Another influx of changes to inbound marketing that businesses and your search engine optimisation (SEO) experts have to keep up with to stay competitive. From adjustments to Google’s search engine algorithms to new forms of content to write and generating reviews. Businesses should be aware of SEO trends that could significantly impact their traffic and revenue this year and beyond.
Here's what your business should know in 2017
1. Mobile Search is super important
One of the biggest trends this year is the rising importance of mobile search. Google is analysing and responding to how mobile device users are utilising their phones and tablets to search for products and services. This includes mobile-first indexing, signaling the move from the emphasis placed to desktop searches now on to mobile searches.
The engagement stats on mobile devices and the effect they have on search traffic around the world are hard to ignore. A Google report found more than half of users used their smartphone to actively research their purchases and 4 in 10 used search when they bought a product or service.
2. Quality over quantity
Google’s relentless drive for quality and engaging content, makes it critical that you are aware of the quality of your links and indexed content. Google is famous because of its infamous penalties for sites and their pages via changes to its search engine algorithms. In the past, Google has punished sites for an excess number of spammy links as well as low-quality content, sending page rankings plunging down below that coveted page 1.
Early this year, Google confirmed a new algorithm update called Fred that could penalise sites that put out low value content, SEO Round Table reported. The goal is to reduce page rankings for sites that create content with monetisation in mind, which may translate to low-quality content that is not relevant or helpful for users. As inbound marketing gravitates toward content that is meant to educate and inform users, businesses should reevaluate their content strategy if they are not already doing this.
3. Local SEO Continues to rise
With the growth of mobile search, local SEO is naturally becoming increasingly important. Mobile device users, whether at home or on the go, use this technology to perform queries related to local information, such as store addresses, hours and more.
Although the Google report, “Understanding Consumers’ Local Search Behavior,” is a few years old, it still echoes the need to improve local SEO to boost business visibility among mobile device users.
According to the report, half of consumers who made a local search on smartphones visited a store within a day, greater than the 1 in 3 who performed a search with desktops/tablets. This suggests mobile users are already prepared to either make a purchase decision or at least close to making one - something businesses should anticipate by posting their phone numbers for easy calling or have interactive maps for directions on their pages.
The need for better local SEO can also shift content strategy around paid ads. The same Google report found 4 in 5 consumers prefer to have ads that are relevant to their city, postcode or nearby surroundings.
4. Reviews are the new word of mouth
When star ratings are displayed in Google search results, prospective customers can instantly judge whether they can trust your product enough to visit your site. This helps increase the traffic, and possibly the sales, but it’s not always easy to achieve it.
Google relies on specific third-party review sites to determine your star rating. You should aim to have at least 30 unique reviews during the past year, with an average of 4.0 or higher.
Star ratings lead to an increased conversion rate of up to 17%, which is a great incentive to research more about them, for more information on how to increase local reviews here's some further information
5. Answer-Driven Content
Finally, SEO trends are moving toward content that answers specific questions. As an SEO best practice, your pages should already do this, but search engines like Google are more likely to reward sites that perform these functions. Google has a search engine tool called Featured Snippet Boxes that generates answers to search queries that are phrased as questions.
Website pages that are prominently highlighted at the top of the page -- also known as rank 0 -- do not have to be No. 1 on the rankings. However, they do have to create value for the user and clearly answer the question posed in search queries.
To improve your chances of being featured in a Snippet Box, format your pages to have scannable content, such as through bullet points. This makes it easier for search engines to read your page and determine whether it is relevant to user questions.
With these changes to look out for, businesses should keep up with SEO trends to maintain and grow their rankings and stay ahead of the competition.
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