A lot had predicted the death of Search Engine Optimisation, but SEO is nowhere near its demise – it has just changed its form in the last few years.
Gone are the days of keyword repetitions through content and meta tags, and no longer do countless directory and social bookmarking submissions counted as quality link building. Rankings – as what was once believed to be the goal of SEO – is not the be all end and be all these days.
What then should we expect in the world of SEO now, and moving on into next year?
Localisation is now more important than ever.
Search results vary due to different factors. When a person is logged in Google, more customisations in search results occur such as location, city, preferences, interests, etc. From country to country or city to city, search results vary too. Make sure you optimise for geographical location in the content and meta information.
SEO is less about ranking, it’s more on the return of your investment (ROI).
As search results now vary based on your location, it gets more and more challenging (and quite impossible!) to obtain top rankings in all cities, countries, etc as these are factors beyond our control. At times, high traffic and ranking do not necessarily mean more conversions. It’s now also important to set up Google Search Console, optimise your Google Analytics, and start tracking and reporting. When all has been set up, that way you can really drill down into the data and understand what’s working and what needs more attention.
Mobile responsive, and now there’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Page).
You may have heard this over and over again: more and more people are using their smartphones and tablets for shopping, searching, etc. If your site is not mobile responsive, you are sure to lose a large chunk of the mobile-using market. Now, as well as being mobile responsive, there is AMP to consider. Google introduced AMP last year to address the importance of speed in the mobile platform. The AMP format removes all the extras from a site, allowing it to load as quickly as possible. So it’s worth considering incorporating the AMP framework into your mobile sites.
HTTPS encrypted websites are now a ranking factor.
A while back, Google announced that securing your website using HTTPS is becoming a ranking factor as this search engine giant is really pushing for secure websites. At first, it was only for ecommerce sites but just recently, with security being a top priority, all websites must be HTTPS encrypted. Unsecured websites show signs of untrustworthiness, and as such can affect a website’s ranking position.
Quality content wins over keyword variation and density
Back in the day, SEO content had to contain keyword variations, both short and long, and with a density of 3% to 5%. As we move forward, Google now puts more emphasis on relevant content that engages readers. While keywords must still be the backbone of SEO, these should be placed strategically, tastefully and seamlessly throughout the content. When creating content, always remember to write for the people reading it, not the search engine robots.