Google Is Changing – Is Your Business Ready?

SEO in 2018 is looking pretty futuristic. With search engines getting smarter, Google answering more queries directly on results’ pages and the increase of voice-activated search, some are worried their optimisation strategy may need to change drastically. Here’s what you need to know. Search engines like Google and Bing are learning to understand content better and are aiming to satisfy users’ needs as best as they can. This is exactly what you should have in mind if you want your website to rank higher in search results next year.

Let’s see what interesting SEO trends 2018 has in store for us, and what you can do to be ready:

More people are using voice search
What happens when you’ve got a burning question but no one’s around? Just ask your phone, all the cool kids are doing it! Seriously. Voice activated search is increasing rapidly thanks to voice recognition software used in mobile devices and home speakers. Already 55% of teens and 40% of adults use voice search on a daily basis, plus it’s predicted that by 2020 half of searches will be voice activated. The rising popularity of this trend is inevitable. The mere fact that you no longer need to type a query in a search box to get answers makes voice search fast and convenient for busy bees. In addition, multitasking addicts have increased flexibility as they are able to ‘Google’ something while doing any other activity, like searching for “pizzerias near me” while writing a blog post perhaps…

What does this mean for you?
We’ll let you in on a little secret: most of the voiced results are actually results that are displayed a featured snippet. Just remember this: if you rank well organically, you’ll stand a higher chance of being read out as a voice result. Having Highstreet Media’s SEO service will for sure help with the first part of getting found organically.

More focus is put on searcher intent
Searchers come to Google The Wise to ask for many different things. Whether it’s “why does a mosquito bite itch” or “evening party dresses,” it’s important to understand what the user’s intention is, and what type of answer should be provided. For example, if you search for the latter, I doubt you’d want the definition of “evening party dresses,” but rather, the option to purchase a dress. In this case, the results will show you a selection of e-commerce shops. Or, if you type in the query “makeup tutorial,” the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) will show you videos rather than plain text results. Why is that? Many suspect that Rank Brain is involved in providing better results and is closely watching searcher’s behavior. So for example, if many click on one result over the other, it will understand that this is the type of content the user wants to see, and it will show more of those type results. Just so you know, Rank Brain is not one of the new ‘Marvel’ villains, but it’s actually an artificial intelligence program made by Google and is used to process queries. In addition to being able to understand user SERP behavior, they have a mechanism for understanding semantics, and relationships between topics and queries. This means that it can understand that ”evening party dresses” and “wedding guest outfit” are very similar in meaning. It’s still important to use keywords in your content, but search engines are getting much smarter, which means you don’t need to fixate on ranking but rather on the searcher’s needs.

What does this mean for you?
If you look really closely, Google is trying to give us subtle hints as to what searchers want to see as results. Back to our “makeup tutorial” example, if you know that videos are in the top results, you know you should create a video if you want to compete for this keyword. Or if you want to target “evening party dresses”, creating an infographic about “How to Make an Evening Party Dress” will not perform very well on the results page. Video is going to be huge in 2018 so let us help you create some video content for your business.

More importance is given to mobile
Yes, you’ve heard us say this a lot, but it’s too big to ignore. Mobile matters. Period. Based on the stats (and the scene at most coffee shops), you’re probably reading this from your smartphone too. Mobile devices are not only used to check your Instagram likes, but also to ‘Google’ things on the go. Already more than 50% of searches are done via mobile devices, and this number will only continue to grow. Mobile search has grown so much, there has been a lot of talk about starting to rank websites by their mobile version, instead of the desktop one. Although the change will happen very gradually, you should know that your mobile site has an impact on your SEO. On top of this, Google is also on the lookout for AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) pages. This format, dedicated to blog posts and articles, enables super fast loading when clicked on from search results. On top of offering the readers a better experience, it also improves the SEO of the websites using them. A win-win situation.

What does this mean for you?
First of all, you need a killer mobile website. Fortunately, if you use Highstreet Media for your web design, we can create a beautiful mobile site for you, that will be user friendly and SEO ready.  So if you don’t have a mobile responsive website already – this should definitely be top of your list for 2018

If you want to discuss any of the above with one of our friendly team please do’t hesitate to get in touch – we’ll be happy to help

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