Over the past two decades, the methods surrounding SEO have been constantly evolving and growing. But most significantly, it’s become an increasingly essential part of any solid digital marketing strategy. 61% of marketers say that improving SEO and growing their organic presence is their top inbound marketing priority.
UX as a focus
At this stage we all should know this – Google prioritises user experience. Search engines are becoming more and more customisable according to the user experience (UX). The rule of thumb is that, if the content is not engaging with the customers, you will miss them.
Find out what users like, their habits and their interests, and keep on learning. Powerful tools like Analytics and Search Console are essential – providing you with valuable insights about potential customers and how they interact with your content on search engines. Study what people actually want and understand what compels them to interact with your brand. Now more than ever, marketers need to empathise with humans and understand their behaviour to seamlessly deliver a successful search strategy.
The importance of AMP for ranking
A good mobile experience is vital for your site’s success. If we look at the stats, mobile has become our preferable device – and as such users look for speed and user-friendly sites. Thanks to mobile devices, the way we search, interact and buy has changed.
Google research shows that 53% of people will leave a site if it fails to load in three seconds or less. These research results have led to the development of the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project – seeking to provide users with faster loading speeds and additional visibility on the search results. Similarly, after the increase in mobile searches, Google started to operate a mobile-first index, meaning that the experience you deliver on mobile is key.
Currently, AMP is not a direct ranking signal. However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t influence your search or website performance. AMP content appears during mobile searches above the organic search results, providing a powerful feature. This option will entice users, not just because of its ranking but for its fast speed functioning. In summary, you definitely want to consider implementing AMP and keep ahead of the competition with your mobile site.
The emergence of AI
We know what current search engines do can be considered some form of AI. For example, when a user types certain words in the search box. This action makes Google bots crawl millions (or even billions) of websites and then an algorithm determines how relevant they are to the keyword the user just searched, among many other factors. As a result of this intelligent assessment, the search engine will rank the websites accordingly.
This process is essentially the one that works nowadays, but technology and search engines keep evolving. Machines are increasingly learning and understanding content more accurately – providing users with more efficient results. To achieve this, search engines update their algorithms over and over. How do they do this, you’d be wondering? It’s what’s called machine learning – machines are taught to create an optimal list from a set of possible outcomes, having to learn from each of the variables.
Machine learning will imply that search engines will eventually lead to the exact search result. From the marketing perspective, this is good news, putting the efforts into creating a relevant offer will pave the way for winning the SEO game. Keywords for sure, will still be important, but, as search engines become more intelligent, the relevancy and quality of content will be the top ranking factors.
There is no doubt that SEO is moving forward by leaps and bounds. It’s been evidenced that there is a significant need for a more creative and strategic approach, investing in long-term engagement. Despite all these major changes, some key fundamentals will stay the same – content will still need to be well-written and valuable and relevant, quality inbound links will be crucial.
We’re currently living in a world where a strong technological revolution is taking place – SEO has its part in these unstoppable changes. For this reason, it’s more important than ever to be up-to-date with the latest developments and adapt quickly to new scenarios. We’ll likely need to think like a machine, understand users better, and deliver the best brand and web experience. The last few years have proved that SEO is not all about technical skills – on the contrary, it’s requiring more creative attitudes and approaches – to stand out from the crowd and make progress in an incredibly competitive marketplace.
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