The Face of SEO is Changing – What’s in store?

2016 just ended and it was an year full of surprising scientific and technological advances, changing global politics, and business strategies.

Talking about business strategies, businesses in 2016 have focused largely on branding and virtual marketing through Mobile SEO, improved Voice Search, and Social Media SEO.

Don’t you think so? Let’s have a closer look –

  • Apple and Google launched iPhone 7 and Pixel respectively this year.
  • In their survey, 2016 State of inbound report, found that 41% of Voice Search users started using it within last six months, highlighting growing Voice Search user base.
  • They also found that Siri was the most preferred Voice Search program followed by Cortana and Alexa.
  • And as this was happening, the industry giants used social networking sites to advertise the products without hesitation.

I hope you are getting my point now.

2016 has highlighted how Mobile SEO, Voice Search and Social SEO are changing SEO, and how branding paradigm is shifting.

2017 is going to be no different in these regards, in fact, for 66% of marketers; SEO is the top priority for 2017. Check out this amazing infographic by HubSpot on how mobile, voice and social are changing SEO.

infographic on mobile, voice and social seo

But what does this actually mean?

Let us discuss each of these three components separately to understand how Mobile SEO, Voice search SEO, and Social SEO are changing the way we do SEO.

Mobile SEO

mobile seo

Why Mobiles?

  • Mobiles have changed the way we write, speak, and even listen. No wonder mobiles or call it `personal assistants’ are target devices of choice for most of the marketers out there.
  • To give you a numerical idea, as per Statista, in India alone, 684.1 million people use mobiles.
  • To give you an even broader idea, as of 2016, 62.9% of the world population uses mobile.
  • That is an incredible number of technology-dependent people and also a huge target audience. This is when Mobile SEO comes into the picture.

What is Mobile SEO?

It is a website optimization procedure that ensures that users visiting your website through a mobile or a tablet device have a great experience optimized for their device.

Why Mobile SEO?

  • Since a considerable number (33%) of the customer base uses mobiles for business, your website has to be optimized for Mobile SEO.
  • It is so important that Google is working on a separate mobile index to make it a primary index for responding to queries, as Gary Illyes mentioned in his keynote speech at Pubcon.
  • Around 88% SEO experts believe that mobile SEO is on the priority list for Google, need I say more!

How to optimize Mobile SEO?

Just like other SEO tactics, Mobile SEO is achievable with the help of Google guide or you can read our own guide on how to optimize mobile SEO in 2017.

In a nutshell, you need to optimize your website so that –

  • There is a signal to Google when a page is formatted that helps Google serve your clients better.
  • Googlebot can access website resources, leading to easy detection on Google.
  • The user experience is not compromised due to trivial mistakes in optimization.

Voice Search in SEO

voice search seo

“Siri, is Voice Search hyped?”

Not at all!

  • It is indeed a reality that more and more mobile users are making use of Voice Search tool for searching content online, navigation, ordering grocery and what not.
  • The birth of Siri, Cortana and Alexa and upcoming upgrades in these programs means that Voice Search is the next big thing for the businesses.
  • It is the need of the time that your website should be optimized for Voice Search; otherwise the losses for your business may be Brobdingnagian, yeah huge!

What is Voice Search?

As techopedia puts it, Voice search is a speech recognition technology that can be used to perform a device’s functions over voice commands.

Why is Voice Search becoming popular?

Do you remember the era of hands-free mobile device that we used to connect to mobile through a Bluetooth technology? Today’s Voice Search is the next generation hands-free. No wonder, it is the coolest of technologies one can have.

The power of voice search is not limited to search content; but extends to text or call someone, write notes and emails, navigate while on the move, online shopping, and secretly sending ‘LOL’ messages to your colleague sitting next to you in a serious office meeting, all without touching your smart phone.

Google’s mobile voice survey in 2014 showed that 55% of teens and 41% of adults use voice search more than once a day.
And why do they use it? Starting from discrete texting to finding movie time. This means Voice Search is a serious subject when it comes to SEO.

Another study reports an increase of statistical 0 to 10% in global overall search volume through voice search in 2015 than the previous year.

voice search infographic

How to Voice Search SEO?

  • Voice Search SEO is just like traditional keyword research and SEO, but the beautiful thing is that it is more of an artistic than robotic work.
  • The way we write and the way we talk is not the same. Therefore, Voice Search SEO focuses on understanding short and long keywords the way a user would ask the program in a manner of conversation.
  • Generally users seek answers to their WH questions on Voice Search, therefore Voice Search SEO should focus on questions like `Where is the closest bus station?’, `Who is Donald Trump?’ etc.
  • The most frequently asked questions on Voice Search start with ‘who’ and this should be enough information to start thinking about optimization strategies.
  • Concentrate on semantics for optimization. Understand the meaning of the search term. ‘Reading between the lines it is’, I hope you understand what I mean.
  • Provide a rich metadata and microdata such as the location of the company, services, year of establishment, the number of employees, opening timings etc. for aiding in voice search. In short, provide Google with readable feed.
  • Make your website mobile friendly by using tactics of Mobile SEO combined with Voice Search SEO. Take Google’s Mobile SEO test to check where your website stands and in which areas you can improve on Mobile SEO and Voice Search.

Social Search and Social Media SEO

social seach and social media seo

Since 2014, there has been an increase in social content consumption by users.
This means that if you are not into Social SEO, for a social media user the possibility of finding your business online is very low.

What is Social Search and Social Media SEO?

  • Social search basically means searching and retrieving user-generated content on social search engines such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube etc.
  • This content could be a press release, news, information about the company, product prices, reviews and feedbacks and so on.
    Social Media SEO and Social Media Marketing (SMM) are two different, but mutually interdependent marketing strategies.
  • Both the strategies act complementary to each other and both are organic and inbound strategies.

Why Social SEO matters?

  • It would not be a joke if I say that half of the world population is on virtual social networks and hence Social SEO matters.
  • The 2016 State of inbound report suggests that Social Media SEO is a game changer in SEO.
  • The report found that per day there are 2 billion searches on Facebook and 3 billion on Google, meaning that Social Networking sites are becoming a favorite destination for content search.
  • In addition, since 2014, social content consumption has tremendously increased on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  • To compensate for social search Google has started its own social search engine – Google Social Searcher.
  • In fact, bots and social media are interrupting SEO, and therefore, Social SEO is of paramount value for your business.

Dos and Don’ts of Social SEO

  • Although your website shows who you are, your social presence shows what users think you are. So, never ever neglect Social Media SEO.
  • Remember, Social is a search engine itself and that means it will always help you grow your business if it is listed on social and optimized using Social SEO.
  • As said previously, Social Media Marketing and Social Media SEO go hand in hand. Therefore, you have to carefully choose Social Media SEO strategies for boosting traffic to your social sites and websites.
  • Keep posting updates, news, press releases, and product launch on your company’s Facebook or Twitter account in a regular interval. Timely posting definitely helps in Social SEO.
  • Make use of multimedia and social features such as Twitter Moments. Increasing engagement on your social sites is a way of increasing number of followers leading to Social Media SEO.

Wrapping Up

Mobile SEO, Social SEO, and Voice Search are changing the way SEO is done. There would be more to it as we discover newer and newer technology.

Millions of users are already using the latest technology and it is up to businesses to adapt to it and optimize their websites for these devices and platforms.

There are ways to do it, briefly discussed in this article and there might be more to add as well.

The upcoming year of 2017 is again going to be full of technological advances and coevolving business strategies.

Social Search is becoming increasingly popular and traditional SEO, sometimes referred as Google Optimization, is a thing of past. Social Media SEO is something to look for.

The technology is evolving faster than ever and user expectations are changing. So, are you ready for the next big thing in SEO?

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