The web is a very democratic medium, unlike the print and television where you need to pay for access to good quality content and software. Therefore, for content developers and marketers, a web is an open medium where there is an equal opportunity for the content to be seen by the visitors but depending on how search engines display the search results on a particular keyword or words.
Until a few years ago, it was popularly believed that all that mattered was a usage of popular keywords in a title, body text and description of websites. And articles and blogs need to just focus on popular keywords and Google will do the rest regarding top placement in search results. But the fact is that most websites and marketers were adopting the same strategy of keyword-based promotion and content creation with the result search engines had to become intelligent to understand the relevant ones from the irrelevant ones, quality ones from mediocre and also had to identify the original content from plagiarized ones.
Search engine leaders Google led the research in this area and came up with several new algorithmic changes with the objective of providing the best results for search queries by people. Naturally, enough website developers and marketers focused on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) as a strategy to get top page ranking Google and get into top search results for their relevant keywords. SEO trends refer to the process adopted by website developers to improve the visibility of the site on organic (natural or unpaid) search engine results pages (SERPs). This is achieved by incorporating search engine friendly elements into a website.
Quite frequent changes in search engine algorithms made people think that Search Engine Optimisation is dead. But it is far from true. Google and other search engines continue to innovate with their search engine algorithms to bring better search results for internet users.
SEO trends and how it will impact marketing
Brian Dean, an SEO expert has outlined several key SEO trends based on a million search results in Google and this can help content marketers and SEO marketers to better understand the dynamics of search engine functioning and devise ways to achieve a better return on investment (ROI)
- Avoid over-emphasis on keywords:
Many people still believe that keywords are a most important factor in SEO trends but SEO research shows that the number of times a keyword appears in a section, title or article has no bearing on your page appearing in top search results. Google now looks at how much depth the article or web section has gone into that keyword or phrase.
For example, when a net user searches for the keyword, ‘who’s the Infosys CEO’, Google crawls for sites that contain the key strings Infosys CEO or so it was thought. However, research shows Google looks for websites that cover the topic in detail, not how many times the keyword has appeared in a page or section. In this case, it would look for pages that contain in-depth information about Mr Vishal Sikka, who is the CEO thereby bringing the most relevant search results for users. Therefore, any article related to IT industry where Infosys CEO is deliberately or randomly mentioned here and there without much relevance to Mr Vishal Sikka as a person or his work, may not get a place in search engine rankings.
- Topically, relevant content important:
A topic or a subject can be covered in-depth or at the superficial level. However, the new algorithmic changes in search engines give prominence to in-depth coverage of a particular topic or keyword. So the average length of an article or blog should ideally be around 1900 to 2000 words to get noticed.
- Original Content & Photos Vs Plagiarised content:
A few years ago it was commonplace for websites and blogs to earn good popularity and income just by copying content from various sites and compile them. Some others went to the extent of rewriting and editing the content from other sites. Now intelligent algorithm can detect copied or rephrased content much easier and it applies to photographs and illustrations too. Therefore, it pays to invest time and effort to create original content to stand out. In other words, what matters most is how original the content is and how popular the topic is among the people, not the popular SEO keywords repeated in it.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Content with image has a better chance to get on top of search rankings although too many photos aren’t that useful
- Shorter URL’s perform better:
Every website and page has got a universal resource locator (URL) that helps identify a page or a site on the World Wide Web (www). For example, www.indiagov.org, the portal of India Government. SEO Research indicates that shorter URLs are likely to get better rankings in search results compared to longer URL’s. Google algorithms look at the first five words and give lesser importance to the words after that.