According to a recent estimate, the internet contains more than 6.08 billion pages, and even though the internet has been around since 1991, making it almost 30 years old, 90 percent of the data available to us on the internet today has been generated over the past two years alone! With this picture in mind, one can only imagine the amount of data that will be generated over the next five years, especially when the Internet of Things becomes a more prominent part of our lives.
As a result of all this, people tend to have problems navigating the internet on their own; it’s just too big. So, they resort to websites like Google that indexes and organizes the internet, making it more manageable and browsable. A company like Google, on its part, has to process more than 40,000 searches every second just to help the world manage the chaotic entity that is the internet.
So, what does this all mean for companies and brands entering the new decade?
Well, unless you’re the largest or second-largest player in your niche, it can be very difficult for people to find you online. This is why SEO is so important; it gives companies a fighting chance to be found by the public. However, given how competitive the market can be, almost every company out there is using SEO best practices to stay ahead of the competition. So, it is no longer enough to incorporate SEO into your digital marketing strategy; it is necessary to stay up to date on all the latest trends happening in the field. Otherwise, your company will get outranked, and your site will get lost among all the other sites out there, like a needle smothered by a haystack.
SEO trends for the new decade:
- Optimizing for voice search:
Over the past few years, voice search has been increasing in popularity, so much so that more than 40 percent of US adults today use it. This increase can be attributed to the proliferation of smartphones and home voice assistants, like Amazon Echo and Samsung Smart TV.
Now, the rising popularity of voice search affects SEO practices. Whereas typing a search query led to the adoption of keyword strategies, voice search means that search queries are born more conversationally, resulting in terms that are more conversational in nature and keywords that are longer than their short and choppy predecessors.
- Content, content, content:
Even though ads can be an effective tool, their rising costs can make them very prohibitive for a lot of companies. Ergo, being found organically is all the more important, and this is where content comes in.
Content can come in one of the following formats: audio, video, images, and the written word. Regardless of the format, your content has to be of the highest quality. It has to be thoroughly researched, relevant to what your users want, and structured in a logical fashion that is easy to follow.
When it comes to articles, you want them to be informative and concise; people tend to go to Google with a question, and your articles need to help the audience answer these questions as quickly as possible. So, you should avoid language that comes across as too salesy because that is the fastest way to lose your reader’s interest.
In addition to quality, the quantity of your articles matter. The longer your high-quality articles are, the more likely your page will rank higher. This is because people on the internet would rather get all their information from a single article that is published by a credible source rather than having to scour the internet in order to find all the answers they are looking for. This means that your articles can go past 2000 words, and they need to be comprehensive in how they tackle their subject matter. An extra bonus of publishing long content is that users will stay on your page longer, meaning that your organic ranking with Google will only go up.
- Snippets matter
In its constant effort to improve itself, Google started offering its users featured snippets, an option that gives the searcher a brief answer to their query. Now, it is common knowledge that internet users tend not to go beyond the first result page that shows up. In fact, a third of the traffic goes to the pages that are listed at the top of the first results page. This means that if your page isn’t in position 1, 2, or 3, there is a good chance people won’t find it.
However, a featured snippet is now considered position 0, and it has been found that more than half of the clicks Google gets goes to the site showing the featured snippet. This is why your site needs to show clear answers to questions searchers may have; it increases your chances of getting that valuable organic traffic. Better yet, your page doesn’t have to rank at the top for you to get your space in the featured snippet.
There is also another type of snippet, rich snippets, which you want to keep in mind. This type of snippet is necessary for mobile users as it gives them valuable information, such as your opening hours, and displays it on the results page. And, not only are rich snippets important for helping people click on your page, but they also play a big role in aiding voice search, something we have already talked about.
- User experience:
Users want a clean, seamless experience, both on their desktop and on their mobile phones. In fact, given the number of search queries that have been coming from mobile, Google now takes into consideration how optimized a site is for mobile users more than any time before. And, if a site offers mobile users a poor experience, then Google will penalize it and lower its ranking, even on desktop searches. As the number of smartphones increases, you can expect the weight Google gives to mobile optimization to only increase commensurately.
There are other issues you want to make sure of. For example, people hate sites that take a long time to load or ones whose user interface is so intricate that it baffles them. You need to minimize the load time and to make the navigation of your site easy and intuitive. Even the copy on your site has to be simple; any jargon or clunky words will turn the users away. In fact, if you have to choose between something you feel is creative and something that is simple, you should always opt for simple. The last thing you want is to lose visitors just because you got too fancy. Also, if people keep leaving your site quickly, this will increase your bounce rate, which, in turn, will get Google to lower your site’s ranking.
Getting found in the new decade:
Customers today have so much power and so many choices that a marketer’s job has changed from talking to the consumers to helping them find the best way to satisfy their needs. Authenticity is taking the place of pure salesy language, and Google is championing this change. So, marketers need to get with the program and figure out how they can communicate in an authentic way that will be helpful both to their brand and to the brand’s customers. In such a fashion, the brand will be found organically.