One thing that has changed virtually beyond all recognition on the web is search. Incredible advancements in AI and algorithms brought to us by popular search engines deliver an ever advancing user experience capable of interpreting our intention when searching and learning from our language when we search for something it has not encountered before.
These advancements have had a profound impact on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) because as search becomes more capable of delivering exactly what the user wants then websites need to more clearly define their content and purpose.
At the same time, user behaviour has changed with social media heavily influencing on how people access content on the web.
For website owners, this means that the strategies that were once essential parts of the SEO toolkit are no longer relevant or at least not in the same way. So what should a modern SEO strategy take into consideration?
Content remains king as long as it is relevant
Content marketing is built on the idea that valuable and relevant content attracts a clearly defined audience. This should generate interaction and promote profitability encouraging the audience to convert.
Good content is thought provoking, offers an interesting perspective and triggers an emotional response. If your audience loves your content, they will love your brand.
Social Media keeps the audience engaged
The web brings people together to share ideas, nurture relationships and express themselves. Nothing shows this more that social media and is, therefore, the perfect place to capture the hearts and minds of your audience.
Currently, Google is not confirming whether Social Media likes, shares and follows are having a direct impact on improving rankings still social media campaigns are great for expanding your understanding of your audience. As well as this a social presence can be an additional opportunity to get noticed in search results. Your profile matters and are often among the top ranking results in search listings. In fact, for some demographics, social media is used as a search engine in itself.
Good optimisation is a ranking factor
The design of your website matters, search engines are looking for signals that your website is proving the good secure user experience.
A responsive design is one of these signals, does your website work well on the four major screen sizes, widescreen desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile.
Make sure the content is shareable, with an easy to read URL and provide prominent social share buttons. Are you creating content that is designed to be shared?
Some optimization factors are timeless, well at least for now, so don’t forget things that are easy to look over like metadata, this is essential for describing your web page content to search engines. Another one is a site map your sitemap, something used by search engines to crawl your website effectively.
Know your competition
Analysing your competitors can provide some truly insightful data. You can learn what is working for them and steal away visitors by creating engaging content that attracts what is proving to be engaging with their existing audiences.
First identify your competition, analyze where they are ranking well and what successful terms they are using. Focus on keywords that will increase your likelihood of ranking for the same terms in areas where you can be competitive and develop popularity with your audience.
Be sure to determine where their traffic originates from to develop similar external sources to promote your site and capitalize on what is working well for your competitors.
Voice search is growing
Voice search is quietly gaining popularity in the background with an unprecedented growth in the percentage of users searching using their devices virtual assistants. It is even estimated that by 2020 that 50% of searches will be made by voice.
Businesses that market themselves as local to their target location should take this search trend seriously as it is through voice search that an increasing number are found.
When optimizing for voice search you should try to get into the mind of your user, what phrases might they use as they search, and listen to people as they talk about you, your product or business as people type and speak in a different style.
Keywords have changed but are still a big part of search
Keywords are still an integral part of an SEO strategy, however, the complexity of the mechanics has increased significantly. This reflects how modern browsing habits have altered the journey of the modern online customer. Finding the consumer at the right moment is vital to helping them convert on your page.
As well as this, search engines are using algorithms that can now evaluate the intention behind your search and are no longer returning the best match with the website with the most keywords stuffed onto a page. It is long recognised that this can cause content to lose quality.
To make the most of your keyword you should invest time to research and connect with your desired audience and discover the terms and phrases that your visitors actually use then create killer content around this research. The two work together in harmony for improving your SEO.