Tuesday, October 15, 2013

10 SEO Trends You Can't Ignore If You Want To Be Found

10 SEO Trends

It's BIG and erratic. Internet is moving fast, the big G is upgrading its algorithm time to time in order to return what we believe to be accurate result to its users. SEO gurus are publishing great SEO stuff to keep you and your business safe, but are you aware of all this things? I guess not.

In the blogging world, you have to keep your ears down to know what's trendy in order to outshine in your industry. To be successful in this overcrowded web, it's more than quality content and promotion, perfect search engine optimization is very vital.

It's obvious that a technique that works tremendously last year may turn out to be trash this year or nearest future. While Google is implementing new tools, we need to adapt to the changes and keep our blog's updated to the latest features.

You may have missed lots of valuable SEO updates, but here are the most important updates you should put into consideration:

1. Google give Google+ content more exposure

Recently, we notice that Google+ content have been showing up in SERP's. Well, this is not a strange thing, Google+ have started achieving what it's built for.

According to Google engineer Zaheed Sabur, when you search Google (say #SEOtrends) using an hashtag (#), post's that contain that hashtag on Google+ may appear at the right hand side of the result page. The result will include the post summary, author profile picture and a link to the post on Google+ (that's what they want i guess).

10 SEO Trends - Googleplus hashtag in serps

Google will only pull out post that are shared publicly or directly with you (if you are signed in) and Google+ post will only appear when a user search using the hashtag, but i believe it's a matter time for Google to start showing "related Google+ post" in serp's irrespective of the hashtag. Should we start optimizing?
Maybe we should. I believe the future of the web will now depend heavily on Google+, as Google use to say "Google+ is Google".

2. In-depth articles finally get launched

On August 6th, Google launched a new feature called "In-depth articles". Now, when you are searching Google for broad topics like censorship, love, happiness etc. You will find three blocks of results called in-depth articles.

This move shouldn't surprise us, Google have been heading this way for so long, notable by it's Panda update. The brain behind Panda algorithm updates is Pandu Nayak (Member of Google technical staff).

"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. If you're a publisher or webmaster, check out our help center article and post on the Webmaster Central blog to learn more". Says Pandu on Google blog.

10 SEO Trends - In-depth articles live in Google serps

Currently, there is no doubt that this new update only favor big brands. Meaning, well-known publishers are being favored, though Google does promise that "you'll also find some great articles from lesser-known publications and blogs". Let's watch out for that. But aside the reputations, most content that fall under the in-depth articles are typically long-form content from trusted publications and they are skewed heavily on social signals.

What does this mean for you? All those short articles are not allowed is this category. A well-researched, longtail and well organized article is the winner in these game.

3. Author rank becomes more crucial factor

Over eight years ago, Google filed a patent for "Agents rank." The patent that aims to provide better results to user's queries base on the author popularity and creditability, but it fails due to the lack of identification and before any agent or author can be ranked, each author and their associated content needs to be identified.

In 2011, Google launched its own social network, Google+. Finally they had the platform to warrant the activation of "AgentRank" but now known as AuthorRank.

As early as February of last year, the term "Author Rank" started to surface in the industry. This update draws different discussion and argument within webmasters, but don't get it twisted. AuthorRank wouldn't be a replacement for Pagerank, it will only give Google a powerful variable in making sure that only the most respected and authoritarian content on any given subject rises to the top of search results page.

When you setup Google authorship, it doesn't matter where your content get published. Every article you have written will be tied to your profile alongside your profile picture in serp's.
Author's who contribute to high authority websites and get people engaged with their content are going to be ranked ahead of anonymous and low-profile authors.

It's really interesting to see this kind of changes from Google, if you have missed these update, it's not too late, you can start building your Author rank starting from now.

4. Google Hummingbird algorithm takes flight

Recently, Google marks its 15th anniversary (on September 26th 2013), where it announced a new search algorithm for its search engine.
While the announcement was made on the 26th, Amit Singhal, the senior vice president of search, told reporters on Thursday that the company launched its latest "Hummingbird" algorithm few months ago, which most webmasters believe it's the major cause of the 90% drop in worldwide searches.

Google says "Hummingbird is a new engine built on both existing and new parts, organized in a way to especially serve the search demands of today, rather than one created for the needs of 10 years ago, with the technologies back then". These means Hummingbird won't replace other signals like pagerank or social signal. In fact, Google say there's nothing new or different SEOs or publishers need to worry about the update. Guidance remains the same, it says: have original, high-quality content. Signals that have been important in the past remain important; Hummingbird just allows Google to process them in new and hopefully better ways.

In our previous post we have discussed comprehensively what Hummingbird is all about and its impact on SEO.

5. Voice search: The future of SEO

Voice search means exactly what you would expect it to mean; people can now say what they want to search for, instead of having to type it.
Yet while mobile users will continue to benefit from the ease of voice search, it doesn't stop there. Google's Chrome browser now offers voice searching for desktop users too.

Voice search now supports an impressive 42 languages. In Asia, these include Japanese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Yue Chinese, Indonesian, Malaysian and most recently, Filipino and Vietnamese.

With search engines trying to create a conversational search means they  will need to interpret these conversational phrases and queries, matching them to relevant keywords in the search index. I guess this will never be a barrier for Google, voice search is still at its early age, with time it will grow in its importance.

As of August 2013, over 140 million people in the United States are smartphone users with an increase of 15 million since the beginning of this year - With such large demand, voice search will continue to increase in popularity. As it does, search engines and businesses alike will need to decide if they’re optimized to meet the needs of the spoken, long- phrased requests of their users.

6. Great design matters alot

When someone lands on your website they already know what they are there for. It's up to you to address this. The landing page should tell them everything you do with no scrolling! However, you should also not scare them away with an ugly, horrible, atrocious design.

If your website is all about selling a product or multiple products, then your purpose is to make your visitors want to buy that product. Converting your traffic into sales is the most difficult piece of building your website and in turn, its design.

In the consumer's eyes a website design is a reflection of the business itself. If your website looks cheap and is difficult to use, consumers will assume that your products or services share the same characteristics. A high quality, easy-to-navigate design is vital if you want customers to have a positive perception of your business.

If someone's followed a link you need to wow them and anything less than that will mean they start looking elsewhere. Believe it or not someone decides whether they will use your site or not within the first 10-20 seconds. If the user decides to leave within this period, we call it a bounce.

7. Mobile compatibility is no longer optional

Having a responsive mobile site is no longer optional. Half of all people in the United States own a smartphone - one third of internet users own a tablet. Soon, more people will routinely access the Internet via a mobile device than the number of people who do so via a desktop computer.

Two-thirds of smartphone users say a mobile-friendly site makes them more likely to buy a company's product or service and 74% say they're more likely to return to the site later. "Mobile is creating massive opportunity", says Jason Spero, head of Google's global mobile sales and strategy. Google's also advice: Create a fast mobile site with big buttons and text, keep steps to complete tasks to a minimum and you knew this was coming - promote the site with Google mobile ads for the two-thirds of people who use search to find a site. That last may be self-serving though.

The search ad giant is hoping, of course, that the better mobile experience people have, the more they will use Google search to find sites and products. A poor mobile experience reflects badly not only on the sites but on Google searches that sent them there.

Creating a mobile version of your site doesn't have to be painful or expensive. In short, it's typically a smaller version of your existing website with a more simplistic design. The important thing is to identify the key actions you want your customers to take when accessing your mobile site.

With so many different phones and operating systems you need to keep your site platform agnostic. And when creating your mobile presence, simpler is better. Reduce the content and file size. As the average internet user expects faster speeds, they have less patience. Frustration over slow-loading websites leads to a poorer user experience and users with less-patience might click to another site after few seconds on delay.

8. Diversify keywords used for anchor text

This is where most sites get hit when Penguin 2.0 rolls out. It's observed that if more than 30% of anchor texts pointing to your domain are based on a particular keyword, search engine will assume that you are building the links intentionally (probably paid links.)

For example, say your site focus on content marketing, there's no way that the largest percentage of links pointing to your domain will have their anchor text to be "content marketing". People linking to your site are likely to use variety of anchor text like: content marketing in china, "your-name" in content marketing, content marketing ninjas, content marketing for small businesses etc.

You need to know how natural your link profile is. There are different tools you can use to obtain the list of links pointing to your domain. Among the best are:

While Google webmaster tools is free, you can't get more detailed information compared to other paid services listed above.
After getting the full report of your profile link, a good rule of thumb is to have the percentage of your backlinks as; 40, 30, 20, 10 i.e;

  • 40% Branded keyword - These may be your site name or slogan. For example, "RealcomBiz", "TheKillerBlogger", "The dotcom Mogul" etc.
  • 30% Exact keyword - keywords based on the search queries for which you'd like to rank highly for. The keyword should be relevant to your site and also included in your site meta data.
  • 20% Domain or URL keyword - As in the case of "yoursite.com" or "www.yoursite.com"
  • 10% Generic keyword - For example, "Click Here" or "Visit Now"

9. Guest blogging still rave like a rockstar

Link Building still has an important role in SEO. Despite all the Google updates - backlinks remain an important factor Google and other major search engines uses to determine the relevance and authority of a website.
Guest blogging may be one of the best strategies to hit large number of audience or build quality backlinks, at the same time. It's robust - unlike other strategies, guest blogging will stay strong despite what Google or other titans may do.

The more strategically you think when you're planning out your guest blogging program, the more you're going to get out of it.
You need to aim at two things - how the post will benefit the host blog and how it's going to benefit your own business. But always make sure you'll be able to include at least one link back to your blog, as well as a audience-friendly call to action in the bio section.

Guest blogging on the other hand brings-in packs of new audience. These are people who share the same interest with you and they are more eager to learn from your experience.
Anyone can buy traffic through pay-per-click, banner advertisement or other forms and it may work great, but in a short term and what you are buying is just the traffic and not audience.

10. SEO companies close up

It has being happening for so long. Getting all sorts of email from SEO companies claiming what they are unworthy of makes me feel sick. I don't know if these have been happening to you too?

I believe most SEO companies will close up before this year runs out. The demand in this new world of SEO is very challenging. It's Author rank they are still battling with, now its Hummingbird. Link building will increasingly be about building your profile as an author, delivering high quality content, building relationships and socializing with the right people.

Google of nowadays is now focusing away from keywords and moving towards intent and semantics, which will be a great shutdown for most SEO companies.

In this year, there have been huge changes to search algorithm. It’s really hard to keep up with them, but hopefully I’ve given you some ideas of what you should pay attention to.
I’m sure that there are critical trends that I may have missed. I’d love to hear it from you. What’s working for you right now, and where are you focusing your SEO efforts? Please share it in the comments!