Like the Internet itself, the SEO realm is one that's ever-changing and evolving. What might be considered cutting edge today could easily be deemed as antiquated in just a few months from now. As a result, this trend means that digital marketers must stay on top of change and one step ahead of the game.
From my personal experience, I've witnessed a considerable amount of SEO changes in just the past few months. Here are some specific reasons why you need to closely examine your site's SEO right away.
The Rise of Mobile SEO
Terms like "the mobile apocalypse" and "Mobilegeddon" were thrown around quite frequently last year and were brought about largely because of the Google Mobile Friendly Update that took place in April 2015.
Like past updates such as Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird, this mobile-centric update had a profound impact on the way that digital marketers approached SEO and will continue to heavily affect things in the next few months.
Combine this with the fact that mobile searches officially eclipsed desktop searches in 10 countries including the U.S. last year, and you don't have to be rocket scientist to see that mobile SEO needs to be a top priority even now.
In my opinion, mobile optimization should take precedence over anything else.
In fact, some digital marketers have even taken it so far as to practically forget about desktop SEO and focus solely on the mobile element. While this is probably a bit too extreme at this point in time, it shows just how integral mobile-friendliness has become. If your site isn't already fine-tuned and tailored to mobile users, you'll definitely want to make the necessary adjustments as soon as possible.
In terms of specific areas to address, a post from Marketing Land highlights the six key components of mobile SEO in 2016, which I think are spot on. Here they are:
- Focus on core ranking.
- Fix mobile-friendly errors.
- Do mobile keyword research and content creation.
- Do app store optimization.
- Do app indexing.
- Use AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages).
While digital assistants like Apple's Siri and Microsoft's Cortana aren't new, many experts agree that they will begin to play an increasing role in SEO.
In my estimation, their influence is already undeniable. After all, why would we want to meticulously type out a search phrase when we can simply perform a voice search and instantly get the information we're looking for?
So far, voice search is primarily used while people are engaged in other activities like watching TV, exercising, cooking, etc. But who's to say that this won't be the primary way to perform searches in general by a very large demographic in just a few years?
I know that I have noticed myself performing more and more voice searches as voice recognition has improved in quality. The accuracy of digital assistants only continues to improve. Keep in mind that as tech-savvy millennials and Generation Zers are accounting for a larger percentage of the population, voice search could easily become the new norm before you know it.
In turn, this has created a phenomenon that any digital marketer will want to be aware of and start preparing for what could be the new way to search. So how do you capitalize on this trend?
Here are some of my suggestions:
- Incorporate adverbs like "who," "what," "where" and "why" into content because that's how many voice searches begin.
- Utilize schema markup to help search engines understand what your content means.
- Focus on semantic SEO and user intent.
- Humanize your content.
- Utilize long-tail keywords (no keywords aren't dead).
Interactive Content is Becoming Increasingly Popular
We all know that in this day and age, it's just as important to optimize content for actual humans as it is for the bots and spiders that do an algorithm's bidding.
This has never been more apparent than when you look at the popularity of interactive content such as quizzes, surveys, polls and so on.
And while some digital marketers may be reluctant to embrace interactive content simply for the reason that it can't be optimized in the way that blog posts and landing pages can, this shouldn't stop you. That's because Google and other search engines have moved way beyond merely looking at text and markup and now take multiple factors into account such as engagement and how easily content can be viewed on mobile devices.
So what's the bottom line? As long as people genuinely enjoy your content and engage with it, the search rankings will usually follow.
A digital marketer's work is never done, and there are a few key areas of SEO that you'll want to address right away.
In particular, you'll want to ensure that your content is mobile-centric, you're taking voice search into account and focusing on the user experience by peppering in at least some interactive content.
Are there any other specific elements of SEO that you plan on addressing immediately?
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