New Trends in SEO: How to Stay Relevant
By Ali Goodman, Account Executive
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is all about optimizing your website to rank well in search engine results pages. It’s centered around driving traffic to your website and increasing the amount of visitors on your page. Optimizing your website can often feel like a game of how to beat the Google “beast,” since Google is essentially the only search engine people use regularly. The concept may seem daunting, but practicing effective SEO as a company is necessary in today’s competitive market. Just when you think you have it mastered, new ways to improve arise.
One of the more recent SEO trends is optimizing for voice search. Whether it’s Siri, Alexa, Google Home, or another robot in your house, having these machines read you information is the wave of the future. Optimizing for voice search is important as it has become so widely used, but it requires a different way of optimizing web pages. The problem with voice search results is that they typically only yield one answer. Whether it be answering a question about the weather or recommending a local restaurant, everyone wants to be the single source that these voice robots pull from.
When writing copy for a website, especially as a large company, everyone wants to sound formal and professional. But while this is effective for readers, it might not be so great for voice search. When we type something into the Google search bar, we use key terms that we know will yield the best results, such as “best restaurants in Atlanta” or “things to do in Burlington.” When we ask a device like Alexa or Siri a question, we speak much more casually, such as “find a restaurant near me” or “where can I get my car fixed?” It may seem like a minute difference, but in the world of SEO, it can make a significant difference. Practicing effective SEO now means including key terms and longer phrases that people speak rather than type.
Other trends in SEO focus on user experience. Youtubers are famous for using “click-bait” style titles to get people to watch their content, and websites are beginning to do the same thing. People are using aesthetically-pleasing themes and captivating titles in order to bring in more readers. Content is no longer the only king; user experience and website quality matter now more than ever.
Another factor of user experience is how quickly your site loads and how well it translates to mobile. People don’t like waiting for websites to load, and no one wants a mobile version that’s not functional. Google is slowly transitioning into mobile-first indexing, which means they scan the mobile version of your site to determine how it will rank. Largely ignoring the mobile version of websites won’t do the trick anymore, and they may eventually matter more in the world of SEO than the desktop version.
As machine learning advances and artificial intelligence grows, website crawlers that index for SEO are getting smarter. Easy steps to improve SEO may not do the trick anymore. The behind-the-scenes of how website crawlers scan sites is getting much more advanced, and they are searching for more than just proper structure to pull out answers. They are beginning to test your user experience as well.
Keeping up with the latest trends in SEO is a never-ending task. Technology is constantly evolving, and practicing perfect SEO is seemingly impossible. For the next few years, focusing on quality content and strong user experience is key, but who knows what else is to come?