Only marketers with a well thought out plan for your SEO strategy manage to ride the SEO wave every year without falling by the wayside. They do it by staying on top of upcoming trends and coming up with specific action plans for tapping into each trend.
In the past twelve months, Google shook up global business by focusing its efforts on mobile and loading speed. Outside Google’s sphere of influence, there have also been some game-changers that shape how leading marketers structure their SEO campaigns.
Let’s have a look at four trends and strategies for taking advantage of them.
- Page speed
Principal among on Google’s priorities list is delivering the best user experience at top speeds. For a long time, page loading time on desktop has been a ranking factor. In July, page loading time on mobile made the list of top ranking factors.
For this reason, it’s important that you learn what metrics Google uses to evaluate page speed. According to PageSpeed Insights, sites were evaluated on basic technical parameters. Today, the search engine uses two different metrics to grade both mobile and desktop: speed and optimization.
In this case, the game-changer is how Google generates the score for speed. Data is gleaned from Chrome User Experience report, a performance database for real users. The reports show each visitor’s experience of your page loading speeds. It’s difficult to get an accurate measure of the speed with which your pages load on each user’s device, so conducting local speed tests is almost impossible.
Action plan: You can improve optimization by rectifying all the issues that make negatively your page load speeds.
- Mobile-first indexing
Mobile-first indexing means that Google indexes and ranks your business site based on the performance of its mobile version. The process of migrating sites to mobile-first indexing started in March 2018. You might have received a notification from Search Console.
It is, however, important to note that mobile-first indexing is not synonymous with mobile-only indexing. Google has a central index containing both mobile and desktop versions of sites.
- If you haven’t created a mobile version of your site, the time is now.
- Use a mobile bot to learn how search engine crawlers see your mobile pages.
- Use PageSpeed Insights to track the loading speed of your mobile pages.
- Monitor the user experience delivered by your mobile pages.
Many people’s inboxes were filled with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) emails earlier this year. GDPR address the issue of who owns data generated from users’ interactions.
According to the new rules, the users—not the corporations—own the data. A user can therefore request for all the personal data collected by a company and ask for its export or correction. Failure to comply to the request opens the company up to a fine of €20 million or 4 percent of the company’s annual profit.
These rules affect both customers and businesses in the EU. International companies are also expected to comply the regulations. For this reason, Google factored them into its Analytics. Personal user data now expires 26 months after it is collected. The data includes affinity and demographic data, both of which were held indefinitely.
Every site can, however, change its default period for data collection. Also important to note that that a user can request deletion of all their data.
Action plan: Switch to Google Analytic’s “do not automatically expire” option.
- Brand as a ranking signal
According to SEO expert researchers, the search engine considers brand mentions when ranking sites. You can take advantage of brand as a ranking signal in two ways.
First, Google learns that you brand is an entity when it comes across brand mentions that aren’t linked. The search engine conducts further analysis of who mentions your brand to determine whether it’s an authority in a given field.
Second, the search engine takes into account the context and sentiment of each component. Google therefore considers trust, reputation, complaint-solving, advertising, and so on. Context enables Google to distinguish the good from the bad.
- Keep taking advantage of backlinks. Use every natural opportunity to mention the name of your brand online.
- Cultivate a good reputation. Promptly address customer issues. Engage your happy customers too. Monitor your brand mentions using tools such as Awario.
- Identify influencers who are talking about you and those who would be willing to talk about you.