Key SEO Developments You Should Know About

search rank optimisationGoogle makes between 500-600 algorithm changes each year but since it made major updates in 2013 and 2014, SEO has never been quite the same. Here are some of those key developments that you should know and consider when planning your SEO strategy this year.

Stronger focus on quality content

Remember the maxim “Content is king”? It still applies, but this time, there’s a stronger emphasis on quality. Before 2013, ranking well in search results was so much easier: just set up a website, fill it up with unexceptional content, point a few links at it, and your visibility online should be good.

Today, however, the usual SEO techniques like putting in sitemaps or making articles keyword-dense are no longer enough. To rank better, you need to produce quality content that people actually share; you have to engage in content marketing.

Take note that the term “content marketing” may be misleading–it’s not the practice of promoting content; content marketing is the creation and sharing of valuable content to acquire customers.

Google also introduced a feature called “in-depth articles”, which is a new section in search results. Here, comprehensive, high-quality content are emphasised about a certain subject.

Importance of mobile design

Microsoft predicts that mobile internet will overtake desktop internet usage in 2014. Whether it actually happens this year or the next, your website should already be optimised for smaller screens. Why? There are two major reasons:

  • Your website stands to lose mobile readers and customers if you don’t.
  • From an SEO standpoint, Google recommends it.

Take note that Google supports several options that you can use when revamping your website:

  • Responsive design, which means your website adjusts to the size of the device viewing it.
  • Dynamic serving refers to a design where the website displays different HTML, depending on whether the viewing device is a mobile device or desktop.
  • A separate mobile website, which uses different HTML and URLs, depending on the device.

Of the three options, Google prefers responsive design; it’s better for SEO because your website would use the same HTML on just one URL. Unlike dynamic serving or a separate mobile site, responsive design lets you keep most of your website’s information.

Emphasis on Google Authorship

Google Authorship may have been around since 2011, but it’s only now that webmasters are appreciating its significance, especially since Google has verified that they use some kind of ranking system that measures the authority of content authors. This means Google may give higher rankings to content made by high-ranking authors.

Evolution of search

Today, search has become much more sophisticated. Thanks to Google’s Hummingbird algorithm, the search engine can now understand a query’s context. Previous algorithms focused on each word, but Hummingbird also takes into account the meaning of the entire phrase or sentence.

So if you search: “Where is the closest hotel?”, the results won’t just show a list of webpages that would help you find the closest hotel; Google would display a rich snippet of the closest hotels prominently in the search results so you won’t have to go through each link in the results page.

How does Hummingbird affect SEO? Now, users won’t have to enter the exact keywords to get the results they’re looking for. Furthermore, since users can now get results without ever loading a webpage, the update has affected the traffic of many websites.

Search Engine Optimisation