The ongoing evolution of SEO content

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Like many other areas of digital marketing, SEO content has evolved a great deal over the last two decades. As search engines get smarter and algorithms get tougher, content has had to adapt in order for pages and websites to continue ranking in the SERPs.

Many websites that previously enjoyed top positions have found themselves pushed to the back, while others have battled to get ahead in the first place. Although content is one part of a far bigger picture within the SEO landscape, it is important enough to be a major deciding factor when search engines crawl websites.

Some of the biggest changes are set to affect future strategies in a big way. Others are already having an impact on your ranking. What are the biggest changes worth noting? Let’s take a look.

Web searches vs mobile and voice searches

Google has been very clear on its move towards mobile first indexing. This has changed content as well as keywords and even structure. The rise of mobile has paved the way for micro-moments, which Google outlines as I-want-to-know, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-do, and I-want-to-buy moments.

Voice search, meanwhile, is also on the rise, thanks to smart home technology and tools such as Alexa and Siri. This also changes the way that people access content. Search terms for mobile and voice are typically conversational, based on questions, location-based and pre-emptive.

Content that is designed to serve a purpose and provide genuine value in a way that is mobile and voice-friendly will fare better than content that is purely designed in an attempt to drive rankings.

Exact keyword matching vs intent matching

A huge part of this also comes down to intent matching. Rather than creating separate pages for each individual term you are trying to target, this means creating a single page that is tailored to searcher intent.

If keywords share the same intent, then they can be integrated naturally within the content, preferably in longtail variations that mimic natural searches rather than stilted exact match terms.

Keyword stuffing vs user experience

While driving traffic is still a major goal of SEO content, what is more important is keeping people on your site once they arrive. User experience applies to the overall experience, from load speed to engagement, content quality, how easy it is to find information, how easily CTAs are accessed, and even how easily the content can be read.

Keyword-heavy pages that are stuffed with terms that do not mirror natural searches are something that Google has begun to penalise heavily.

As technology continues to adapt, content is very likely to continue its evolution. The danger in getting left behind is that it puts you at risk of the chance to find new ways to improve your content in a way that engages your audience on a deeper level.

Feature image: Edho Pratama via Unsplash

Anton Koekemoer


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