People have been saying “SEO is dead” for years now, but the fact remains...
SEO is alive and kicking!
So why the confusion?
The reason people think search engine optimization is “The Ghost of Internet Marketing Past” is that it’s evolved so much over the years. Many of the traditional SEO methods that marketers once swore by (like keyword stuffing) have gone the way of the Dodo.
Today, SEO isn’t about making webpages search engine-friendly—it’s about making them user-friendly.
Google and other search engines now prioritize whether your webpage is:
- Relevant to the user’s search query
- Likely to answer the user’s question
- A good match based on the user’s local intent
- Fast and easy to use across all devices
Over the years, Google rolled out algorithm updates like Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird to get better search results for its users. These updates placed greater emphasis on high-quality content, cracked down on spammy SEO practices meant to “game the system,” and made it easier for the search engine to understand the intent behind users’ searches.
For those reasons, the traditional SEO practices like keyword optimization and link building are no longer the end-all be-all of organic ranking.
The Ascension of Mobile and Voice
With the use of mobile devices and voice search (through virtual assistants like Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa) on the rise, SEO continues to evolve.
Mobile use has made “local intent” (delivery of “local results” based on a searcher’s physical location) a top priority for search engines, just as voice search has made the inclusion of “everyday language” (text written on a website to reflect how people naturally speak) a top priority as well.
Consider these facts:
- 20% of mobile search is done vocally
- By 2020, 50% of all searches will be voice searches
- 70% of voice requests to Google Assistant are in “natural language”
- Mobile voice search is 3 times more likely to be used for local intent than text searches
How to Keep Up with the Ever-Changing World of SEO
So how do you keep up with all these changes? You must rethink your strategy.
Here are 3 steps you can take to get started:
Write content that’s helpful and natural.
Focus more on answering your prospective clients’ most pressing questions rather than stuffing your page with keywords.
Only use keywords in a way that makes sense and supports your content. Search engines now rely on other cues like related words and topics to identify when a piece of copy is a good match for a query.
Use more long-tail keywords.
Long-tail keywords are search terms that better match everyday speech, such as “who pays for medical expenses in a car accident” or “after-hour plumbers near me.” By using more of these terms, you’ll improve your chances of getting found by potential clients in different types of searches, including voice searches.
You can increase your usage of these terms by focusing your web content on a broad range of topics that fit the natural language and search habits of your target audience.
Keep your local listings up-to-date.
With the growth of local search, it’s crucial to keep your business’ online local listings accurate. Ensure all your website pages and online listings have the correct NAP (name, address, and phone number). This helps search engines determine whether your business is the right match for online users who are looking for nearby products and services.
SEO isn’t dead—it’s just changing.
You (and your business) need to adapt as SEO changes if you want to stay visible to prospective clients in search engines like Google.
To keep your business up to speed, partner with a digital marketing expert who’s always on top of the industry’s latest developments, including the ever-changing world of SEO.
And, as always, if you have any questions about how to improve your organic rankings, reach out to someone on our team!