SEO Trends Heating Up 2018
Most businesses seem to know that SEO is integral to their online efforts, even if they don’t fully understand how it works, or how it’s changing. SEO has been around for decades, but only since the early 2000s has the search engine giant, Google, taken measures to make SEO more about the web user’s experience than following specific formulas to make one’s website rank high in search results. To that end, Google has focused on providing quick responsiveness to online search queries, so it will yield accurate results, even with misspelled words, incomplete phrases, or poorly worded phrases. As a passive web user, you may not fully see the deep-down impact on SEO practices – you’re just glad to have a better search experience. SEO of the past was based on a rigid framework of keywords. As a result, webmasters and SEOers conducted extensive keyword research and did all they possibly could to cram their targeted keywords into every corner of their websites. Writing for SEO often used and implemented keywords or phrases in odd and unnatural places, making the content hard to read. Sometimes the content didn’t have anything to do with the keywords. As a result, SEOers wrote only for Google, and the users were often frustrated with the irrelevant search results of their queries. 1. An Easier, More Intuitive Search With all the changes that have been happening in the background, web users have become accustomed to a fast, intuitive search experience which produces relevant results. In the past, users had to try several different search variations if their initial results didn’t quite deliver what they had hoped for. At the same time, SEOs had to determine exactly what phrases customers might use and write website content that included those phrases (no matter how strangely they fit in). A disconnect was created between the web users’ search intent and the search results that appeared. Semantic search changed this by focusing less on the specific words or phrasing and more on the user’s intent behind the search. And SEOs have to change their strategies to account for these types of search results. 2. Better Content The goal of every algorithm update is to improve the web user’s search experience. With the Hummingbird update, search results came up that were deemed the most relevant based on the untyped intent of the user. People now enter search queries similar to how they talk. Google has utilized AI (artificial intelligence) to search websites based on this new search query syntax. With less emphasis on specific keywords and formal phrase structure, the content on websites – now more than ever – have to be high quality. Oddly placed keywords or awkward keyword phrases or keyword stuffing in the content of a website will no longer appease Google or web users. In order to produce the now-expected, high-quality content, content writers must conduct more thorough research on topics and write in a way that the content is easily readable, attention-grabbing and offers value. 3. Quality Results With semantic SEO, search results pages are (or at least should be) filled with high-quality content that accurately answers the original query. A big part of making this happen is the use of “rich answers.” These search query answers are gathered by Google and are displayed on search results pages (SERPs) in a way that the web user doesn’t have to click on a website URL to see the content. The user is presented with short snippets of the relevant content of a website. While snippets are the most commonly displayed form of “rich answers,” charts, tables, sliders, maps and forms displaying appropriate, relevant information can also appear on SERPs. Ready to see what we can do for you? Talk to a specialist.| When web users get the answers they are looking for and they get them nearly instantaneously, the better search experience they will have. (This, in turn, will convince them to continue to use Google for their web searches.) 4Better User Value Optimization With semantic SEO, the goal is to create the most value for web users and address their real concerns. SEOers now must spend more time optimizing their website content so that it is valuable to web users. This is something people have been talking about for years, of course, but now you have to think more about how those users are asking their questions – not just the keywords they might be using. As keywords are not as highly stressed, it is more difficult for SEOs to determine the intent behind a user’s search. This is something that is fairly unpredictable, though, so SEOs are safe, and better off producing great content that adds value to a larger, broader audience.