As we explore the digital culture of 2018, we as digital marketing agencies ask, “what are the significant changes to watch out for, so that we can assist clients in meeting them?”
Mobile First Indexing
The first and most prominent change is the higher use of mobile for search. Mobile has been growing and is stronger than ever. Mobile is so important that Google is moving into what is called a Mobile First indexing. This means that Google will scan the mobile version of your website for search engine optimization (SEO) cues before they scan the desktop version of your website.
For business owners, this means making sure the mobile version of your website is up to par. Is your mobile site a spin-off of your desktop, which was built to be responsive? Then you are probably okay… If your mobile website was built as a separate unit from your desktop website (as they did back in the day), you might need an upgrade. You can read more about this in detail on Search Engine Land.
Next, is recognizing that people are using their phones to search for information in a whole different way than they used to on their laptops. Queries are often phrased as such:
Restaurants near me
Coffee shops near me
What fun things are there to do around me
What is the best lunch spot
How much is my car worth
What can I make with chicken breast
These types of searches have been used for quite some time. This odd shift in the way people are searching now includes more statements that tack-on:
People are speaking to their phones or Google as if it were a highly sophisticated technological mentor – and in some ways, it is. Such queries are looking like:
How much do I need to retire
What is the best restaurant for me
Should I wash my hair every day
What’s the best diet for me
Should I invest in mutual funds or bonds
With this information on how people are now searching, a website owner can begin to formulate content on their websites and within their meta tags to include such statements. Answering people’s questions in the format they are asking and understanding the context, is critical today.
With the affordability of voice order devices such as the Alexa, Echo, HomePod, Cortana and more, people are asking for information in unique ways. Statistic’s on Voice Search for 2018 and how it is growing are pretty amazing, and Mike Jeffs has compiled these statistics in this article.
For SEO agencies, we are examining the common sense around it all. If someone were asking a device in their home a question, what would be some of the common ways that question would be posed or refined? Once we get to the bottom of that, we then begin to use these longer phrases in the optimization of websites and in the building of content for the website.
Because people can speak almost 40x faster than they can type, it’s easier to just keep querying a machine until it finds the right answer for you. An example would be – a family sitting around after the holidays and wondering where they should all meet up again for the summer. With this in mind, someone may ask the smart speaker, ‘where is the best place for a family vacation?’ Another question might simply be, ‘who delivers pizza near me?’
With this information, local SEO, meaning SEO for location-based businesses, is more critical than ever. Local SEO gets you on the Google map, shows first according to the distance the asker is from you, puts you ahead of bigger brands and gives you an edge.
There is no end to the number of questions people are now relying on their phones or smart speakers to provide now. With people feeling more isolated and in need of advice, they are asking information about their: pets, healthcare, beauty, fitness, autos, travel and tourism, places to stay and more. With that, how optimized is your website for today and the future?
About: Pamela Ravenwood is a digital marketing specialist and strategist. She contributes to a number of publications and stands on the forefront of the digital marketing industry.