MTN has announced the launch of the MTN Online School, a free online portal with learning resources and lessons, as well as additional tools…
Is SEO dead? If you are an online marketer, you must have come across this question on a myriad of forums. In fact, a quick search on Google will give you over 44-million results. The argument — by those who feel that SEO is not important — revolves around the lack of clear-cut guidelines by search engines on their ranking algorithms.
One thing to appreciate is, of course, the seismic changes in the rules for SEO. This doesn’t mean online marketers should sit back, but instead the task is now to learn these new rules and incorporate them in their SEO strategies. Those who argue that SEO is dead believe no one really knows what search engines are after, but while this might be cliché, ignorance is no defense.
Search engines are regularly updating their algorithms but there is no denying that your website has to be highly optimized for such changes in order to rank highly. In fact, analysts argue that it’s time to embrace emerging SEO trends in order to enjoy a higher ROI.
Why SEO matters
In order to appreciate the importance of SEO for your business, take a minute to search using your target keyword. Now look at the top ranking websites and visit each. Take a few minutes time to check the next page of the search engine result page (SERP). Do you notice any difference? Of course the top ranking pages will be more navigable and they will also feature high-quality content. The design is likely impressive and there are many other features that enhance the user experience.
SEO is an ongoing process that tries to get your website up-to date with any search engine algorithm changes. More importantly, the objective is to increase traffic to your website while also improving your SERP ranking for the targeted keyword.
Crucial trends to look out for
So what is new in SEO?
As an online marketer, you must have your feelers out for any trend that can ameliorate your SEO strategy. With ongoing changes in search algorithms, you have to stay updated regarding any forthcoming changes or predictions in the market that can help you fine-tune your current strategy.
Here are some of the news and trends to look out for.
Continued dominance of video
Videos make up 62% of Google searches universally according to Marketing Land, but the importance of visuals is expected to grow exponentially. This form of marketing is highly rated by marketers due to its versatility and easy sharing. With more viewership now on mobile devices, analysts argue that this is going to be the in thing in online marketing. Online video, according to Jayson DeMers writing on Forbes, is going to overtake written content.
Time to go mobile
Mobile optimization is the way forward as desktop optimization takes a backseat. Your websites have to be mobile-friendly. In fact, responsive web design has greatly revolutionized how this is going to be achieved as businesses don’t have to build different websites for different devices. Mobile searches have already surpassed desktop searches according to Google Adwords, and it is now time for users to enjoy the mobile experience across all devices.
The rise of digital assistants
Most smartphone users already have Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana or Google Now, depending on their OS. These digital assistants are now permeating search and more companies are bound to develop them. The idea is to ensure your content is easily searchable by these assistants as more people embrace them due to convenience and functionality.
Rich answers to rise
There is an observable increase in Google’s return for rich answers and this is bound to increase as user experience takes centre stage. According to Stone Temple Consulting, Google returns such answers for 35% of queries which is an increase of about 38% over the last half-year. How you get traffic from Google search is going to change and your SEO strategy has to be built around this new approach.
The prominence of social content
Try searching your brand’s name. Most likely you have noticed your Facebook ranks higher than your company’s website. This is going to be the trend on search engines with content from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media platforms gaining prominence.
More marketers are using social media to boost SEO strategies and it is working. Social content is now readily indexed and if your business is not capitalizing on this easy strategy, you are missing out big time. Social posts are going to carry more value similar to your web pages and it is time to integrate social media in your SEO strategies.
Consumers are now looking for richer sources that provide relevant information including maps, social media, news and videos. Content aggregation helps you leverage this appetite for information. It’s a practical way of identifying, collating, presenting and sharing your content around a specific keyword to the target audience. The idea is to make it easier for the users to identify you as an authority source for high-quality information.
Mobile apps to continue their growth
With more users now on smartphones, it’s time to jump on the mobile app bandwagon. According to TechCrunch, apps account for 52% of the time spent viewing online digital media.
There is much more happening in the capricious world of SEO and as an online marketer, you have to stay up to date. For instance, local SEO is taking centre stage, while focus on customer experience is bound to continue being a key search engine ranking determinant.
As an online marketer, have to appreciate the dynamic nature of the SEO industry in order to incorporate emerging techniques into your long-term SEO strategy.