Top 6 SEO Trend for This Year
With each New Year, we can expect new search trends to emerge. For this year, I looked all across the search engine optimisation (SEO) industry, to discover the new trends you should be on the lookout for. It’s always in your best interest to account for the direction the search engines are going in, as that will ensure you’re always one or two steps ahead of things.
Core Web Vitals
Google announced the introduction of three new ranking metrics in May 2020. These were referred to as Core Web Vitals, developed as a way of measuring user experience. These three metrics are visual stability, loading and interactivity. All three ranking metrics are related to page speed. Essentially, how long it takes for a page to load, how stable the page is during page load, and how long it takes for the interactive components to appear.
Core Web Vitals is a newly added ranking factor for Google’s search engine, as of right now, which means, these are things you’ll want to consider, if you hope to rank well in the search engines. For example, if you have two pages, on a similar subject, with similar content quality, then ranking factors like core vitals will come into the equation, to determine which one ranks higher.
Google let everyone know that they’ll continue to prioritise mobile first, when they introduced a search engine results page, specifically for the mobile device. Google now has a unique mobile SERP layout, which includes all the usual, ads and organic search results on the page together. As of right now, around 60% of search queries occur on a mobile device, so we can expect continued emphasis on the mobile, for years to come. If you want additional traffic, then you should ensure that your site displays correctly on a mobile phone.
High quality content is an integral component of SEO, which means it’s equally important for the average webmaster or business owner. For this reason, you always want to prioritise unique content for your website. The reasons are simple.
Would you go out and purchase something you already own? The answer is no. And the same rule applies for the search engines. Google hosts millions of pages of content, and many of which are identical. Thus, if you were to write something on a particular subject, that was similar to something already in their search engine, there would be no reason for Google to index and/or rank it. Google would serve to benefit nothing, as the end user has no interest in reading pages and pages of the same content. It’s for this reason why Google prioritises unique, useful, highly quality content.
The best way to produce unique content is to take inspiration from other content, such as customer testimonials, experiences, company milestones, studies and other things. This will ensure that whatever you come up with, will be totally unique, which in turn will help you rank better, and help your site establish trust with the major search engines.
Google made a significant change or upgrade to their search engine, in the year 2019. A change that can only be compared to Rank Brain. It was when they introduced an open-sourced neural network-based technique, for natural language processing. They referred to this complex technique as BERT or Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers.
To simplify things, BERT is designed to help systems understand language similar to the way people do. It does this through its ability to recognise context, nuances, semantics, which in turn helps the search engine deliver search results that are more relevant to what the user is looking for. For example, Google’s search engine is able to understand prepositions, such as “to” or “for”, which have different meanings, depending on where it’s placed in the search query. BERT also has a major impact on the relevancy and quality of snippets, on all languages of the search engine.
Google first announced that around 10% of all their queries would be impacted by the introduction of BERT. And with most of the major search engines shifting towards NLP, semantic based search engine optimisation should be something you take into consideration when doing your SEO. BERT looks for content that is most relevant, with related keywords, especially in long search term queries.
Local Search Evolution
The impact of the recent pandemic has not yet been fully realised, as such, we are continuing to navigate our way through it. However, one change we can say is here to say, is the rapid shift we’ve witnessed towards digital channels as our main source for information, when buying things. Local Search was heavily impacted by the pandemic. In the first six months, the data showed a heavy emphasis on local search traffic, with people searching on queries that included things like “open now”, “local” and “near me”.
Another thing to keep in mind is that, when dealing with local search, a whopping 50% of these queries end without the end user clicking through to a different site. When we consider these factors, which is, the increased interest in local search, and zero-click search behaviour, this makes optimising your local listing and taking full advantage of all its different features, especially with Google My Business, is increasingly more important today. Half of the people searching on these queries are likely to make a purchasing decision, without visiting any website, outside of Google itself.
As I already touched on, it’s important we do not underestimate our local search listings. Zero-click searches has made local SEO more important today than ever before. Google is now capable of answering a large number of queries, which means users do not have to visit the page to find the information they’re looking for. The vast majority of zero-click searches tend to be local based. If you want to take advantage of this search volume, then you’ll need to build a strong backlink profile, and you can’t go wrong by setting up your own Google My Business account – as I’ve already explained.
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website https://www.compuchenna.co.uk.