If you’re not tracking and taking advantage of the major changes that Google is making to their search algorithm you are missing out on some really valuable opportunities to help you rank for content now or in the future.
Are you aware of the changes that are happening now and likely to happen?
What plans have you put in place to deal with these?
Here are 7 SEO Trends that you should really consider for your business.
1. Indepth Articles Expands
Google recently started displaying a new section on the first page of search results to promote indepth articles. Typically you will find that they are articles that are at least 2,000 words but generally a lot more (e.g. some articles more than 5,000 words).
The articles are generally from well known publishers although the Google blog did state that less known publishers will also be featured.
“I’m happy to see people continue to invest in thoughtful in-depth content that will remain relevant for months or even years after publication. This is exactly what you’ll find in the new feature. In addition to well-known publishers, you’ll also find some great articles from lesser-known publications and blogs” - Pandu Nayak (Google blog)
The articles displayed at the moment are typically for broad topics. For example – SEO, Pinterest, Facebook. Here is an example:
These articles are displayed at the bottom of page 1 of search results
Expect to see this expand and for these indepth articles to get more prominent position in search results.
2. Microdata becomes essential
When Google reads content we need to provide it help to understand what the content is about. In the case of Google Authorship we use tags such as ‘rel=author’ to tell Google who wrote the post.
You can also include microdata for products, reviews, businesses and organizations, recipes, events and music.
This is set to further expand.
With the increasing use of microdata we’ll see the following:
a). A new breed of SEO people will figure out how to optimize the microdata to appear high in search results.
b). More tools will come available that will help add the necessary microdata. For example, Mark Traphagen in Virante just released a WordPress plugin that adds the necessary microdata to support indepth articles. See here.
c). The search results will continue to evolve and over time there’s bound to be microdata associated with every entry. This means more images, reviews, indicators showing length of content etc. Already the top 3 positions in search results is not as important as it used to be.
People are starting to scan through the first page and pick out what stands out. Having microdata will help you stand out.
3. Author rank finally gets launched
Google authorship is linking the content that is written to the author that wrote it.
When you set up Google authorship the content you write on your blog or anyone else’s should display your picture alongside the article in search results (once you set it up correctly).
This can be displayed on content you write on your own blog or guest posts on other blogs.
Your content is linked to you even if you write it on another site
Google is not setting this facility up to ignore it. It’s going to start taking authors of content into account when it is ranking content.
For example, if you get a highly ranked author writing on your blog the article may rank highly just because the author has a high rank. A well established author could set up a new website and rank very quickly for the content because of their ranking.
Really interesting to see where Google brings this!
4. Search becomes more distributed
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have some really interesting data and these platforms are growing and becoming more popular.
So search will become more distributed. Facebook recently released Knowledge Graph. This is like the launch of a mini Google. It will take Facebook a few years to get it right but you will end up going to Google for some searches and Facebook for others.
If I want to find out where my friends went on holidays, where did they stay and what did they eat I’m more likely to find results on Facebook.
You’ll also see Twitter making a very big announcement about Twitter search. They have a basic search but they could build a new search platform for twitter and make a ton of money on advertising. There’s no way they will miss out on this opportunity.
5. Increased Personalization of search results
Over time everyone that uses any of Google’s products or services (including search) will have a Google + account. With a Google search Google only knows where you are searching from and what you are searching.
With a Google + account Google starts tracking what you do on all their Google products. It tracks who you are interacting with, what communities you are part of, what websites you write articles on and much more.
If you follow someone in Google + that is an expert on SEO and you respond a lot to their interactions on Google + it makes sense that their results appear higher for relevant searches than someone else that you don’t interact with.
So Google is building up your profile and will be rolling out more personalisation.
6. SEO Companies close up!
There are a lot of SEO companies that will not have the relationship building and content skills that are required in this new world of SEO.
There are far too many SEO companies that that are still stuck in link building campaigns and writing poor quality articles. They may still survive in the short term but they will not longer term.
Link building will increasingly be about building your profile as an author, delivering high quality content, building relationships and socialising with the right people.
Mark Schaefer recently mentioned on Facebook about getting more and more emails from SEO companies. The same is happening for me. They are desperate, so expect to see a lot them go out of business.
7. Mobile Ranking of Content
Google never wants to give a user a poor experience. But imagine if you built a mobile version of your website for your Hotel that was perfect for a mobile device.
But then a user searched for content that was on your website but not on your mobile website. Google has no choice but to return your non mobile optimized version of your website.
If you have a responsive design then the content on your website will automatically be adjusted to suit a mobile user.
If you have a responsive design then your content will be displayed correctly.
If you have a mobile website I believe that you will still need a responsive design to cater for content that is on your website but not available on your mobile website.