What The Changing State of Google & SEO Means To You

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Google wants to provide the best results possible, but indexing almost all of the world’s web pages is no easy task. Many observers have cited 2017 as the year to end SEO. But SEO is not dying, merely changing. Here is an introduction to the changing state of SEO and what it means for you and your internet strategy. This year, leading into 2019 and beyond.

Technology & consumer behavior are impacting SEO – It is not just a case of improving the search results to filter out the lesser quality sites for Google. It is about catering to the changing needs and demands of consumers. Social media is growing in importance as the traditional web forum declines. Further, mobile internet usage is beginning to surpass desktop usage.

Mobile search is growing rapidly

A mobile friendly website is now a necessity for businesses. With the large majority of smartphone users browsing on the go, they are looking for quick, convenient, easy to use pages that don’t take a long time to load.

In 2013 Mobile made up nearly 30% of all Google searches, and industry experts expect this trend to continue. A poorly designed mobile site, or lack of a mobile site, will likely hamper your position in search rankings. For example, it has been found that 50% of consumers are unlikely to return to a website that does not work well on their smartphones.

Factors important to Google for mobile SEO

  • Speed (Speed is very important on mobile, so strip back your web-pages and provide the bare minimum) – Note that Speed is also becoming much more important when searching on desktop devises.
  • Local relevancy (half of all local searches are performed on mobile devices – Consider using locally relevant keywords).
  • Tried and true SEO principles apply equally to mobile devises as to desktop.
  • Many business owners are still ignoring mobile, which represents a valuable opportunity to get ahead of the competition!
  • The state of SEO in 2019 is expected to be much more mobile based than it is now, which may lead to a whole new set of guidelines to follow.

SEO is much more than just your company website – Google is putting considerable weight behind a business’s online branding, which has led to a new world of “online reputation management” . Your online branding is important across the board, so think about how people engage with you on social media websites, review sites, blogs and forum. Google likes to see a variety.

Likes, comments and follows on social media indicate an active, popular brand. Of course Google is not naive. They can decipher genuine, legitimate engagement from real people and canned or automatic responses. Even more importantly, industry authorities communicating with you and sharing your content can give a significant boost to your businesses brand in the eyes of Google.

Google still relies on backlinks (hyperlinks) to rank websites, yet mere mentions of your brand, with positive intent can be just as valuable. Consider encouraging business reviews across social media and review sites such as Yelp and Google+.

You can utilize the power of the SEO checker tools for long term organic growth and visibility.

User experience is key – In recent years it has become very clear that Google’s intention is to eradicate the search results of low quality websites, instead rewarding those who provide a truly valuable user experience.

To an extent, Google has said that they would prefer a site that continually improves the user experience over a website that “religiously follows SEO techniques” . Despite the premature declarations of some observers in recent years, SEO is not dead. It is evolving and cannot be ignored. That said, when adding content to your website, don’t put Google before your customers. That is something Google no longer rewards.

Blackhats should be worried – Blackhat is a term used to describe the less ethical SEO techniques that some SEO companies use. Google’s search algorithm is becoming so refined that many blackhats will have no choice but to follow Google’s guidelines. Poor, keyword stuffed content or unauthentic backlinks will be penalized to the point of eradication on the search engine, so you should you have a good content strategy in place!

For the unsuspecting, uniformed business owner it can be easy to get caught up with less than ethical SEO techniques. Make sure you know exactly what your SEO contractors are doing and whether it follows with Google’s policies and expectations. Any type of ‘mass back linking’ service, or services that claim to magically boost your social media following overnight should be strongly avoided. Stay away from any company that offers something that seems unnatural or automated.

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