If you’ve been in the SEO game for any amount of time, you know that you can never take your foot off the pedal. On this digital highway, things are changing all the time. Search engines have to keep up with consumer’s changing online habits, and they adjust their algorithms appropriately.
Loading times are becoming increasingly important for ranking score.
That means to get the most out of the SEO efforts that you need to know what these latest trends are. The last couple of years have been crucial in shaping Google, and other engine’s, policies. In most cases, these are directly linked to how user’s internet habits are evolving.
Read more: What’s Expected of Marketing in 2020
If you want to stay on top, take a look at the most significant ways that Search Marketing is changing.
Google’s Getting Smarter Than Ever
With a majority of the search market share, Google is and will stay the search engine to focus on. While that won’t change any time soon, Google is always updating their ranking algorithm.
One way in which this changes the game is when it comes to content and link building. Google is becoming better at recognizing fakes, plagiarism, and sponsored (as opposed to earned) links. Following this, it’s becoming harder to game the system using strategies like buying backlinks. Tools like Link Tracker Pro allow you to monitor your backlinks and detect if the backlinks built are healthy or toxic.
Read more: Seizing AI’s Opportunities in the 2020s
You Can No Longer Ignore Performance and User Experience
In fact, Google has rolled out a number of critical updates in the last two years. Firstly, loading times are becoming increasingly important for your ranking score. Slow loading times lead to users abandoning sites and affects the user experience.
Obviously, Google wants to give users the best experience possible, which is why they are making user performance metrics a critical part of their rankings.
Google aside, slow loading times or bad user experience will also affect the performance of your search results. Even if you get a high ranking, what does it help if users abandon your site out of frustration?
Users are even pickier on mobile, with up to 53% abandoning sites that take more than 3 seconds to load.
Mobile Is Officially More Important That Desktop
Mobile traffic now makes up over 50% of all internet traffic. Most emerging markets that expect the highest near-term (Africa and Asia) growth are also mobile-first markets. That means thinking about how mobile users use search engines should be your priority for the future.
Google themselves are prioritizing mobile. Recent updates have introduced mobile-first indexing and mobile-first performance ranking. This means that in most cases, the mobile version of your site is even more important for rankings than the desktop version. Mobile e-commerce is another fast-growing industry with more and more people (especially young adults) buying a mobile. The same goes for related industries like push-to-call commerce.
There is also a strong correlation between mobile and local search. Mobile searchers looking for businesses in their area usually have serious intent to visit a store or make a purchase. This means your Google My Business listing should be up-to-date and you should be easy to find on Maps.
Text Search Is so 2010’s
Image and Video search aren’t exactly brand new, but they are growing in use. With the higher availability of data, better speeds, and busier lifestyles, people are turning to these intuitive search methods.
Voice Search is touted to be the next big thing by many digital marketers. With the rise of voice-based home assistants like Google Home, Alexa, Echo, etc. it’s easy to see why. Some even estimate that as many as 50% of searches will be by voice in 2020.
Previously, one of the big barriers to Voice search was its inaccuracy. However, this will change as the underlying technology improves.
But, How Do You Optimize for Voice Search?
Luckily, it’s not as hard as you might think. Google will do most of the text-to-speech and vice-versa translation. However, you’ll need to think about natural language and how you can incorporate it more via long-tail keywords, etc. Other Voice search changes will be to think about how and where people use Voice search and how you should adapt your content and structure it appropriately.
Are You Ready for the Future?
If you keep an eye out for the signs, the future of Search Marketing is already here. The changes have already been implemented and are sure to gain even more traction over the near future. Start working them into your strategy today so that you don’t get behind. Good luck!