Thanks to innovations like Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, and Amazon’s Alexa, voice search technology has come a long way. As technology has gotten better, it’s also gotten more popular. In fact, the percentage of households predicted to own a smart speaker by 2022 is 55%.
To optimize for voice search, consider your keywords. Identify longer phrases that people use in everyday conversation. Voice searches tend to do better with longer, more natural-sounding phrasing. When people type, they tend to abbreviate. For example, a person might voice search, “What are the new SEO trends for 2021?” but type the words, “new SEO trends 2021.”
Google has reiterated that content quality is critical for ranking success. But just what does “quality” mean to Google? Refer to the EAT principle: expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. These factors help determine if a webpage has useful quality content. This principle is especially relevant in business niches that fall under the “your money, your life” (YMYL) label, such as health care and finance.
There are a few ways you can ensure quality content. First, create buyer personas, which let you understand what kind of content your clients value. Second, conduct search intent research, which helps you map out the consumer journey. Third, use this information to create content that fits the format that your users prefer. For example, if you’re catering to teens, video is probably preferable. If you’re catering to an older audience, a video may be less appealing.
Finally, keep EAT in mind as you craft your content. Back up claims with statistics and facts. Link to reputable sites, such as “.edu” and “.gov” URLs. Having authoritative sites link back to you is another way to prove that you fulfill the EAT criteria.
Don’t panic. You won’t have to generate long-term content exclusively if you want to climb the Google rankings. Featured snippets, which were rolled out in 2017, are a sort of shortcut to gaining prominence in Google — and they’re very brief. Sometimes, when you type something into Google, you may notice a box at the top of the SERPs, above the actual results. That’s a snippet.
Scoring a featured snippet is a great way to get on that coveted first page of results. What’s more, snippets steal significant traffic from competitors.
Featured snippets show a chunk of information, often structured as a Q&A or brief bullet-point, how-to guide. There are also rich snippets, including images, star-based reviews, product prices, and similar bits of information. To create snippets, focus on question-based queries and relevant keywords. You can use the Google search function “people also ask” for inspiration.
The online video seems to be the way forward. YouTube has more than 1 billion users. If you aren’t creating video content, now is the time to get started. Not convinced? Here’s food for thought: According to Cisco, video is projected to surpass all other content forms in terms of consumption.
How can you optimize that video content, though? Make sure to optimize your video channel name and description. The description shouldn’t just be crammed with keywords but provide a user-friendly overview of what your channel is about.
Beyond this, keywords are crucial. For example, if you’re optimizing for YouTube, you can get inspired by the platform’s auto-complete feature. Start typing in your video’s topic and see what pops up in the search field, which is essentially a list of suggested keywords, telling you precisely what people on YouTube are searching for.
Visual image search has evolved drastically. It used to be that people could just look at images. In the future, people will be able to use images to purchase products, obtain information, and more. Google has long insisted on the proper marking and optimization of images, so it makes sense that this is part of their long-term plan.
If the images on your website aren’t optimized, take care of it now. Use high-quality, relevant images, and make sure to customize the file name, labeling the photo file so that it’s relevant to the content on the corresponding page. Use alt tags, which crawlers use to classify images. Finally, add images to your site map, where they are even easier to crawl. You can check out other posts where we discuss image SEO for more tips, too.
When people think of the internet, they often think of its global nature. The fact is, most people use search engines to find localized goods and services. They might be hunting for a neighborhood restaurant, for example. Local SEO is important — and it’s evolving. This evolution is in part because of the rise of zero-click searches — which some SEO marketers are dubbing the new normal.
In a zero-click search, the user’s query is answered via the SERP itself. They thus don’t click on any of the ranking results. One reason for the rise in zero-click searches is the increase of featured snippets. Many zero-click searches are local searches that show the results on the SERP in what’s been dubbed a “local pack.”
How do you get your business into that local pack? Start by creating a Google My Business page. Having a strong backlink profile is also important. You can check what kinds of backlinks your competitors get for inspiration and target those yourself.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing how people interact with online content. Google’s AI algorithm is especially worth noting. Unveiled a few years back, the algorithm — called RankBrain — plays an important role in Google’s ranking factors for search engine results pages (SERPs) results.
Greg Corrado, a senior Google scientist who helped develop RankBrain, has previously highlighted the tool’s unique ability to learn: “The other signals, they’re all based on discoveries and insights that people in information retrieval have had, but there’s no learning.” This presumably means that RankBrain will only improve with time, making AI a top SEO trend to watch.
So, the big question is, how do you optimize your SEO for RankBrain? While the search engine giant won’t share details, experts believe that user experience signals are the primary determinant. These could include factors from click-through rate to time spent on page. You need to captivate and engage readers with useful, well-organized content. An on-page SEO checker can help you assess page strength based on points like readability, backlinks, and more.