As an expert SEO Agency, we feel it’s important to review and share important Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices and considerations to keep businesses ahead of the curve. Chances are, as SEO best practices evolve you'll need to either tweak some of them or ditch them altogether. While SEO strategies and tactics are not an exact science, the topics below are designed to spur ideas and open the floor to discussion.
1. SEO is about leveraging personalized search results
Google is making it a priority to offer a personalized experience to searchers. What this means is that the search engine will pull the latest content from a user's search history which necessitates the use of long-tail queries from a business standpoint. For instance, it would be easier to rank for “weight loss clinic,” than just “weight loss,” and even easier to rank for “weight loss clinic Seattle.” Creating a brand linked to its related services and products is possible by targeting the right personas with the type of content they need in a format that appeals to them.
2. Voice search is an up-and-coming search engine feature to watch
Voice search is not a new concept, but it is one that is set to explode in 2017. According to statistics gathered by Thrive Analytics and other sources, 55 percent of teens use a voice search feature every day. Seventy-one percent of young adults and 59 percent of those aged 30 to 43 also use voice search in the form of a digital persona assistant on a regular basis. While experts aren't really surprised by the high usage figures of the younger crowd -- after all, they tend to be early adopters of new technology -- the fact that more than a third of adults aged 44 years and over use the technology was eye opening.
3. Don't rule Bing out
Even as an SEO Agency, it can seem like everything SEO related is tip in favor of Google, but there are other players in the world of search engines. In addition to having some of the coolest background photos on the web, Bing as a search engine has a few other things going for it as well. Not only is it Microsoft Cortana's default search engine, it's also the leverage behind searches that use Alexa and Siri. What do all three of these have in common? They are meeting the increased demand for voice searches, as noted above.
4. Mobile AMPlification
Even though searches using mobile devices surpassed desktop searches in 2015, that doesn't mean that segment of the industry has been static. In fact, it has continued to evolve so that the latest is AMPed up mobile pages. AMP -- an acronym for Accelerated Mobile Pages -- has quickly become the standard when it comes to mobile pages. The whole idea behind mobility is that users should be able to access the information they need at any time. Sometimes called "micro-moments," these times are marked by a user using a device -- often a mobile one like a tablet or phone -- to satisfy an urgent need for information. Using AMP optimizes web pages so they open almost instantly, improving both usability for the viewer and the speed at which they can access needed information.
5. Answer box & rich snippets -- Google Style
With Google's latest updates, including Hummingbird, they have continued their quest of making the user's experience more engaging and valid. A significant cornerstone of this approach is the answer box format that it is now presenting during searches. To move away from simply calling up a list of websites that might be relevant to a searcher, an Answer Box containing featured snippets like the URL of the page and its title, as well as the page text that best points to the answer to the searcher's question, shows up at the very top of the search engine results page (SERP).
This Answer Box is generated automatically by Google and you can't opt-in to get your business featured, but you can opt-out. While some marketers have raised concerns that being featured in the Answer Box has made it unnecessary for viewers to click through to the site, in most cases this view has not proven to have validity, according to Search Engine Land. Not only have most pages that are featured noticed an jump in the clicks, impressions and CTR, being in a place of distinction enables your business to be viewed as a knowledgeable source of information while also establishing its brand.
Brad Holly & Team
Principal and founder of Actuate Media a Digital Advertising Agency
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