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Keeping up with Google. From content to 5 big SEO shifts – the trends and consequences


Things changes, and with Google it’s never truer. Over the past five years marketers had to adjust to all the changes, from the rolling out of major algorithm updates to shifting to mobile-first. All of these changes had one goal: to provide the best possible search experience to users. In the end it benefits the user, as it gives them the best content at the right time, on the right device, as fast as possible.

Clever marketers have understood that to keep up with the changes and Google’s ever changing algorithms, they need to focus on quality and content. Those who do not, well, they struggle. As such, these nifty marketers are aligning themselves to the goals of Google, by providing content that engages, and finds a foot hold with the readers’ needs.

But with changes you need to look to the future, to where Google will be heading over the next months, and years. This also means mastering the five SEO shifts that are coming so you can remain ahead of the competition.

Shift 1: Moving from SEO to SEO + content convergence

Gone are the days where mere SEO will lead to success. SEO should combined intelligent content that engages the reader to be successful, but what is more memorable.

Do master this shift, marketers should focus on these 3 points:

  • Make sure that the content is based on real data. The core purpose of content marketing is to spread data. Without it, it has no purpose. To aid you, you should compile performance indicators to mark the rate of your success. Focus on defining your audience, the engagement and conversion metrics that are relevant to your brand. Then track and measure them, in the process you can gain insights which you can use to create more eloquent content that the reader wants.
  • Combine your search, social and content efforts. The reason is simple, you want to meet your goals and objectives. For instance, if you keep in mind what your SEOs are when crafting your content, it will mean more people will have the likelihood to see it. So too your content can be boosted by social media that in turns creates demand that you can harvest via search.
  • Increase your SERP – search engine results page footprint. Focus on trendy topics, or eye catching infographics or gripping videos. Utilizing media that catches the attentions of a user will let the brand sand out from the crowd. You can then optimize your SERP with links, images and tweets.

Shift 2 – From mobile to mobile first

Nothing new, Google warned that marketers should focus on mobile first and in 2015 it became a reality with the event of mobile searches surpassing desktop. The implication is that your brand needs to be mobile ready if you want to capitalise on mobile micro-moments. Here’s how:

  • Understand that it’s a mobile first world out there. You can lose 68% traffic is you aren’t focused on mobile optimization. That’s a heavy drop in a competitive global trading world. You consequently need to grasp your mobile user’s behavior and intent. Plus, you should ensure that you are delivering to what they want. If you don’t, then you will lose money, and market share to the competition.
  • Make sure your SEO is rocking. It’s cool that you have a fancy and user-friendly mobile site, but it must load fast. 53% of mobile users will churn a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. To overcome this, apply SEO best practices of image optimization, JavaScript etc.
  • Be clever about mobile content. Content should be informative, engaging and useful. Your brand should align itself with that ethos. In the end you could influence the user’s decision which could lead to higher sales.

Shift 3 – Moving from the local sphere to hyperlocal

Marketers can target people based on their location, by using hyperlocal targeting. The implication is that searches become hyperrelavent and hypervalueble. This is what you should be doing:

  • Own local search. Important search data, such as names, address, telephone numbers, and directions, should be easy to find.
  • Hyperlocal optimization is vital. Did you know that Google’s personalized hyperlocal results prioritize smaller geographic locations? So, create localized content and landing pages, optimize your Google My Business page, monitor the performance of your local keyword ranking and use local company Schema mark up.
  • Grasp the connection between mobile and local. There is a 50% higher chance of mobile users to go to a company if they do local searches on their handsets. To tap into this, you need to optimize your site for the mobile users, thus keeping in mind their needs and expectations.

Shift 4 – Moving from text to voice

Listen, 20-25% of mobile searchers are conducted by voice using virtual assistants like Siri or Alexa. So keep this in mind:

  • Since voice searches are questions. Marketers should identify high-intent keywords, and optimize content that answers these questions to make sure that the brand is searchable in the changing SERPs.
    As virtual assistant technology is improving, more people are using it. Besides, it’s faster to speak than to type. It is argued that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be conducted by voice. It’s vital that you make sure that you are ready.
  • For voice searches to work better and they use semantics, search history to improve the results. Thus use intelligent agents make sure the content is aligned with the user’s patterns.

Shift 5 – moving from data to machine learning

RankBrain, is used by Google to sort data and deliver the most accurate results. Marketers too need to make use of machine learning to grasp its target audience better and provide them with personalized content that they want. So this is what you should be doing:

  • You should invest in artificial intelligence and machine learning to deal with analyzing data, so you can focus on producing engaging content. Use the insight reports used by machine learning and artificial intelligence to improve your content.
  • You should also improve your metrics by making them more brand specific. In turn you can gather where you can improve from your content to SEOs.

Closing note

SEO and content is vital for a successful integrated digital strategy. The 5 shifts above could ensure you are creating engaging, smart content which is worth the effort and investment.


Related: Read here for tips on increasing engagement levels.

Picture of Virginia Sagal

Virginia Sagal

Virginia is a business consultant who specializes in the digital economy.

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