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3 Truths About Search in 2017

The role search plays in the media landscape is still relevant. What hasn't changed is the confusion and speculation of not only how search works but also how to "do" search engine optimization (SEO).


The way search has evolved in recent years means you don't have to pay an expensive SEO consultant to ensure your content is doing all the "right things" to win on Google. Today, using the shady tactics of yesteryear — like keyword stuffing or invisible text to fool search engine crawlers — is the surest way to tank your rankings. If you're doing this now, stop!

What has changed is that Google's algorithm has gotten a lot smarter (no surprise there). With the introduction of Hummingbird in 2013, Google started looking at content as both entities and topics rather than keywords taken at face value. An entity can be anything — from the city of Austin, Texas to Forever 21 found in malls all across the world. Hummingbird marked the beginning of "conversational search," and the trend since then has been all about great-quality content that complements the way we now search.

The challenge of winning search is a lot different than it used to be. But there are still strategic steps you can take to make sure you're favoring both Google's algorithm and the SEO trends that are prevalent to make it to page one. Here are three things to keep in mind:

1. If You Want to Find the Perfect Search Phrase, Know What You're Talking About

The best way to find the right keywords to target for your content is quite literally to know what you're talking about. Google has recognized that accurate and relevant keywords often come naturally from corresponding subject matter. So first things first: You have to have deep knowledge about the topic you're writing about before you can properly craft relevant keywords.

Applicability has never been more important in Google's eyes. If you author content that flows naturally, is rife with correct information, and isn't misleading or offensive, Google will reward you big time for relevancy.

2. You Can Still Be Strategic with Keywords

Even if you are the ultimate Nobel Prize-winning expert in the subject of your content, keyword research is still a crucial step in determining what exactly you should be writing about. There are countless tools you can use — like AdWords, KWFinder, or Moz — to determine a keyword's strength, popularity, and difficulty to win. This article does a really good job of explaining how to do proper keyword research.

japan tsunami KWFinder.png

Source: KWFinder

What's important to remember is that each search phrase you want to target (and eventually win) can have multiple forms. For example, if you want to win the keywords "japan tsunami 2017," also consider targeting "tsunami japan 2017." Many times, variations like this will return different results and strength levels. This is also a good way to target similar concepts without duplicating URL slugs.

japan tsunami.png

Throw in a few more related words, and targeting comparable phrases with different posts can give you nearly infinite results to work with. For example, if you're writing a third article on the same topic mentioned above, maybe the next phrase you'll want to target is "japan tsunami 2017 response."

japan tsunami 2017 response.png

3. Quality or Bust

Following the days of keyword stuffing, Google's algorithm began prioritizing quality, in-depth articles. Another factor in its major shift was the creation and popularity of social platforms. We've covered how social affects SEO here.

The birth of social shifted the news and information culture completely. Social feeds are now where users discover content, and search is instead where they find solutions to their problems. Google is looking for natural language (still with a tone of authority) that completely addresses the searched-for solution. Articles that are poorly written or formatted, receive negative comments, or are blatantly ads will not rank well.

Keep the theme of problem solving front and center every step of the process. Make sure your content answers questions in a completely user-friendly way. But in-depth doesn't necessarily mean super long. A study done back in 2016 found that the average article length for articles on page one of Google was 1,890 words.

Win Search with Every Publish

The world of search has changed. At RebelMouse we offer strategy services around SEO. We also have powerful SEO tools built into our platform that prep every article for search before publish. Let's start working together.

Why RebelMouse Is the Best Content Marketing Platform

RebelMouse is a unique platform and company. The company was founded on the vision that media companies would need an always-modern solution to thrive in the new connected internet, and that brands would have to behave like new media companies and use the same platforms.

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The Intersection of Design and Development: Where Your Clients Thrive

We started RebelMouse seven years ago knowing that there was a fundamental design flaw in the world of traditional CMSs: Every instance, on every platform, had to be updated independently. It's similar to an era when users had to manage their own Microsoft Exchange Server for email. The costs of managing, maintaining, and iterating on a CMS to keep it awesome and world class is typically a $10 million-a-year endeavor. But even then, these cost-prohibitive CMSs are still behind the times.

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Native Multivariate Testing at Scale With RebelMouse

What Differentiates Our Approach

There are many popular tools that allow you to perform experiments and A/B tests on your users — primarily Google Chrome Experiments and Optimizely. But all of these solutions are JavaScript additions to your web page that sidestep the problem of old, outdated, and clumsy CMSs. These solutions work by calling on a third-party JavaScript library that rewrites a page after it's rendered. This approach adds extra page weight and creates strange user experiences due to having to wait for everything to load and be rewritten on the fly.

At RebelMouse, we've solved this in a very elegant way. At the core level of our platform, we can natively render different layouts and track the exact differences in performance when comparing a test to your other layouts.

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Modern E-Commerce: Blur the Line Between Content and Design

Create Modular + Reusable Design Patterns on RebelMouse

Content saturation is an industry-wide problem, and the e-commerce space is no exception given that it's filled with big brands, small Etsy stores, and everyone in between all fighting for similar audiences. The best way to fight this symptom is to understand your audience and provide them with what they want.

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Instagram-style E-commerce Features on RebelMouse

Revolutionizing E-commerce on RebelMouse

Whether you're a brand with a blog or a media company with a site, driving purchasing behavior and building an audience that uses your content to find things they love to buy is vital. We're very proud to have built out the same functionality that everyone is now used to on Instagram, with layovers on images that lead to products with attribution.

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Building Premium Communities and User Journeys on RebelMouse

RebelMouse is much more than just a replacement for a traditional CMS. Our platform is a tremendous community-building experience. Today's social ecosystem has given us a seemingly limitless number of premium creators who understand how to create gorgeous and relevant content that drives the growth of their own audiences. These creators and influencers are either experts in certain topics, or heavily engaged in targeted content that drives their interests. They're not only consuming the content they're passionate about, but they're contributing to the conversation, too. The new role of the editor is not just to cover the most important topics and people around their expertise, but also to invite those preferred influencers into their community and get them to participate in creating premium content.

Read our deck here...

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Dynamic Voting: Grow Traffic and Engagement Organically

Help your audience find its voice.

Creating quality content is no longer on marketers alone. We live in a universe of creators who are willing to not only consume content that resonates, but play a role in the creation, promotion, and conversations surrounding it.

Since the start of RebelMouse, we've been on a journey to create dynamic media that is easier for content creators to curate and amplify on social. It's why we've built an online engagement platform centered around the power of communities that thrive naturally in the digital ecosystem.

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How to Monetize Your Website in Today’s Publishing Environment

In order to define distributive publishing, we have to ask the following question: If you have quality content, but nobody sees it, does it even exist? The answer is no, because your content needs to be supported in a way that lets it move seamlessly across all channels, especially site, search, and social. But let's take this question a step further: If you can't monetize your content to generate the support it needs, how do you create quality content in the first place?

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Conquer Your Crawl: Feed the Googlebot With Structured Data

Set up success on search with a detailed web schema

Since search took over Facebook as the top referral of web traffic a few years ago, the growth of Google hasn't let up. It's estimated organic and paid search accounts for 68% of all trackable website traffic, and, perhaps even more noteworthy, 53% of that traffic is fueled by organic search.

The revival of search has brought with it a maturation of what makes for a solid search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. The algorithm is now savvy about robotically written articles designed to win a specific set of keywords. As Google's search engine has gotten smarter, its web crawler software, casually called the "Googlebot," has also evolved in terms of how it indexes data.

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Facebook Offering Small Business Grants Program During COVID-19 Crisis

Program to provide $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for small businesses

Publishers big and small all over the globe are grappling with the financial constraints caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Trying to find the right brand messaging in this unprecedented time is a balance that none of us have ever faced before.

We've developed a live-blog experience that's designed to maximize your potential on search. Keep your audiences up to date by the second as they turn to you for the latest news, updates, and guidance.

In an effort to help ease the strain on publishers, Facebook has announced a Small Business Grants program for publishers. The social network is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits during the crisis. The offer is available for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses across 30 countries.

More information on how to apply for the program is forthcoming. Click here to learn more and sign up for updates. Check out Facebook's COVID-19 Business Resource Hub here.

Live-Blog Feature: Publish Real-Time Updates + Maximize Search Performance

Make sure your audience never misses an update

Many organizations are facing communication challenges after the recent outbreak of COVID-19. With so much information available everywhere, it is harder than ever to control the message of your own audience.

At RebelMouse, we're constantly iterating on our platform to help you make your content as relevant as possible. In the current news environment, staying on top of breaking stories using live blogs is incredibly important.

We've implemented our own version of the live-blog experience that's designed to maximize your potential on search. We power this new functionality using WebSockets, which allows for near-instant updates.

The advantage of creating a live blog using RebelMouse is that we index each live-blog update for search so that you receive SEO credit for every single update. This means if one of your live-blog updates hits on a key search phrase, it can drive a lot of traffic from search. This is superior to the traditional way of doing live updates where it was simply embedded JavaScript loading posts.

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The RebelMouse Creative Agency

  • Built for Times of Uncertainty
    • RebelMouse has had a distributed, remote workforce for years:
      • Our team collaborates easily across time zones.
      • Leaders in the company excelled within an ethos of remote work.
      • Our growth-centric team has worked closely together for years.
      • RebelMouse is made up of 60 people in 28 countries, exempt from any risk of a centralized shutdown.
      • Iterative culture that allows us to adapt rapidly to change
      • Diversified portfolio - we have clients across every vertical and every business type. Our solution works for brands and media companies of varying sizes and any content vertical
    • We're the best in breaking news and crisis communications:
      • Our digital services agency built the version of Axios that fueled their rapid growth, making them a new media giant over the past three years.
      • United Airlines uses RebelMouse's agency and tech services to power their content hub and communicate with customers.
      • We're the agency behind La Verità, a subscription-based news site in Milan, Italy that has been at the center of the COVID-19 crisis.
    • We build products designed for a mobile, office-less world:
      • Editors, writers, reporters, and creators can keep up with breaking news and vital edits, and can create content all on their mobile device.
      • In times of crisis, being fast to respond is critical. Solutions that require a desktop environment to create and edit content are no longer appropriate.
    • We don't require any new capital:
      • Our business can elegantly move up and down like an accordion to fit in the current publishing climate.
      • RebelMouse has not required capital for over three years, and is in a strong cash position to survive hard economic times.
    • "No business travel" has been our company policy for many years:
      • It's our policy to avoid business travel if possible. We haven't required a single in-person meeting to close a new deal or launch a new property in years.
      • We know how to work with clients through technology to understand each other and deliver what's needed for success.
      • Our unique work culture makes us very resilient in times where business travel is shut down.
  • Lower-Cost Products With Bigger Returns
    • We build best-in-class digital experiences:
      • The RebelMouse CMS will outperform any platform on page speed, stability, and breadth of features.
      • We power massively popular websites and scale without breaking a sweat.
      • Our CEO is a technical, product-focused person who built HuffPost. The team she's built at RebelMouse since 2012 is passionate about products that outperform.
  • Digital Growth Specialists
    • RebelMouse + Media companies:
      • We grow RPMs.
      • We improve ad visibility.
      • We create new opportunities for digital revenue.
        • Paywalls
        • E-commerce
        • Native advertising
        • Programmatic advertising
    • RebelMouse + Brands:
      • Our digital agency helps brands reach potential customers at scale by winning in search and social.
      • We put in better conversion units and the data systems to track iterations on the metrics that matter.
      • RebelMouse technology builds smarter, faster pages that convert better for paid campaigns.

Learn more about the team at RebelMouse.

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