Whatever their purpose might be, just about everyone is looking to increase their web presence, promote their brand and generate traffic to their web platform. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is key to achieving these aims, and a solid understanding of the machinations and developments in the world of SEO is essential to all businesses looking to grow and progress. SEO is in a state of perpetual change, which means we all need to keep up with new developments and anticipate changes before they happen.
With such a large and increasing emphasis on IT-related issues in all industries, businesses often encounter the challenge of delivering on technological demands as they scale and grow. To address this, find local IT support to help your business reach its true potential.
According to Comscore media analytics firm, by 2020 half of all online searches will be made using voice technology. In addition to this, Gartner predicts that in the same year, 30 percent of online searches will be made on devices without a screen. With improvements in voice technology as well as a fast-growing use of voice through mobile devices and digital assistants, a considerable impact on SEO is certain. To marketers, this means adapting to natural language searches, queries longer in length, an increased use of question words, and a greater emphasis on local searches.
These appear in the top spot of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and are often referred to as position zero. Reaching this coveted position is made possible by providing clear answers to commonly asked questions in your content, and meeting Google’s standards of quality. In Google, an incredible 54.68 percent of clicks originates in featured snippets so this makes a considerable difference in generating traffic.
Cisco predicts that by 2022, video traffic will account for more than 80 percent of all traffic worldwide. A recent study also revealed that 6 out of 10 people would prefer to watch online videos than television. With a greater focus on video and more people, especially younger generations, marketers will need to focus on optimising videos. This means using appropriate keywords in the headings and description, and ensuring the content reaches the widest possible audience.
The speed of a website is an important determining factor in improving search engine rankings, on both mobile and desktop devices. One way of ensuring websites load faster is by using the WebP image format, which replaces JPG, PNG and GIF formats, and is compatible with all browsers with the exception of Safari. WebP animations have 24-bit colours, as compared with the 8-bit colours of GIF. WebP image compression does not degrade image quality, and WebP files are often more than half the size of even compressed files in other formats. This format can save bandwidth and reduce loading time, so is an obvious choice for content providers.
RankBrain is the name of an AI system from Google that uses independent thinking to recognise words and phrases to improve internet search outcomes. It is a self-learning algorithm that can handle queries that haven’t been made before, which make up 15 percent of all queries. In the near future, AI will be a technology ubiquitous in everyday life, and it will certainly have various applications in SEO. Developments will be made in reading text, processing testimonials and website evaluations.
The shift of internet search to mobile devices is a widely-recognised phenomena, and the drive to create fully responsive sites has long been a priority for most platforms. But it is no longer sufficient to simply develop a mobile responsive website, as mobile interfaces must be engaging, informative or entertaining and easy to read. As mobile search overtakes desktop search, mobile optimisation and mobile page indexes need to be a priority.
Quality and length of content
As user experience is now one of the main metrics used to determine SEO rankings in Google, the quality of content is also important. Content affects user metrics, and it should be useful, new, interesting and keep users engaged for as long as possible. Linking to other pages on the website will also increase overall page views.
Research has shown that high quality content that is longer in length receives more visability, as users prefer to get all the required information from one site, rather than multiple sources. Articles of over 2,000 words have a higher number of readers than those shorter in length.
In order to address the diverse customer experience currently available, marketing needs to integrate various strategies into one all-inclusive whole. While multi-channel marketing is the term for dealing with different channels such as email, mobile or social as separate entities, omni-channel marketing is the approach that handles all channels as one seamless customer experience. It can enable the sharing of content and brands through channels that include YouTube or a podcast, and it can help to build authority and trust, and improve rankings.
With developments taking place every day in AI, machine learning, IoT and other new technologies, the challenge of SEO is to adapt and respond to each change. When this is possible, SEO can help to drive growth in a business to a remarkable degree and enable management to focus on core functions. Marketers need to be vigilant and strategise for every new development in order to stay ahead.