SEO is constantly evolving. Gone are the days where you could rank a website in a week or two just by keyword stuffing and using spammy backlink practices. Google’s algorithm has gotten smarter and the nature of Google searches have begun to change.
But why is this the case?
Why SEO is constantly changing
We need to think about this from Google’s perspective. At the end of the day, Google is a business, and as a business, it has competition. In the search engine space, some of Google’s competitors include Yahoo, Bing, and DuckDuckGo.
Currently, more than 90% of all search engine traffic flows through Google.
Google has been able to achieve this because it has been relentless in innovating to give the best possible search results for any given keyword query. In order to sustain its incredible market share, it needs to continue to provide the best possible search results for any given keyword query. Because if it doesn't, users will look to alternative search engines.
So, to stay on top of this, Google is continually optimizing its algorithms to ensure they are indeed providing the best results to their users.
As 2019 marches on and 2020 comes into sight, it's important to understand what new factors are being introduced into Google's algorithms and what factors continue to be important going forward, to develop an effective SEO strategy.
We're going to look at 5 of these trends in the search engine space right now.
1. Voice search
As more and more users switch from desktop to mobile, and the use of smart home devices proliferates, users are increasingly turning to voice search. People are shifting to voice because it’s quicker and easier when you’re performing other tasks.
Back in 2016, Google said over 20% of queries on its mobile app and on Android were carried out by voice - the trend is continuing upward.
Traditional typed searches and voice searches differ in their nature and so optimization strategies will also differ. for Voice search you need to think about more conversational natural language and local searches as well as ensuring that websites are mobile friendly.
2. User experience
Google’s algorithm has become more sophisticated in order to provide better, more relevant results and also to exclude poor content resulting from old discredited SEO practices like keyword stuffing and building spammy backlinks.
Google now counts user experience and user engagement among its key metrics for SEO rankings. This is because user experience is a great indicator of the quality of a website or a piece of content. Accordingly, your website should have
A high bounce rate indicates to Google that the result was not useful, or what the user was looking for. And if this keeps happening Google will eventually rank the website lower and lower in its results. There are many other user experience metrics that signal poor or low quality such as dwell time, average session duration, page views, etc. All of these combined communicate to Google a picture of quality of your website as a whole.
Google’s aim is to provide the best and more relevant results to users, so this is why user experience has become and will continue to be, such an important factor.
3. Quality content
"Content is king" is a much-used phrase, but still relevant today.
With the importance of user metrics as shown in #2, you simply cannot let your content fall by the wayside. You need to create your content in line with how it will affect your user metrics, in other words, providing useful content which will rank well.
Ask yourself questions such as:
- Is this content useful? Does it add something useful and new to other content on this topic?
- Will this type of article lead to a large bounce rate for this specific keyword?
- How do I link this article to other pages on my site to increase my overall pageviews?
- How do I keep my user engaged as long as possible on this page?
Answering these questions in a way that provides most value to your readers will prove to be a win-win-win situation for everyone.
Your readers win because they will have found what they are looking for. Google wins because the readers are happy that the search engine has delivered the piece of content that helped them solve their problem or answer their question. And you win because Google will continue to drive more organic traffic to your website.
4. Mobile-first indexing and pagespeed
It's no secret that mobile has advanced at a massive rate over the past few years and now makes up around half (occasionally more) of search traffic worldwide.
Google has launched mobile-first indexing, and recently announced this would now be the default for websites new to Google. What all this is telling you, if you didn't already know, is that mobile matters. A lot.
However, some businesses still don’t have a mobile-optimized website. People are increasingly searching on mobile devices and Google is simply not going to show your website to its users if it's not mobile-friendly, as it will give mobile users a poor user experience.
Key factors in mobile optimization include fast loading speeds as well as simple and clear navigation designed for the smaller screen.
The bounce rate of your website is one of the first user metrics that signal poor or low quality user experience to Google, so ensuring your site loads as fast as possible for mobile users should be a priority to achieve high search engine rankings.
You can test and monitor your site speeds using Google's free speed test tool, which as well as giving you speed scores and recommendations for improvement, will show you how you're doing compared to competitor sites.
Google's mobile-friendly test tool will analyse your site to see just how easy it is for a mobile user, and provide tips and advice for usability improvements and fixing errors.
5. Omni-channel marketing
In 2019, we live in a world of multi-channel, diverse marketing experiences with customer journeys being more complicated and fragmented than ever. In order to achieve a seamless consumer journey with your marketing funnel, you need to integrate your different marketing strategies into one holistic approach.
Multi-channel marketing involves interacting with customers and prospects through various channels, for example social, mobile, email etc. Each channel operates separately from the rest with its own goals and strategy.
Omni-channel marketing also involves using various channels, but aims to provide customers with a seamless, integrated experience throughout all channels.
Whether it be YouTube, podcasting, paid advertising – expanding your marketing efforts to include other customer acquisition methods will help with your SEO. The more often your content is shared and the more your brand name is mentioned on other websites, the more authoritative and trustworthy you will be seen as by Google, and so your rankings will improve.
By introducing a variety of digital tactics to your marketing efforts, you will be giving yourself more opportunities to be liked, shared, mentioned, and referenced around the web and your SEO results will improve as a result.
The nature of SEO is that it is constantly evolving with the times. In order to stay on top of your search engine rankings and ensure you are driving as much traffic to your website as possible, you need to be aware of the trends will lead the way forward and into the future.
Voice search, user experience, quality content, mobile-first indexing, and omni-channel marketing are just some of the trends you should be keeping abreast of currently. Implementing these aspects of SEO on your website will put yourself, your business, and your website ahead of the curve.
If you have any questions about any of these trends, please leave a comment below.