The revolving door of the information age has seen more than one trend become’ the cock of the walk today and a feather duster the next day.’ The world of search engine optimization (SEO) is no different for as search algorithms become smarter and imbibed with the ability to pin-point black hat methods, web masters must also stay abreast of regulation changes to ensure their SEO methods are squeaky clean.
This article intends to discuss the changes occurring in the field of SEO and how they will affect the efforts of web masters and SEO professionals worldwide. Also, tips on using these trends to your advantage without having to resort to black hat techniques to grow your platform or clients’ businesses will be covered in-depth.
The Rise of Personalized Content
The world is slowly moving to a digitalized age and in this age IoT will hold sway. Therefore, Google alongside its competitors, are slowly but surely shifting focus from ranking websites with extensive backlinks highly during search, to pursuing a more predictive and personalized search technique.
Although backlinks are still important—according to Penguin 4.0— the shift to personalized search is Google’s answer to the rise of smart mobile devices and hardware currently powering the digital community. Therefore, your SEO must take into consideration the need for creating personalized content to engage customers who will search through a mobile phone or a smart home assisting device.
A Shift in Search Perspective
Since the early 90s till late 2015, search and computing statistics showed that the use of desktops computers was the publics preferred mode of carrying out online search. Therefore, Google, Bing and Yahoo integrated a desktop-first policy in designing its search algorithms. This meant that websites or blogs created with desktop interfaces in mind were ranked higher than those developed for mobile consumption. But a change has come.
Internet usage statistics in 2016 showed that the number of smart mobile devices used to access the web has now surpassed the desktop. Understanding this pivotal change, search engines are moving from a desktop-first approach to a mobile-first approach and SEO professionals must take note. The announcement of Google’s mobile-first indexing initiative foreshadows what is to come for business. A shift in perspective is needed for the 18 years of prioritizing desktop search over mobile is coming to its natural end. Therefore, SEO must first be optimized for mobile search instead of desktop, as we did in the old days.
Voice Search is making a Move
The case for voice search becoming the dominant method humans will employ in searching the web, is made by two major reasons; Bing’s pivotal move to capture the voice search market which will ignite Google’s competitive edge and secondly the type of home devices we currently use.
Machine learning has always played a huge role in a search engine’s predictive analytical abilities and as algorithms become more comfortable with learning and responding to voice commands, search techniques will continue to pivot towards voice searching.
And how can businesses take advantage of this? Web masters must recognise the disruptive abilities of voice search and plan towards incorporating them in their future plans in the coming years. As John Giannandrea, Senior VP of Search, at Google states, ‘understanding language will be the holy grail of machine learning.’
Local Search becomes more relevant
The stated rise in the use of mobile devices in conducting searches, querying home assisting devices or mobile assistance mean that most online search or queries will be local searches. Here, local searches mean queries carried out in search of businesses or services around the user’s vicinity. Therefore, special emphasis must be placed on local SEO by web masters looking to take advantage of all available business opportunities.
Local businesses can take advantage of the opportunity local search affords by targeting the market around them. Also taking into consideration the use of long-tail keywords to drive local search should also be considered as customers are more likely to conduct a search using the keyword ‘Pizza places around my street’ than simply ‘Pizza places’ when looking to order a quick Pizza.
As with all predictive analysis, nothing is set in stone which means this article made use of statistics and latest occurrences to predict some future search behavioural patterns. The purpose was to evoke thoughtful responses from web masters looking for new ways to conquer the web.
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.