SEO, in its early days, was a concept that revolved around search engines. With time it has grown beyond that and has taken user experience and usability into account. Changing SEO trends has led to evolving approaches, techniques, and methods of how this practice is used. SEO now works with new technologies like artificial intelligence and voice search. These upgrades have further changed the trends. So, we will look into the best 5 SEO practices for the coming year in no particular order:
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We remember how keywords used to be the primary source of getting a good SEO rank. But now that AI algorithms are being used in SEO, content quality is the most critical factor in SEO. The upgraded algorithms like Bert are now accurate and value quality content on these factors. Bert uses natural language processing to interpret the text better. Quality content can be very time-consuming. You might even end up compromising on the quantity you’ve been providing before. But, it serves you better in the long run.
To write quality content, you need to consider many factors. Your headline should spark interest and make the reader learn more about the topic. Your headline and the first line of your text determines whether the reader will read the rest of your content. Make sure you do thorough research about your topic and only write credible information. Short paragraphs, conciseness, short sentences, and bulleted lists determine original ideas, unique point of view, to the point and personal experience are other important factors for quality content.
The better your writing quality is, the more the chance of people coming back to read more of your work. Quality is the fairest way to rank content and only bring out deserved winners. Quality content is no more a ‘suggested’ or ‘preferred’ technique. It’s a must-have; without it, your ranking is only going to get worse.
As we advance, UX will have a much more noticeable impact on site rankings. When we talk about UX, we make users our priority. Good UX can engage a user and convince them to navigate through your website for an extended period. Bad UX will only lead the user to your competitors. How people navigate, investigate, and scroll through your website is essential. It will play an important role in your website ranking. Another UX factor is that you can offer dark-mode support for your website and people can choose according to their preference. The importance UX carries has increased since people started using mobile devices often.
To navigate through a smartphone can be havoc if the websites are not responsive. According to a May 2020 Google Webmaster Central Blog post, Google Search will now include a few UX signals into its rankings. Google will check a page for its UX against three metrics:
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
LCP reports the render time for the largest image or content block in a single viewport. The most common causes of poor LCP are:
- Slow server response times
- Slow resource load times
- Client-side rendering
First Input Delay (FID)
First Input Delay gives you the time a user takes for the first action on your page after they have opened it. FID under 100ms is considered acceptable, under 300 is considered to be improved and above 300 is considered poor.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
The higher the CLS score, the worse the UX. CLS scores refer to elements of your page shifting position when the page is loading. High CLS scores mean a lot of elements are moved.
It is cool to have a perfect desktop display for your website. But, the trends are changing, and everyone is swift to adapt to them. If you only stick to a desktop website, your website will suffer. You need to follow the trend and make your website mobile-friendly. The mobile search for websites has increased over the years. So, Google now supports anything that has better integration with mobile devices. If one technology improves, everything around it has to improve to find compatibility.
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is a framework optimized for mobile web browsing to load pages faster on mobile devices. A small grey lightning bolt next to some Google search results is the AMP symbol, it confirms that a site is optimized to load faster on mobile.
Improvement in mobile devices has brought new trends out of SEO. This mobile-first indexing update from Google shows why it uses the mobile version of the content for ranking a website.
Voice Search Optimization
Following mobile optimization, we have voice search. It makes searching a much more convenient process. Voice search is conducted on cell-phones most of the time. To include content according to voice search, your website must support mobile devices.
It would be best if you thought when a user is expected to voice search and what for. Mostly it is done on the go, while driving, etc. People are also likely to search for how-to tips and tutorial guides. Voice search is also often used to find restaurants with their menus and their work hours, and so on. A suggestion is to start some of your paragraphs with ‘what,’ ‘how,’ ‘where,’ ‘when,’. This will make your content more suitable for voice search. According to Google, 27% of all mobile searches are done with voice input. One known website that uses voice search optimization is Wikipedia.
Although local SEO has had much less use this year since most people have been sitting at home. But, the pandemic has forced every local business to move towards digital marketing. So, it has also increased the importance of local SEO rankings. Google updates its algorithm for local search and the SERPs results. It accommodates specific types of businesses by new methods to filter data and specific restrictions. 46% of daily searches by users are done with local intent, and 88% of them end up calling or visiting the store the same day. So if you are operating as a local business page, you need to start working on local optimization.
With changing technologies and trends, SEO techniques are changing too. It will only come in handy if you identify your future needs and update your methods accordingly. The sooner you do it, the better because the competition is tough. Millions of similar web pages out there are competing against each other to get a better rank.