Changes in the search industry – whether mobile search, social search, local search or voice search – are affecting the way people today discover content online. The rise of messaging apps and personal assistants has presented new challenges which will affect the way online marketing professionals communicate. Changing the way you “speak” along with addressing matters of newer search methods, locality, and security and are all top priorities for you success in the coming year.
The road to success is through Google
In 2017, Google accounted for over 79% of all global desktop search traffic. The closest competitors were Bing (7.27%), Baidu (6.55%) and Yahoo (5.06%).1
To win at web strategy, development and SEO, it is imperative to play by Google’s rules. While ranking high on Yahoo or Bing may help your success, companies who rank high on Google are the ones most likely getting the most business. Using Google Search Console will help you understand how people are currently getting to your site via Google Searches. This tool is invaluable when it comes to understanding strengths and weaknesses of your content.
The evolution of “the search”
In terms of keyword research and keyword optimization, most users aren’t searching for simple terms – they’re searching for something very specific by using what’s called “long-tail keywords.” In fact, research shows that 50% of search queries are at least four words long or longer.2 The sudden popularity of digital assistants over the past recent years has had a huge effect on the way people search online. In fact, a study by Search Engine Land found that the number of people using digital assistants is projected to increase from 504 million this year to 1.8 billion by 2021. To adapt to this new technology, SEO professionals must understand how voice search differs from text search, and learn to use more long-tail keywords and natural language that people often use when accessing a digital assistant.
Think locally. Act locally.
In many countries like the U.S. and Japan, more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers. A lot of those people are doing their searching while on the go. Today, 78% of consumers who did a local search actually visited a store within five miles of the search.3 ‘Near me’ searches have doubled over the past year and 30 percent of people who use their mobile devices are often searching based on proximity4. By showing up in ‘near me’ searches, you are more likely to drive traffic to your operation. If your site is not optimized for mobile or local search, it will not show up in the mobile search results and may greatly lower the number of these on-the-go searches you attract.
The mobile-first index
The impending debut of the mobile-first index is one of the most anticipated events in the search landscape for 2018. According to Gary Illyes, the Google webmaster trends analyst, while the different ranking factors and keyword queries that will be weighted on the mobile-first index is still unknown, Google wants to roll out the mobile-first index in a way that doesn’t penalize non-mobile-friendly sites.
This initiative is in response to the fact that many websites have already felt the mobile-first index’s effect on their website’s rankings in search results. Also of note is that mobile and desktop searches produced different results for the same keyword searches on the same search engines nearly 80% of the time. Companies that want to keep up with the impending implication of mobile-first index can take advantage of existing platforms such as the Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages to make their website load faster – a crucial factor that many SEO experts believe will take a significant priority in the upcoming index.
HTTPS Protocol Is More Important Than Ever For SEO
Having an SSL certificate installed on your site in 2018 has become a non-negotiable mandate. SSL is especially relevant now that certain web browsers like Google Chrome are beginning to mark all HTTP websites as ‘Not Secure,’ which can have a direct impact on visitor behavior as well as conversion rates.
Additionally, it is rumored that Google favors sites that are secure. Many websites have reaped the rewards of higher rankings after making the switch. In fact, Dr. Peter J. Meyers of MOZ predicted that before long, 65% of the sites on page 1 of Google would have the HTTPS protocol, and this number is only expected to grow.
With both the SERPs and Chrome taking notice, there are sure to be many others following in their footsteps. Not only that, but if you are collecting personal data, it is the ethical thing to do. The good news is that getting an SSL certificate is relatively inexpensive and simple; however doing so means that yours will be considered an entirely new website.
These are just some of the changes that can affect a company’s success. Adapting especially to matters of search methods, locality and security can help drive strategy and make the difference between winning and losing in 2018 and beyond.