The phrase “Search Engine Optimization” is often thought of as shorthand for “tricking Google into giving your site a good ranking”. As we all know, Google operates via a series of closely guarded algorithms, designed to identify value in a piece of web content. Traditionally, this has meant that you can artificially raise the ranking of your site by cramming oft-searched phrases into a piece of content – for instance, two hundred references to “naked celebrities” in an article about daffodils.
These days, the algorithms are far cleverer when it comes to identifying quality. This means that in 2016, implementing good SEO is far less about “tricking” search engines into rewarding your page, and more about producing effective content that truly satisfies a user’s needs. Here are four SEO trends that will help you do that.
Last year, we saw a huge push towards mobile-friendly content from Google. Melodramatically dubbed “Mobilegeddon” by many in the tech community, this push reflected something we’re all aware of as consumers: the widespread availability of smartphones. Because more and more people are using their smartphones to do everything, Google has wisely chosen to crack down on content that isn’t mobile-friendly (whilst rewarding content that is). We can expect this trend to continue in 2016, with higher rankings given to content that is both readable, and easily loaded on a mobile. Other tips include avoiding Flash and pop-ups, and creating mobile responsive web design – in other words, a site that is tailored to fit all devices.
Video is the new black
With the huge success of apps such as Vine, Snapchat and Periscope, video looks set to really take off in 2016. This is partly because the visual is gradually catching up with the verbal as the most popular and easily-consumed form of content. Google looks set to cleverly exploit this trend by introducing video ads in its search results, so it’s definitely an area worth looking into.
Digital assistants are changing everything
Search engines are increasingly getting requests from digital assistants such as Siri and Cortana, which in turn is changing the way in which information is demanded. Think, for instance, of the difference between typing “cheap holiday France” into Google, and asking Siri “What’s the cheapest holiday I can get in France?”. The upshot of this change is that Google could start to reward content reflecting the language used in these requests – and could even start to penalize sites that don’t lend themselves to these sorts of searches.
Satisfying user intent
As Google’s algorithms become more sophisticated, they can more easily identify content that actually fulfills a user’s needs. For instance, Google now keeps tabs on how well a user interacts with your page after they’ve clicked onto it. Ultimately, satisfying user intent is easier said than done, because we can’t know what every user who comes to a site will want. Having said that, this new trend gives us all the opportunity to take a step back from the content we’re producing, and to think about who we’re making it for – and what we really want it to do. In other words? We could all do with a bit more clarity of vision.
If all that’s gone over your head, don’t worry. At Paradigmmedia, we offer SEO consultations that can help to reshape the way your site produces content, bringing in new users and helping your business rise in the Google rankings. If you’re interested in getting an SEO assessment, click here to visit our site where you’ll find Search Engine Optimization packages and pricing.