How the SEO Game is Changing (and What You Need to Know)

24 March 2016

It can sometimes seem like SEO advice is constantly changing. And it’s true, there are new guidelines, suggestions and penalties all the time. However, there are also great recommendations that are likely to stick around for the long term… How do we know which to pay attention to?

Despite the ongoing variations in how we understand search engine optimisation, focusing on customers and site visitors is always going to be good advice. Here are our recommendations for what is impacting SEO right now.

1.Pay attention to voice search

    Voice search is more accessible than ever. Apple phones boast Siri, Android phones offer Google Now and Microsoft has Cortana, not just on its phones, but also installed as default on Windows 10 desktops. And voice search is changing the way people search the web.

    A few years ago, search phrases were getting shorter. We knew that Google would understand what we meant when we searched for “price driving licence UK” rather than using a complete sentence.

    However, since voice search has increased in popularity, searchers are using complete sentences again, because this is more intuitive when we are speaking. So we are far more likely to ask Siri “How much does a driving licence cost?”.

    When optimising our websites for SEO, we can respond to the rise in voice search by asking and answering full questions in our content.

    2. The increase of instant answers

    Google search results frequently answer the questions we ask, using the search results it returns. This reduces the need for searchers to click through to secondary websites.

    This, along with the instant answers we receive from Siri, Google Now etc., reduces the click-through rate of certain searches, especially those that are based on generalised information.

    So what can webmasters do to continue to get clicks from questions in search?

    Remember that not every search provides an instant answer. Aim for more specialised topics and searches that will require further information than a three-sentence summary. This will encourage people looking for detailed information to click through to your website, even when an instant answer is available.

    1. Focus on local SEO

    The details of local SEO will continue to change and evolve, but its importance will remain key, especially for brick-and-mortar businesses that are not based solely online.

    Wearable tech, as well as personalised search results and an increase in mobile searches, will all point to local search becoming increasingly relevant and something all website owners should invest in optimising for.

    2. Continuing to follow good advice on content

    Whatever changes in SEO, maintaining a focus on the user when creating content will likely always be central to any smart strategy. Producing and sharing great content, which is optimised for search but written for customers and prospects, is going to remain relevant for the foreseeable future, because it makes sense in any SEO and customer-focused approach.