Searching the web today is nothing like what it was even a few years ago. Google and other major search engines have stopped merely trying to supply you with information and are now moving towards truly understanding what you’re looking for to supply you with answers—and it’s a change that’s happening continually even now.
Conforming to the new standard of “answer searching” is something that businesses big and small need to take into consideration if they’re to retain their clout in returned search engine rankings, which is why we’re providing eight of the newest optimization trends for your consideration now and in the future:
1. Authorship is key for better SERPs
Authors who have tagged their posts, provided images and optimized for other data will see this data appear within search engine listings themselves, rather than remaining hidden until the link is clicked on. The result is a more refined listing, more credibility and better traffic.
2. Published authors receive more clicks
Elaborating on Google authorship and its benefits, not only do these listings appear to be more encompassing in Google’s results, they also are perceived to be more credible by those searching for answers. Results have shown that authored links garner up to 25 percent more clicks than their unverified counterparts and, as more authored links appear from the same source, they’ll rise in relevance.
3. Content marketing trumps sales marketing
In this day and age, people are tired of being sold to. More Internet users than ever before are confident in their ability to make their own choices based on the information they’re given and to this tune, will invariably trust information over a sales pitch. Optimizing your content for information as opposed to sales will yield better results in terms of ROI. In fact, studies have shown that a whopping 44 percent of new lead generation can be attributed to content marketing, as opposed to direct sales marketing!
4. Google’s Hummingbird update is seeking answers
Google has always been an outlet for answers, but until its Hummingbird update, queries had been treated as they were submitted. Hummingbird doesn’t just take a search query word for word and try to return the best results, it attempts to understand the query as a whole, to return answers as they’re asked. Keeping up with this update and future updates means formatting your website to provide answers, not just information.
5. Semantic search applies to all searches
Traditional desktop searches have always reigned supreme in the eyes of search engines, but as we know now, mobile devices are quickly taking over. Optimizing your website for mobile users means applying the same semantic approach as you would for desktop browsers. By the year 2020 there will be more than 30 billion mobile devices accessing the Web, making it imperative to start optimizing your information now for a future that’s certain to be mobile.
6. Trust is key
Did you know that 81 percent of Internet searchers are more likely to visit, browse and utilize a site that they trust? This figure should be an obvious one, as trust is crucial in any relationship, but is something that many marketers forget about when providing content. Being transparent is key—and that means attributing data to reliable sources, creating original content and exhibiting a sense of social and corporate responsibility that’s visible to your audience.
7. Word of mouth marketing is unbeatable
There’s no better complement for a website than a genuine user referral. Having a prolific fan base that has nothing but good things to say about your site means more than just an ego boost, however—it means a web of trust that’s always expanding. In the new age of semantic marketing and searching, being backed by an audience that has something good to say about your website means ranking above those less deserving of praise.
8. The Web is getting bigger
These days, performing a Google search means more than finding the right website—it’s about finding the right information. The more places you’re active on the web, the better the chance that your website is going to be the one providing the information someone is looking for. Having a proper location in Google Places, hosting an events or editorial calendar, being active on social media and listing your website across every applicable platform is going to reign in a semantic search faster than anything else.