A Look at the Future of Search
The SEO landscape is constantly evolving. What will be the biggest trends and gamechangers in the coming year?
Advances in technology, evolving demographics and changing user habits are just three of the factors that make the SEO and digital marketing space such a moving target.
Here, we have asked our top digital marketing consultants at Freelance SEO Essex to pull out their crystal balls and run through the topics that will shape the SEO world over the coming 12 months and beyond.
The effects of machine learning are being felt across the entire technological spectrum, and SEO is no different. Google uses RankBrain as a core component of its algorithm. Site owners can derive more detailed insights to fine tune their SEO campaigns using machine learning to get the most out of the growing data resources that are available.
A direct consequence of machine learning is that virtual PAs are smarter and more useful than they have ever been. Alexa, Siri and friends are rapidly making voice search the norm. This means your SEO efforts need to be more focused than ever. Now is the time to really go through those keywords and look to incorporate more of a natural language approach with phrases designed to optimise for conversational search.
Compound and implicit queries
With search become more a matter of conversations than discrete keyword queries, the notion of compound queries raises its head. This is where one query leads to another and Google takes cues from the entire conversation to lead to the best result. Implicit queries take this to the next level, where Google takes cues from your search history, location and numerous other factors to get a better handle on what you want.
Data driven search
There is a growing trend for search engines to go a step beyond finding the best site to meet your need and instead to provide the answer themselves. This can be seen when you ask for the latest football score, the weather or the next train home. The implications for SEO are dramatic – traditional models break down when the search engine is providing the answer instead of your site.
In the brave new world, some things remain constant. It is easy to make the mistake of assuming site speed is less important in today’s superfast fibre optic broadband age. The truth is, people are simply less patient than they ever were, and loading times should be the first thing you check as part of a broader SEO audit, particularly with mobile browsing now being the platform of choice.
This might be the smartphone age, but most users do not use their phones exclusively. The same user might visit your site on phone, tablet, laptop and even smart watch, and then share it with others who also use different devices. Cross device optimisation will become increasingly important as the range of devices grows.
PPC is a vital aspect of any SEO strategy, but the way users experience and interact with ads is changing. Ad blockers have always been around, but like everything else, they are smarter and increasingly tailored to the user. Speak to our PPC consultant to ensure your campaign is getting you the right exposure and the best possible ROI.
CRO (conversion rate optimisation) is quickly becoming one of the most important aspects of digital marketing. Delivering more traffic to a website that struggles to convert visitors into customers is often a wasted effort. Many businesses are starting to accept that it is far more important to optimise pages to convert well than it is to receive more visitors.
CRO, along with UX (user experience) has been with us since the start of the Internet and the very first websites. Steve Krug’s text, Don’t Make Me Think, was, and still is, the go to book on improve a website’s usability. Although his text is now 18 years old, the core concepts remain unchanged.
We now perform CRO checks for all our clients as part of our SEO health check, and we are finding that this often leads to an instant increase in business. We’ll be discussing the role of CRO and how we analyse and implement UX changes in our next blog post.