SEO best practices are in a state of perpetual evolution. Things change—things like Google’s algorithm. Also, the behavior of people searching for stuff on the web. Here is an update to keep you on top of developments.
Voice search is popular. Apparently, people like to talk.
Let’s face it: talking is a lot easier than “typing” on a glass screen and then fixing all the misspelled words. So people are doing a lot more talking to Google. Interestingly, spoken searches are much more likely to be long-tail. (A long-tail search would be something like “red polka-dot sneakers” vs. just “sneakers.”) Research shows that people who use long-tail search terms tend to be in the consideration stage and are therefore more likely to convert than someone just kinda thinking about maybe buying some sneakery-type footwear.
Featured snippets are the kings of SERP.
Google puts featured snippets at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs). Featured snippets are summaries of an answer to a query. The Google algorithm is doing its best to serve up the info it “thinks” you’re looking for. The algorithm is often right. Like, a majority of the time. The bad news for marketers is that if a searcher gets what she needs from the featured snippet, her search is done. Marketers can strive to draw in the curious searcher by using question-based queries and keywords.
Marketers can strive to draw in the curious searcher by using question-based queries and keywords.
Influencers gonna influence.
You know who they are—the personalities that promote products on social media, based on their curation of all the options out there. Online users respond to the authenticity, compared to online ads, which are naturally viewed as biased. How do influencers influence SEO? They can increase traffic, which in turn boosts SERP rankings. The “influencer” strategy doesn’t work for every brand. In addition, if it’s not executed properly—if it fails to align with the needs of your audience—the effort yields disappointing results. However—if you make sure your influencer is already engaged with your audience, and if you have content on your website aimed at the “influenced,” the backlinks you gain can convey all-important authority to Google and thereby enhance your SEO efforts.
BERT is more interesting than it sounds.
It’s an acronym, obviously. It stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. Now that we’ve cleared that up, we’ll move on. Kidding! BERT is a major modification to the Google algorithm that makes it respond better to natural language. You can’t really optimize for BERT, except to create captivating, real content that your audience will actually find interesting. This is really good for everybody. It keeps marketers on their toes, and keeps audiences interested.
Video is the content that keeps on giving.
Writing words about the SEO value of video is semi-contradictory. We’re going to assume you get the idea, and leave it at that.
Google likes high-quality, longish content.
This means that stuffing your website or blog or other content channel with keywords will please nobody. Google does like longish content (XXXX words or more per item), because it suggests the content is more than a keyword-crazy snippet of nonsense.
Stuffing your website or blog or other content channel with keywords will please nobody.
Mobile search isn’t going anywhere.
You, yourself, are searching more on your phone than you used to, right? Well, everybody else is doing the same thing. It’s not going to change. Our smartphones are now our right arms. In fact, they are scheduled to bypass the “right arm” level sometime in 2020. Of course we just made that up but surely you get the undeniable point. Make your SEO efforts mobile-friendly or pay the consequences, using your outmoded left arm.