that is an expensive option that smaller organizations can’t afford. So the question arises: How do you get your website into the featured snippet? King said that the way to break into this space is by penetrating the filter bubbles, which is the balancing act between an algorithm finding the right answer and another one that analyzes a user’s data to see what best suits them. The six ways to pierce through this barrier are hybrid-targeted and optimized content, mobile friendliness, solid data structure, fast loading speed, authority level and integrated searching, and King went into more detail about four of them.
4 ways to avoid search engine result invisibility
Hybrid-targeted and optimized content
This is just a fancy way of saying to produce content that both speaks to the range of people you’re trying reach, while meeting all the normal SEO standards. King actually recommends an article on Moz by Cyrus Shepard for an in-depth look into how best optimize your content. To quickly and simply summarize it, you don’t only need to consider the keywords in the searches, but the words and phrases that commonly accompany those terms. When Google indexes these pages, it uses term frequency-inverse document frequency (TD-IDF) to associate these words with each other, and other pages that use these will move up in the rankings.
Authority is the second metric that helps move websites up in Google’s search results, and it goes hand-in-hand with optimizing content. Even websites that have really good content might still fall to the wayside if it has a lower domain authority. The way to fix this is trough better-optimized content and more backlinks from relevant sources, and tools such as Ryte and Searchmetrics can help you analyze areas of improvement on your own website.
Next on King’s list is integrated search, which works to affect the click rate and dwell time — both determiners of positioning — as well as other analytics. While the dwell time is normally similar to the bounce rate of the website, what Google does to calculate this number is keeping a record of when the user clicks on to the website and then when they return to the search page from that site. To improve your website’s standing in these analytics, the key is adding your brand’s compelling, unique voice into the meta-descriptions throughout your site. Google will pick up on this data and display your page more frequently in its results.
Finally, anyone wanting to optimize their website for the Age of Invisibility should make sure its data structure is up to snuff. There are both content-based and coding-based ways to structure data for Google to pick up in its featured snippet. From the content perspective, you want to add pages specifically dedicated to a question or, even better, a Frequently Asked Question page that Google can quickly scan. If you’re able to add to the code of your website, you want to add your query into the header tag, make sure that the content you want picked up is as close to the header tag as possible, publish the page and then fetch and render. If you’ve done this process right, Google will already think you’re better and you will have that elusive feature snippet.
Optimizing your website for this new Age of Invisibility is a complicated process, and as technology continues to evolve, SEO will only get harder. Luckily, if you follow King’s advice, you should be well on your way to having the best website you can.