4 Huge SEO Content Shifts Happening Right Now and Why Your Website Should Adapt To It
One of the best parts about working with technology is that nothing stays the same.
Communication, media, trade, transportation—every part of society is touched and transformed dramatically by the ongoing changes birthed by the digital age.
Thanks to new research and findings, business is evolving at the speed of light, turning innovative ideas into concrete reality to make each aspect of our lives easier and more sustainable.
Wires to wireless, audio to visual—data is more accessible than ever before, responding to our ever-growing demands with the touch of a single click.
Now, with a renewed focus on customer satisfaction, companies are investing heavily in tools and resources that are designed to make customer experience more personalized and unique. This is precisely why search engine pioneer, Google, is continuously dabbling in new and innovative ways to make the online experience as engaging and convenient as possible—a goal that smart businesses share with the multinational technology company.
Fortunately or unfortunately, however, this has led to a startling number of changes in the arena of online marketing within a relatively short window of time.
From algorithm updates in the shape of Panda and Penguin in 2011 and 2012, respectively, to the Hummingbird update announced in the summer of 2013, Google has rolled up its sleeves and worked hard over the past 6 years to make search engine optimized (SEO) content truly original and relevant.
What does that mean, exactly?
In short, keyword stuffing will no longer help your business drive the traffic it so desires.
With its focus on semantic search, Google’s uncompromising standard of quality backlinks and information-centric content has consequently pushed businesses into revamping their digital marketing strategy—altogether changing the nature and scope of content marketing.
Let’s take a look at 4 major SEO game-changers from the prism of Google:
1. Intelligent Content
We’re talking about content that really speaks to you—compelling, informative and relatable (in some cases, even with its own personality)! Google’s tireless commitment to base rankings on “quality-rich information” has induced a new phenomenon that can be aptly described as “intelligent content”.
What does it mean and how do you generate it for your website?
Before you start getting your in-house writers to write considerably longer posts replete with redundant information, take a moment to ask yourself: “Is this something *I* would read?”
Simply put, smart content warrants smart research. And it all begins with monitoring trends for applicable keywords, incorporate data-centric information that is accurate, up-to-date and relevant to visitors.
But why bother so much with user intent?
Because Google’s algorithm changes place user experience at the forefront of search rankings. And guess what users are looking for when they run a search for a particular product or service?
That’s right—credible data that creates awareness, engages, informs, and provokes action.
Contrary to popular opinion, stats and figures alone won’t do the job—nor will interesting content. You must find a middle-ground between transparency and practical information, delivered in a friendly, recognizable voice.
Create content synergy by:
i. Capitalizing on social media.
ii. Integrating videos and infographics with content.
iii. Answering popular questions and banking on trending topics.
It wouldn’t be unwise, in fact, to develop a 12-month content plan to stay ahead of the game and be the first to start trending topics and posts with high viral tendencies, depending on the season. When generating content, keep in mind Google’s Hummingbird update (since the Caffeine update in 2010), and be mindful of conversational search dynamics—aiming for a voice that sounds less like an Internet bot and more like a real person.
Oh, and it goes without saying: hire someone with an actual flair for writing. Anyone can rewrite, curate or paraphrase—but to make complex data readable, authentic and memorable, that’s a job for a pro.
Bottom line: Don’t underestimate what intelligent content can do for your web traffic.
2. Mobile First
If we told you that 53% of users abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load, would you change anything about yours?
Whether you realize it or not, there’s an undeniable correlation between page speed and revenue. In a research published by DoubleClick by Google, it was revealed that websites that loaded within 5 seconds over those that did within 19, experienced “70% longer average sessions”.
With smartphones and tablets dominating the digital market, it’s no surprise that Google’s focus on mobile-first technology is unwavering since 2015.
Knowing this, businesses must adapt likewise and take a smooth mobile-first approach to content accessibility. According to a recent study conducted by Pew Research Center, about three quarters of all Americans are owners of a smartphone, with about 73% having access to a broadband service at home.
In addition, 69% are social media users—a trend that is steadily on the rise.
What does all this information tell us about the fate of SEO?
Consider the fact that most mobile users are browsing the digital landscape with questions.
3. Hyperlocal Targeting
How often have you turned to Google Maps to locate a restaurant, bar, pharmacy, or a park?
Imagine the wealth of information just waiting to be discovered as a rising number of people invest in geo-location technologies to find answers to everyday questions.
Experimenting with hyperlocal targeting is absolutely crucial for businesses, big and small—especially if you want to harness the true strength of the goliath we call SEO. Essentially, this means optimizing content for smaller geographic locations, using high-ranking local keywords, and catering specifically to users on the go.
Not only will this help you gain incredible consumer insight, but ultimately influence conversion rate later on, through desktop or in-store.
4. Text to Voice
As virtual assistants, the likes of Siri and Alexa begin to dominate the tech world, we’re looking at a future of voice searches that’ll no doubt replace (what will soon be deemed) 2 valuable seconds of typing time.
Although text search will not be dying any time soon, there is substantial evidence to predict that 50% of all searches will be in voice!
Be mindful of this growing trend and optimize content in order to cater to popular voice searches—giving particular attention to intelligent agents that operate on the basis of high-intent keywords.
As we move forward, we’re witnessing unprecedented changes in the name of technological revolution. And resisting these changes is tantamount to business sacrilege.
If you’re thinking the future lies in simply replacing the old with the new—you may be surprised to discover that it actually lies in constant experimentation and reinvention, which means being aware of new trends and using it to enhance your strategy rather than killing it entirely.
SEO content is here to stay—but its longevity and centrality to your business depends on how you plan use it in the coming years.
Sure, Google has a tendency of taking many of its stakeholders by surprise.
But if you think ahead and adapt accordingly to new chances, you’ll find that in the end, they’re designed to help good businesses flourish—ultimately reflecting your capacity to grow.