5 Modern Trends to SEO
SEO will not stand still. Not only do Google’s algorithms change on a regular basis but the trends in what users want from a website also adapt with current fashions. Users are not looking for floods of adverts, or large amounts of information that lack any relevance.
In 2016, with an ever technologically educated audience, users are aware of content purely plugging keywords and for promotional purposes, and instead are looking for a website with content of a more genuine nature; beneficial to what they are actually looking for. Targeting local, even for international business, is essential.
Local SEO has never been more important. Think of a user searching on a smart phone on the go for a particular service, a restaurant for example; what would you type? The most obvious answer is ‘restaurant near me’. Google announced last year that the phrasing ‘near me’ had increased 34 times over from that of 2011, with 80% of these enquiries made from a mobile.
It hasn’t slowed down, with google in the early months of this year showing clear intent to encourage this localised approach to SEO, with ‘near me’ micro-moments now being autocompleted in our searches. As well as this, customer journey is also accelerated through local SEO. It is predicted by Google that on average, half of those that search for restaurants near them, actually go to a restaurant within an hour.
Google has capitalised on the notion of accelerating customer journey, and proceeds with the understanding that from wherever you are based, you tend to be searching for services that are in your location. For example if you are searching for a digital marketing company such as us here at Omni Search, and type in simply ‘digital marketing companies’ into Google, you will find that the results are becoming increasingly similar to that of those who entered the phrasing ‘digital marketing Norwich’. Local SEO is a growing factor, and definitely one to focus on for 2016 and for the foreseeable future.
We are all aware that smart phones and the impact they have on our lives is only growing. This extends to the way users search. As of last year, Google made ‘mobile-friendliness’ a ranking factor. Therefore, it is vital that in order for your webpage to rank highly, it must be mobile-friendly.
This in itself has created problems for many, as web content has just been copied, crammed and cropped content into a mobile sized screen, without consideration for user experience. As Google becomes ever more specific in updates to its algorithms, to fulfil its aim of giving a genuinely positive consumer experience, it will inevitably be beneficial in the long run to invest in content specifically designed for a mobile user.
One of the first ways you can improve user satisfaction is by using a responsive design mobile platform. Making the site interactive has instant, obvious appeal for a user. Get rid of any unnecessary information. Users tend not to press on mobile sites for extended detailed chunks of information. Keep your content short and simple.
Captivating content alone may not engage a user; images and visual icons can be extremely helpful. Enlarging icons to give ease of traffic flow will greatly improve the chances of a user engaging further with your website then the first page alone.
With a modern generation more aware of the large role websites have in the success of business, more and more users are wise to content crammed with unnecessary amounts of keywords. Overusing keywords is often referred to as ‘keyword stuffing’ and as a practise, although it may have the effect of improving your ranking on a short term basis, this outdated practice has been noticed by Google and modern algorithms penalise irrelevant content.
One specific Google update was the ‘Panda’ update, targeting ‘thin’ and ‘shallow’ content, and dropping sites authority as a result of this.
Principally, in regards to modern SEO, Google use tend to focus less on word density, and focus further on relevant and useful content. The best alternative to this is to use synonyms, related words, keeping your content varied and assisting in user engagement. An organically beneficial experience is becoming increasingly rewarding to your rankings, as Google takes an ever humanised approach to its algorithms.
In terms of modern SEO, the most recent factor is website loading speed. Search engines such as Google and Bing do use loading speed as a factor in consideration to ranking. Therefore, having a slow webpage can harm your SEO. Faster loading speed essentially has a positive correlation to ranking position.
How do you find out if your website has a fast loading speed? Google itself provides a tool which can give you that answer. If you visit https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ not only will google give you individual results for both desktop and mobile, but additionally recommend fixes and suggestions on how to improve the speed of your webpage.
Not only does poor speed have a detrimental effect on search engine rankings, but it is also harmful for quality of user experience. For example, in regards to mobile user engagement, if you, as a user, have to wait too long for a webpage to load, you are more than likely to return to an alternative link or get frustrated.
As previously mentioned, SEO is adapting in terms of rewarding a more genuine approach to promotion. Modern SEO dictates that we move away from the old practice of ringing around and begging for backlinks to companies with no relation to your business, and instead look towards more organic avenues of networking with related businesses, using mutually beneficial relationships.
One way to network is to simply reach out to relevant businesses, with a similar or better social media presence than that of your own and interact initially. Reach out to them, repost their content, and in return, they may retaliate. If your business is seen to have genuine interaction, through various outlets such as social media platforms, it portrays a more trustworthy image for your business.
Another option for networking is through blog promotion. Writing a positive article or review on a related business, featuring key words and promoting it on your webpage and social media outlets is an organic way to improve SEO. Not only that, but it can help increase social media platform presence, as well as creating traffic through sharing and being visible to new potential users and customers.
After all, SEO is fundamentally an avenue to increase business visibility.