As we reach the last few months of 2017 and rapidly move towards 2018, you may have noticed some changes within Google search pages or even changes with your own SEO practices, perhaps they are no longer giving you the best results, with your existing tactics leaving your results stagnant.
Each year Google makes hundreds of changes to its algorithms, many of them subtle and difficult to track. However, there are changes out there that do make an impact, making significant changes to how the search engines and even the search process in general, actually work. As a result of this, it’s vital that your own marketing strategy is updated for this new era of search in order for you to keep on generating successful results.
Over the last 10 years, we’ve come a long way when it comes to search, working out a standard formula, figuring out algorithms and finding ways to target keywords to convert organic traffic into leads and sales.
But where do we go from here?
How Search Has Developed
Google has changed in a number of ways over the last few years, not only has our own search behaviour has shifted but also the technology that is being used by search engines has become much more advanced and improved, which allows for more dynamic results.
Today with the development of voice search technology we think nothing of using a more conversational style when making a search query, be it through voice search or through typing a question, in fact, conversational search has now become the norm in recent years.
“It has all been leading, gradually and imperceptibly, to the world in which we no longer have to speak computer language, because computers will speak human language”
Why has this change occurred?
Search hasn’t become more conversational simply because of voice search, whilst it may be a contributing factor, the reality is that these days we can now gain much higher quality results from search engines as well as higher quality content from new ways of searching.
It’s also worth noting that the entire dynamic of the internet has become much more social and conversational, with many now spending on average around 9 hours a day using social media platforms and messaging apps to correspond with others online.
Changes To Search Engine Results Pages
There are a number of significant changes that have been made to search engine results pages in the last couple of years, many of which are still going to be important to consider in upcoming years, many of which happen to be centred around the way search engine results pages actually look and the content that is featured on them.
Where 10 years ago Google only really showed websites and webpages in its search results, these days they offer a number of additions to search results, including ads, shopping results, and featured snippets, all of which have an effect on how people use and view search results.
With organic results being pushed down the page slightly due to paid advertising, images or featured snippets, competition is even more fierce for those looking to rank highly in search engine pages, meaning that you have ever more to consider when it comes to creating content and that it becomes even more important to use relevant keywords in your content.
Search Engine Updates
Google has changed greatly since the early days of the internet, moving from a simple platform for finding websites and images and rapidly becoming the core place to find news, websites, images, video content, shopping results and much more, these days Google controls atone 90% of the search market, a large step up from its small beginnings. Meaning that from a technological perspective it’s also had to make many an update.
Google used to offer results in a simple way, returning results that were specific to the exact keywords searchers looked for, meaning those looking to rank on search engine results would often cram as many keywords in as possible in order to get their content to rank.
These days, however, Google is much more strict about how SEO techniques are used, now penalising spam content and overly optimised websites that use ‘black hat’ techniques to rank within search results. More recent updates to Googles algorithms have seen Google now look at the entire search query rather than just keywords in order to understand the meaning behind them and ultimately return much more relevant results, which acts as even more evidence that we should be looking at new ways to creating and planning content.
Are Keywords Still Needed?
Short answer: Yes
Whilst there is some shift in Googles algorithms that mean the whole search query is now considered, keywords are still relevant and should still be included in content strategies, however, it’s now even more important to think about how effective and how relevant these keywords and even ‘key-phrases’ are to your content.
It’s worth noting that when discovering keywords that may be used by searchers you should also make a list or possible queries, for example if you’re looking to get found for “logo design” you should also think about queries such as “where can I have a logo designed?” or similar conversational phrases, which are often more authentic and play into the idea of a more conversational search.
Now that you’re aware of the changes that have been happening to Googles algorithms you’re ready to change up your strategy in order to solidify your content for 2018.
Taking a new approach to content creation, one that works with Google and works in line with their changes can help you attract more traffic and helps you capture the attention of those looking for the answers they really want, a solution that not only helps your business or blog but also benefits your audience by the answers they need without being sent to irrelevant or broad content.
Offering valuable content is now more important than ever and failing to do so could see your content marketing fall behind. If you’re looking to achieve more online, be it increasing traffic, generating more leads or even simply looking to engage more, it’s important you know the facts behind search engines, giving you the insight you need to create comprehensive, organised and informative content.