Having a great website which ranks high in the search engines is important, especially in today’s competitive business environment. Achieving top positioning can be a challenge for business owners, as search engine optimization is always changing. That said, this year has seen a round of shifts that are more profound and will be longer-lasting than the ones we’ve seen before.
Here are four ways that SEO is changing right now:
#1: SEO Isn’t Just Links and Content
It’s well known that good search visibility is no longer about cramming keywords on the pages and building up hordes of meaningless links. The reality is that these strategies won’t do much for you anymore, and in some cases can actually hurt your search engine positioning. Why? Google is taking a more contextual approach to search—one that incorporates searcher intent, search history, website relevance, and dozens of other factors into the way it organizes and displays results.
#2: Trust Indicators Matter
Because the Internet is still undergoing explosive growth—with millions of pages being added to the web every week—Google’s engineers are putting more energy into helping searchers find the best results, not just the ones that most closely match their search strings. As part of that effort, they are looking at trust indicators like the size and activity of your social networks, the amount of time visitors spend on a website, and external citations that demonstrate authority.
#3: Local and Timely Results Are Google’s Priority
All other things being equal, searchers prefer finding results that are local to their area and contain the most up-to-date information possible. Google has responded accordingly, factoring geographic location and recency into its search algorithms in a big way. It’s likely that these trends will continue and grow in the future, making it more and more important to target buyers in your area while adding new content, or refreshing what you have as part of your regular marketing routine.
#4: Mobile Search Factors
Mobile web users make up well over half of all Internet traffic, and they are changing search in a big way. Google has already changed its algorithm to prioritize mobile-friendly websites for certain searches, and voice search (found on many mobile apps) is leading to longer, more natural-language search strings. If your website isn’t responsive or primed for long-tail search traffic, you could be falling behind your competitors quickly.
While it’s true that SEO is always changing, there are times when changes are bigger and more important than at others. This is one of those times, and you will want to re-evaluate your website and search strategy.