In the past, ranking on SEO relied greatly on keyword placement and backlinks. Today, Google and other search engines continue to increasingly gather more data about our preferences making search engines to be more accurate, personalized and timely than ever. If you are working as an SEO expert, you now know that ranking content requires more than keywords and backlinks. It is more about optimization and content that you share with your audience.
There are key trends that we can’t ignore and include the following;
The rise of Voice Search
Today, one out of every five searches happening to Google comes as a result of voice search. There are voice-activated smart speakers such as Google Home and Amazon Echo leading the trend of voice search. What’s amazing is a new flagship of Phone Pixel 2 and an extension of home speakers driven by AI such as Google Assistant and SIRI.
Featured snippets are now tied to voice search. Over the last few years, we have witnessed featured snippets that are displayed in search across various channels and devices. Today, at least 30 percent of all search queries on Google have an instant answer that comes in the form of featured snippets. Featured snippets are now stealing up to 10 percent of all traffic that is occupying the top positions of Google
The trend of snippets is giving rise to a new form of content in the form of Q&A.
Shift to Mobile
There is a massive shift to mobile. Google has now started ranking pages based on the mobile version of the page. For long, Google has been evaluating the relevance of a website based on desktop experience – this feature is now changing. Today, mobile searches account for more than 60 percent of the total search and ranking of sites based on mobile experience becomes extremely important.
The experience and reaction of users to sites play a key role in determining rankings. The user expectations and demands for search are changing exponentially. Today, users are looking for instant solutions to the problems they are facing irrespective of the devices they are using. Reports from Google point out that sites that take more than three seconds to load lose about 40 percent of visitors.
Search results are now becoming more contextual and timely. Google continually continues to integrate AI into its search algorithms that comprise historical search patterns and present contexts such as devices and location. This means queries must return the most relevant and personalized answers to users in the quickest time possible.
Another key trend to watch is the rise of linkless backlinks. For many years, backlinks have been the bread and butter of SEO. In the past and even present, linking from one source to another heavily boosts a page rank for a site. Today, search engines are devising ways of associating mentions of institutions and brands without the need of linking to their respective web pages. The linkless links are still going to carry some weight similar to that carried by hyperlinks.