In the first part of this feature we made a number of predictions for SEO in the coming year, including the increasing importance of user experience in determining organic rankings, the importance of optimizing your site for mobile and avoiding black hat tactics. In this feature we’ll be discussing further developments to give a more well-rounded picture of the year to come.
Understanding user intent will be key
It’s not news that high conversion-rates, a steady flow of click-throughs and diminutive bounce-rate all serve to elevate your site through the rankings. But the advent of Google’s Hummingbird algorithmic update signals a major paradigm shift, as it brings the semantic dimensions of content into sharper focus. Gone are the days of content farms, and SEOs should no longer see website copy as a static cluster of keywords.
Rather, they should view it as a dynamic repository of semantic meaning, broadcasting to the world how their company can answer people’s needs. If you sell tea-cosies online for example, there’s more you can do to define your services than simply state “I sell tea-cosies” throughout the copy on your website. Yes, it does answer a potential client’s needs, but there’s so much more you could communicate. If you make bespoke embroidered tea-cosies to order, say so. If you can provide same-day delivery, make that crystal clear. That way, anyone who searches “Where can I get a customized tie-dye tea-cosy today?” is likely to stumble upon your site first.
In order to grasp this mind-set, it is important to look to a few key resources
- Localization results
- Suggestions provided by auto-complete
- SERPs (search engine results pages)
Drawing upon this data will be crucial to honing in on your ideal clients’ needs, allowing you to meet their expectations through your content and drive traffic to your site.
More incremental changes in Google’s algorithms
As mentioned above Google’s Hummingbird update represented a major overhaul, introducing a more semantically-driven, conversational form of search. While change still represents the only constant in the digital realm, it is difficult to see any changes of this scale pulling the rug from beneath people’s feet. However, as any seasoned SEO will tell you, Google are always tweaking their services in order to maintain relevance and market position. You can bet that the spam-killing Penguin algorithms will continue to be refined, and their frequently updated Panda algorithm will become better and better at identifying spam. You can’t sit back on your laurels, but it’s certainly safe to say that quality content and lots of it will help you maintain prominence in their rankings.
SEO will become more search engine agnostic
Though Google still retains the lion’s share of the market, there are some signs that this is no time to remain complacent. Google’s partnership with Apple’s browser is set to expire, and no doubt other companies are lining up to succeed them. Already Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has made her intentions clear in this regard, and if this plan comes to fruition this would represent a major blow for the company. This should be of real concern to the company considering Mozilla’s recent defection to Yahoo. As their popular browser Firefox represents over 10% of the market, these could be the first stirrings of a sea-change in the search engine market.
To avoid putting all their eggs in one basket, it’s imperative that companies concerned with their online visibility should work on keeping their rankings afloat on all major search engines.
And Finally, Inspiration will turn 15!
With the wealth of experience we’ve gained from our (gulp) 14-and-a-bit years in the business, Inspiration Marketing can help your business weather the changes in Search Engine optimization. Contact our experts to find out more.