Ranking first on a Google search engine results page (SERP) is considered an honorable achievement—but it’s not the only goal that matters.
If you don’t rank first, there’s a lot you can do to improve your organic search results.
Here are four search engine optimization trends to embrace:
1. Combat ad blockers by optimizing organic search rankings.
“Ranking without links is really really hard. Not impossible, but very hard.”
— Gary Illyes, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, October 2016
Research shows that 30 percent of all internet users will employ ad blockers by 2018. Although nearly every page you view, app you download, link you click or product you buy is tracked, you can block cookies (tracking), use anti-spam software, skip ads and customize social media feeds.
To optimize organic search rankings:
- Integrate a multichannel SEO strategy.
- Perform keyword research and target strong keywords that are relevant to each channel.
- Optimize content for searcher intent.
- Incorporate brand keywords.
- Provide high-quality content and keyword-rich links.
- Track and analyze your data.
- Engage your audience on social media.
- Optimize your website with a responsive web design to be mobile-friendly.
2. Build trust and avoid spam.
Social media platforms and search engines will continue to introduce new rules to prevent the spread of fake news, ensure data security and provide relevant information.
This year, Twitter updated its policies by introducing new anti-spam rules. Twitter now prohibits identical content—like the duplicate tweets many businesses posted regularly on multiple Twitter handles. Follow Twitter’s new rules or else you risk getting some (or all) of your accounts shut down.
This is nothing new to marketers who are familiar with Google’s algorithm updates. For example, in 2011 Google began penalizing duplicate content in order to punish low-quality “content farms.” “Content farms” are web pages stuffed full of low-quality content from other sites to drive ranking on search engine results pages.
Google’s aim is to provide searchers what they want, which is high-quality, relevant and valuable content.
To build trust online:
- Create well-written, authoritative content. Don’t be misleading.
- Promote brand awareness and value by telling your company’s authentic story.
- Ensure that your audience’s expectations on your content meet reality.
- Send press releases consistently as an organic approach to telling your company’s story, building trust and engaging your audience.
3. Take advantage of mobile technology and “internet of things.”
According to Doantam Phan, a product manager for Google, Google’s “algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in (their) results.” For this reason, you need to ensure that you consider mobile web browsers when looking at SEO.
“Internet of things” (IoT) will also advance this year. As consumers begin using their network of internet-enabled devices in their cars and home appliances, like virtual assistants Siri and Amazon Alexa, you need to ensure your content is accessible on various devices. Content marketing for tablets, laptops, smartphones and watches requires similar SEO best practices for desktop and mobile.
To increase organic reach for mobile and IoT:
- Build links.
- Lead with the most important information.
- Incorporate multimedia like photo, video or audio in your content to boost engagement.
- Add strong keywords in metadata descriptions.
- Use a mobile-friendly test.
- Write conversational content that’s shareable and compatible on various devices.
- Use campaign tracking links to analyze engagement and click-throughs.
4. Keep up with the latest updates.
Google and other search engines continue to favor quality over quantity, regardless of whether the search is conducted via desktop or voice assistant. Voice-activated search is fast and convenient. Optimize your web pages and content precisely to serve search intent.
To meet the latest search engine requirements:
- Encrypt your website with HTTPS. Don’t get marked as “not secure.”
- Create strong, authoritative URLs that contain keywords.
- Write rich content in natural language.
- Cater your content to answer voice-activated search queries precisely.
- Start early, be active and utilize Google Analytics.
- Pay attention to format.
- Add a call-to-action on web pages.
Marisa Abeyta is a Senior Customer Content Specialist, SEO Certified team member and expert on press release distribution. She’s been with Cision since 2013. Connect with her on LinkedIn. A version of this article originally appeared on the Cision blog.