The SEO Trends You Probably Didn’t Know Existed
Ariane Alyerunga

Ariane Alyerunga

June 8, 2020

If you have ever done website optimization, you’re likely to be aware of the basic on-page tricks present in an SEO checklist. So much so that you may think you know all there is about Search engine optimization. While no one would judge you for assuming this position, SEO is a digital marketing discipline that is still in its infancy, so it is continually evolving – there is always something new. This post is a compilation of the latest trends in Search engine optimization.

 

Word count

Everyone has seen the studies that evaluate “y” number of observations to compile a generalized SEO “standard practice.” It is essential to note that SEO is not always a one-size-fits-all strategy. Nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to the number of words that comprise a web article.

Consequently, it is recommended that you don’t try to win by having the highest word count. Although many recommend that you need as much or more content than everyone else, following this approach may negatively affect your content quality. To expand on this concept, you’ll need an in-depth look at the idea of keywords and completion in search engine results. It is a common belief that online competition comes from large brands or influential thought leaders who regularly release content. Neither of these assumptions is accurate. Your competitors are the website pages that appear on the first page of the search results for a specific keyword. Admittedly, those results might include a massive brand and a few thought leaders. However, more often than not, your market competition will differ significantly from your online rivals. So, to address the question: How many words should be written on a particular topic.

The answer lies in the highest-ranked pages for the keywords you are targeting. If all the highest-ranked words are below 1000 words, then it is safe to do the same. You are not obliged to write 2000 or 3000 words as you might have been led to believe. This will probably save you significant amounts of time and effort. Since you’ll be under less pressure to meet a specific word count, there will be more time to improve your writing quality. This tip should help as you carry out your research and writing tasks. But you should remember that the best approach is to use as many words as required to make a good point.

 

Featured snippets

Featured snippets often sit atop Google’s search results as a way to answer direct question-format searches, and like the other forms of content Google displays, they come from its index. They constitute an enhanced first position on the results page. On occasion, they appear directly below the ads section but above everything else. And in most scenarios where there are no ads for a query, the featured snippet takes precedence. That said, they are still counted among the total number of organic listings on a web page.

According to Danny Sullivan, Google’s search liaison, if a web page is promoted into the featured snippet category, the listing is not repeated in the search results. This is meant to de-clutter the results page and help users find what they’re looking for easily. He concludes by saying featured snippets are considered one of the ten web page results displayed in response to a search query. Featured snippets are different from direct answers in Google’s answer box; featured snippets links to a source, i.e., your content. Direct answers from Google simply provide a solution with no hyperlink (for instance, a response to the question: what’s the time?). There are four types of featured snippets. These are video (YouTube), tables, text, lists.

Proper page construction is vital for earning the elevated status of a featured piece. You need to design the content in such a way as to make it easy for search engines to understand, and it should be organized to answer a question-type search. In a Google webmaster central office hour’s virtual meeting, John Mueller confirmed that concise web page structures help Google choose featured snippets. Clear Html code on those pages helps too; fancy code is harder to identify and process.

So, what does this mean exactly in terms of optimization? It means your Html code should include elements such as:

  • Multilevel Page headings like H1 H2
  • HTML tables
  • Ordered lists
  • Bulleted lists

A key question or keyword in the heading tag, accompanied by an answer in the body text and a summary at the top of the article.

It’s also likely that fragments inside a page are likely to be considered for featured snippet status. Fragments are usually defined by anchor links, i.e., the links from a table of contents to a section within an article.

Google favours fragments because they point to an independent block of text, which likely contains a concise answer to a particular question. Here is how to set that structure up.

  • Write a table of contents for your article.
  • Design the headings to reflect question-type queries
  • Answer the question in the heading in the first sentence or paragraph of text that comes after it

 

Managing schema

Schema markup is an excellent way to optimize content because it allows Google to understand what it means, and it improves the chances that your content will feature as a snippet. Unfortunately, schema guidelines can change several times over a few months, because its specifications are considered more of a living standard that changes over time than an unchanging technical guide. Whenever new releases are published, Schema.org releases a statement on their impact. Each publication can involve several types of change:

  • new schema examples
  • Changes to the textual descriptions of terms such as properties, types, and enumerated values.
  • Modifications to the examples that follow each term. Though examples are not a formal part of schema definitions, they are a fundamental part of Schema.org’s large scale adoption.

Term definitions and descriptions can be moved between schema’s core and its hosted components. Each schema term is categorized either as being “partOf” the core or an extension, and the terms can migrate in either direction. They can be generalized for broader use and transferred to the core, or taken from the core into a hosted extension. It doesn’t suffice to let search engines know what your content means with your schema markup. You should also take steps to ensure it is continuously maintained.

 

Voice search optimization

Did you know that about half of all searches will be by voice by 2021? Right now, nearly 50% of all the people using Google are not typing their queries. They are using voice-enabled devices to do all the work for them. If you think that trend is inconsequential for SEO, then you are wrong. Voice searchers have different behaviours from text searchers. The devices they use, whether its Google Home, Cortana, or Amazon Alexa, take information from search engine results pages and “featured snippets” and play it back as the answer. For a more vivid explanation, a text searcher might type “London. Time.” A voice search, on the other hand, will probably be longer, “what’s the time in London.” to take advantage of voice search, you’ll want to optimize your website to answer questions. Here’s how.

  1. Focus on long-tail keywords

A study by Moz.com found that all voice searches include long-tail keywords and that these terms usually contain three or more distinct words. To rank for long keywords, you need content that targets them on your website with the following approach.

  • find one long-tail keyword
  • Find between 2 and 5 other related long-tail keywords
  • Write a long, detailed article that is a lot better than any pages already ranking for those long-tail keywords. don’t forget to format your content for readability
  • Promote your content aggressively.
  1. Turn your attention to topic clusters, not keywords

Google is changing, and so is its algorithm. Its goal now is to understand user intent. That is, what they expect, what they want, and, more specifically, web pages that would provide the most accurate answer to their query. Your website will not end up on the first page of Google’s results simply because you’ve written keyword-focused content. You need to work on the context that surrounds them as well. Rather than thinking of the many ways users may phrase a search query, you should consider what your users are looking for.

 

Know your audience

You’ve probably heard this before, but the kind of content you create depends entirely on your audience. The more you understand your target market, the more likely it is to create more engaging content and do better search engine optimization.  For instance, assume your keyword tool shows that “blue moon” has a search volume of about 2 million hits per month. That’s a huge potential market, so you should target it diligently, right? Not really. People typing this phrase belong to several separate categories.

  • People interested in blue moon beer.
  • Individuals who are searching for the different phases of the moon.
  • People interested in a popular song of the same title.

If you do not know your target audience, you just might create content for all these subjects. However, that won’t attract readers or get you good rankings because you cannot please all three groups of people with a single piece of text aimed at covering such a broad phrase. By creating personas that reflect the shared preferences of your preferred customers, you’ll be better positioned to identify topics that resonate with your readers, while limiting the possibility that you’ll create content that doesn’t bring in results.

 

Organize your content by clusters

Instead of a narrow focus on keywords, you could organize your content according to different themes. You could break down your content into topics with clusters with a pillar page: an extensive 2000+ article that gives a comprehensive view on a single issue.

Clusters: smaller pages that lead away from the pillar page, explaining specific sections in detail.

 

YouTube SEO

YouTube videos rank often appear on the first page of Google’s search results and perform far better than any other video type. According to Forbes, YouTube is the second most popular search engine, boasting more than 3 billion searches each month. It surpasses Yahoo, Bing, and AOL combined. Most SEO practitioners forget to consider YouTube when they implement a search engine marketing strategy. However, if you are creative and have the resources to make high-quality videos, there’s nothing that can keep you from building a large following on that platform. Some individuals have doubled their inbound traffic by 100%

Here is how to optimize your videos (assuming they have already been created)

like Google’s ranking algorithm, youtube’s ranking software works by interpreting information about your video. The title, filename, and description of the content you have uploaded. All this information affects your YouTube search rankings.

Video title: creating a catchy video title requires a careful balance. Your title must be SEO friendly and appealing to improve click-through rates. Ideally, you should maintain the same style with your video titles as you would with your blog posts.  Another approach is to put keywords at the beginning of the title, then add a sub-header after a colon to provide context. At the very least, your title should have five words and a broad keyword. It may not help you rank in search engine results pages but also get your more clicks.

This post has covered the newest trends in Search engine optimization, but it is worth noting that new developments occur regularly. So if you find something new, please, do share the knowledge.  Furthermore, if you find the concepts discussed too complex to implement on your own, there are several agencies offering digital marketing in Uganda that could help.