SEOs and business owners alike have a huge stake in the future of search. They must stay ahead of the curve while mitigating any negative impacts of the ever-evolving Google algorithm.
Industry leaders from across the globe gathered in San Diego to discuss and share strategies that align with these foreseeable changes and trends. While Google is nearing the day of understanding natural language, we as searchers are revolutionizing the way the engine delivers results through our own implicit information and intent signals.
Takeaway 1: Implicit vs. Explicit Signals
Tom Anthony from Distilled gave an example of how implicit signals are shaping the way we unconsciously search, and how we are providing less and less information because we have created an expectation that Google will know what we want.
Explicit aspect of a query: “San Diego Amtrak”
If someone were to search for “San Diego Amtrak,” a search engine would have to guess the searcher’s intent. But search engines are able to extract implicit aspects of a query (such as 1. on an iPhone, 2. on the intersection of Kettner and Broadway) to conclude that this particular person is most likely looking for a schedule of the trains coming into that particular station. Other implicit signals search engines utilize to get to know you and deliver the most personalized results are:
Use of wearable technologies
Time of day
What browser you are using
As cross-device analytics get more precise and more signals are picked up, Google will try to become the closest thing to a personal assistant many people will ever have.
Takeaway 2: Treat Mobile Differently Than Desktop
Helpful Tips to Keep in Mind When Optimizing for Mobile
Desktop should always be your default canonical
Search results vary based on:
Browser login status
Type of browser
Android vs. iPhone
Internet speed – bad connection
Server speed and rendering takes a bigger toll on mobile sites than desktop
Hidden text and links are devalued
Takeaway 3: Optimize For What Would Happen if You Did Rank
Even if placing emphasis on keyword rankings is considered an “outdated” way of thinking, it still is a measure for success that brings a little gratification to those who are doing your SEO. But have you ever wondered what would happen if you did rank 1 or 2? Would it be because you deserve to be there and your content far surpasses the following results? Is your design and user experience top-notch? Are you answering the searchers’ intent?
Many times we create content that we think is “all that and a bag of chips;” however, what we don’t take into consideration are the implicit signals and the intent of thousands of different searchers. Wil Critchlow, from Distilled, suggests asking yourself the following questions. If your page were to rank:
Would I click?
Do I like what I see?
Do I get what I want?
To close, SEO is just a big game that requires strategy, out-of-the-box thinking and practice to beat your competitors. So do your research, try different tactics, quantify your data and use testing to figure out what Google wants from your site.
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We’re a San Diego-based legal marketing agency who’s been serving personal injury firms nationwide for over ten years. Like you, we want to make the world a better place.
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