SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is one of the most important components of digital marketing, as it focuses on generating organic traffic through the major search engines. While some aspects of SEO are considered best practice, like adding metadata to your posts, there are aspects of it that are here today and gone tomorrow.
So, let’s go through the major trends for the past and present year. As SEO continues to grow and evolve.
1. User Experience
When it comes to optimising ones site for the search engines, user experience (UX) is a substantial part of that. When we look at user experience, we’re considering the kind of experience a site offers to the end user. Ultimately, you want people to be able to find what they’re looking for, with very little hiccups.
A positive user experience can lead to more recommendations, which is more referral traffic. It can also lead to repeat customers.
User experience is a fairly broad subject that has many components and aspects to it. Webmasters ordinarily would be looking at things such as clarity, accessibility and site speed.
Of these three mentioned attributes, site speed, is one of the more commonly mentioned, and one that you should focus on.
2. Google’s BERT
SEO has evolved so much, over the past couple of years. With the introduction of BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) we’ve seen massive shifts in the SEO scene. BERT was first introduced to the scene in 2019, but it took several years before it really started to make its mark.
With the introduction of BERT, we saw a promise to leverage off natural language processing and advanced machine learning, for an enhanced understanding of the searchers intent. This means, for the vast majority of webmasters, they will need to consider doubling down.
BERT isn’t a fundamental change in the way content is presented to users in Google’s SERPs, it’s simply an addition, that leads to a more natural or conversational approach to its results.
This shouldn’t mean new approaches be adopted, however, as Google creates more and more additions (like BERT), webmasters will need to do their utmost to keep pace with these improvements, to ensure they properly leverage off it.
3. Original Content
Original content is basically any content that is created uniquely, whether by you or an organisation. Unique content can come in many forms, such as video, images, text or infographics.
One of the most vital components of high quality content is originality. Which is something you must focus on, if you want to rank well in the search engines.
So why does original content rank the best?
The first, and most obvious reason is because it’s content that hasn’t been published anywhere else on the internet. This makes it relevant, and fresh. Search engines want original content that provides users with the most up-to-date information and best user experience, and are willing to reward webmasters for producing it.
While on the surface, this may sound pretty easy, in reality, creating truly unique content can be rather difficult. Especially in a market that may be nearing saturation point.
So, when producing articles for your site, you want to ensure all content is entirely unique and 100% your own. Over time, you may also opt to add additional content and ideas to already existing articles. All of this helps to keep your site fresh.
One way a lot of companies end up falling victim to duplicate content issues, is when they use the same descriptions for their products, without making any unique adjustments to them.
4. Zero-Click Searches
Zero-click search has become a natural aspect of Google’s search engine, over the many years. However, since March 2020, Google has started to double-down on zero click searches.
To put it simply, Google wants their visitors to be able to find what they’re looking for, without having to click away from Google. Instead, the direct answer is presented on Google. So how does Google do this? Well, they do it by scanning your website, and finding the part of your content that answers the query of their user, then they display that at the top of the page. This way, the user finds what they were looking for, without having to go anywhere.
To help the end user better take advantage of all these features, Google has introduced new snippets that integrate your site into their engines. It is without a doubt, been one of the biggest trends over these past couple of years. Which is why you’ll want to focus on featured snippets for your site, if you want to get the very best rankings.
5. Quality over Quantity
One of the most effective ways to drive traffic to your website is through content. As it creatures the opportunities which leads to the web bots finding your site. However, when this happens, you don’t want to have content riddled with errors or stuffed keywords. When looking at quality content, there are two factors to consider:
Create content that adds value. Blogging is one of the most effective ways to do this. A post that is professionally written will provide your website with that required authority. You also want to focus on topics that are relevant to your website, while appealing to your viewer’s interests.
If you’re unable to put together content that peaks the interest of your customers, content that can help your site build more authority, then you’re better off outsourcing.
6. Website Security
As technology continues to advanced, so does our need for security, whether it be computer or website related. When ranking your website, Google takes security very seriously. The current trend for website security has continued to intensify over the past couple of years. As more and more threats enter the arena. If a viewer isn’t safe browsing your website, then they’ll simply leave. In turn, if your site becomes infected, then Google would simply blacklist it.
One way you can keep your site secure is by installing an SSL certificate. Other things include, double-checking the credibility of your hosting provider.
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website https://www.compuchenna.co.uk.