Well, the SEO landscape has been rapidly changing in the past year. In our earlier post, we shared some interesting content marketing strategies which your business should adopt to stay ahead in the battle for traffic that is only expected to intensify as we enter into a new year.
In this post we are going to analyze some other trends that will impact significantly impact the SEO industry in the coming year. Also, we will look at some past strategies which were earlier effective but will have not have any major impact on user traffic in the coming years.
Mobile-The Defining Shift:
Google in 2015 and 2016 has already rolled out updates that gave ranking boosts to mobile-friendly websites and correspondingly penalizing those websites which were not optimized for mobile. According to most estimates, around 2/3rd of search traffic globally is on mobile and that percentage is only expected to increase in the future. So most online entities had started or implemented mobile optimization for their websites and blogs. Google is constantly updating its algorithm to respond to this tectonic shift in the consumption habits of users.
The most crucial change that is coming in which Google has already announced is ‘mobile-first indexing’. What this means is that the version of your website that appears on mobiles will be considered by Google as the original version for ranking purposes.
According to this report, Google has already started the ranking process for some web sites.
For these web sites, Google has set up what it termed as ‘classifiers’ or characteristics which help it to identify the mobile optimization level of a website. These estimate how close the mobile site experience is close to the website version terms of content, linking, website structure and multimedia effects such as infographics, videos, etc. If the website is found to be 100% similar based on these classifiers, it is moved to the new indexing format. Otherwise, the webmasters will be given time to modify their website to take it up to the desired level.
Google will be shortly releasing a blog post or a guide which will help webmasters to understand the finer points of this change and offer tips to adapt their website to this new search paradigm.
Time Given to Adapt:
Google has mentioned that they will slowly and steadily implement this change and give adequate time for websites to adapt as they do not want their search results to vary dramatically. The time it takes for them to completely launch this service should be taken as preparatory time by most businesses and websites in order to get the mobile versions of their websites as feature-rich as their desktop websites.
If your website is on a CMS such as Wordpress, it should not be too tough to optimize your site for mobile. If your website is on another platform or uniquely created, it is time to seriously give thought to the creation of a mobile website. Such a process will take time and your business will be positioned to take advantage of the impending change in Google’s algorithm. In the worst case scenario, such a step would act as online insurance to your firm in order to avoid further penalization by Google.
Well, if you are looking to setup a website for your organization in this year, our advice for you would be to visualize the design for your website for only mobiles, and implement mobile optimization strategies from the ground up. Thus, you would not need to modify the contents of your website later on.
Also, you can look at the list of top web designers and SEO firms compiled by adultSEOmaven in order to make an informed choice of the partner you should choose in order to help you optimize your website for mobile in the coming days.
Now we will come to the second part of the post on SEO techniques that you you should completely avoid from this day onwards as instead of helping, these might actually harm your online business.
The Rise of Interesting Content- Keyword Stuffing Must End:
One of the first techniques that you need to throw in the dustbin is keyword stuffing. The idea of stuffing your content with the target keyword in order to rank high on Google’s search engine result page (SERP) has been in vogue in the SEO industry for a very long while. But as Google goes all out in its quest to give the user the most relevant content, these long-used and misused techniques will finally need to go into cold storage.
You may need to mix and match your content with long-tail keywords and LSI keywords in order to indicate to Google the relevance of the page to the keyword that you have targeted. However, stuffing keywords in a manner that adds no value and too much use of linking using the keyword as anchor text is a recipe for a Google Penalty in the future. Google is now focused on finding content that solves answers for users and not content which is spammy and of no use to the user despite the fact that it might be keyword optimized and properly internally and externally linked.
Also, this implies that your keyword research must broaden out and you must use an increased number of tools to find the relevant keyword; and use all of them in your posts so that you can make your content more relevant and also to avoid prospective penalties. Brian Dean’s comprehensive guide on keyword research will give you plenty of ideas as to how to get a mish-mash of keywords so that you can succeed in SEO.
Some other SEO tricks such as spam comments on blogs and articles, irregular link building such as hidden links, and presence of copied content spun off using software are all no-nos as far as the next year is concerned. Use of them has been actively discouraged by the top SEO gurus and by adultSEOMaven for quite a long period now, but if you still continue to do, you do it at your own risk.
Your ad strategy is an essential part of your revenue generation model but you have to make sure that your ads are not spoiling the user experience. If they are, sooner or later get ready to be penalized. So, things like compulsory full page ads should be avoided as they might cause your business long-term harm.
Engage Users Socially:
On the other hand, meaningful engagement of users on the comments section of your blog and websites, social media, etc. is one of the major social signals that Google is paying attention to. Healthy and continuous interaction among you as the website admin and site visitors is one of the top signals that Google measures and as it keeps getting smarter;this factor will keep on gaining importance as this allows it to see which pages on SERPs are actually finding favour with audiences.
SEO is now moving to a new answer-based paradigm and with the advent of changes such as mobile first indexing, voice search, and increased use of tools such as AI and machine learning, Google is aiming at reducing chance of it being fooled by strategies earlier used successfully by many marketers.So your SEO thinking must also change if you are to succeed; if it operates on the same basis that it did earlier, you are going to lose valuable real estate on the first page of Google SERP’s.
As always, it was a pleasure sharing our ideas with our readers, and we would love to hear your thoughts on this post. Any ideas about what trends that you think will gain favor and what will fade out in the next year are warmly welcomed.