Keep Cool With These Hot SEO Trends
It’s August here in Arizona, and despite the occasional monsoon thunderstorm (and accompanying dust storm), the heat is on! While we stay huddled in our air-conditioned homes, cars and offices, we decided to turn up the heat on some of this year’s hottest SEO trends.
And who better to talk to about the latest SEO happenings than our very own Brandon Alisoglu, Digital Current’s newest SEO Strategist? Brandon gave us his perspective on some of the industry’s leading topics and cutting-edge updates. Ready to dive in?
SEOs and digital content creators have to think about how search engines, devices and humans will be accessing their content in the future (and today). Ensuring accessibility that accounts for understanding and categorization is key.
Voice search plays into this trend, especially considering the speakable markup announcement from Google earlier this summer:
“This is likely that reminder you set on your phone,” Brandon says. “You know you’ll do it one day, but you’ve been punting on it for months. We have to keep voice possibilities closer toward the front of our minds. While the current environment is full of unknowns, and there’s no validated way to optimize for voice search yet, the speakable markup is a reminder that it’s coming. The feature is only available for news publishers right now, allowing them to markup certain parts of their content that seem appropriate for a voice response. Google loves to test things in small niches (like we all should) before rolling out to everyone.”
Brandon’s advice? “Start testing out FAQs where you can, especially locally, and start targeting featured snippets.”
It’s also important to consider updated, category-specific rich snippets that are continually bringing searchers immediate answers and bypassing the oft-sought after “click through.”
“It’s Google’s world, and we’re all trying to figure out how best to live in it,” Brandon says. “The cliché that ‘content is king’ has been usurped by ‘the SERP is your new homepage.’ It’s true, but everything about where the internet is moving declares that context will be king — with content and the SERPs still holding regal, but lesser, titles. So, we must continuously adapt and create conversions on Google’s pages as they continue to wipe out click-through opportunities.”
While informational search is still Google’s domain, other major players have joined the search game, each with their own rules and best practices, including:
- Video Search: YouTube
“Considering Google has owned YouTube since 2006, there’s little doubt that the voice market will eventually cross onto the world’s most-popular video platform,” Brandon says. “The ability to rank for featured snippets with more and more videos seems an obvious tell.”
- Ecommerce: Amazon
“The marketplace is flooded with products and the content they bring, but Amazon has made a heavy investment in AI and machine learning. The future of voice, AR and VR are all possibilities to look out for. In the meantime,” Brandon advises, “build up as many genuine — and hopefully positive — reviews as possible to keep yourself competitive.”
- Social: Facebook
“Creating organic branded content on Facebook is on the other side of the golden era, so either be patient and build organic engagement or feed the corporate beast via ads. Other features, like Facebook Live, are a great way to build an audience,” Brandon suggests. “Just be sure to include a relevant call to action when appropriate to send traffic to your site and social-engagement signals to the search engines.”
- Engagement Over Clicks
Search engines (and consumers) are tired of click-bait. Both are expecting (nearly demanding) content be engaging — and search engines are measuring this. It’s become a core predictor of content value. Part of the reason for this shift — searchers are more savvy, and keeping up with their search intent is a key factor in any SEOs strategic approach.
“Simple keyword research is a thing of the past. But keywords themselves are alive and well,” assures Brandon. “Like anything worthwhile, they require more effort now to attain. You owe it to yourself or your clients to take the extra time to evaluate the SERPs. Find out what kind of content is ranking to answer the searcher’s question, and how you can provide an even better answer. Maybe it’s a full video (don’t forget a transcription!) or just a simple list.”
And yes, it’s still about creating useful, engaging and relevant content.
“Just make sure it’s genuinely useful,” he continues. “Simply writing about a subject to appear relevant won’t work anymore. Users will pogo-stick (jump in and out of your content without interacting) at a high rate, which usually signals to the algorithm that you don’t have the answer the searchers seek.”
Anticipating the Future
What about next moves? Where do we go from here? We may not have a crystal ball, but there are a few things we can keep in mind.
Brandon’s recommendation: “Put yourself in the searcher’s shoes. If you were typing those keywords, what would you need to come away satisfied? If they’re trying to tear up their living room floor, then they probably need to know how to install a new one. Address the original question, and then answer the next two or three questions that would naturally follow. Take the extra time upfront to think through the entire customer journey — and then crush the competition by providing value at every possible touchpoint.”
What SEO trends are you following closely?