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SEO Trends: What’s in, What’s out?

Just as Google’s infamous algorithm continues to evolve, so do SEO tactics. SEO is a perpetually changing mechanism that adapts according to its surroundings. With Google placing a much higher priority on keeping users satisfied these days, some SEO techniques have become stale, while new ones are quickly materialising into existence.

But how do you know if you’re still stuck in the olden days when it comes to your website’s optimisation?

To give you a hand, we’re filtering out used-and-abused SEO techniques and shining a light on the ones that are powering ahead right now.

What’s out:

Keyword-cramming. Gone are the days of peppering your copy with X amount of keywords to reach a certain density. Yes, keywords are still largely important (after all, they determine the topic of your page and therefore relate back to the terms a user punches into a search engine), but Google much prefers keywords that lace your content in a very natural fashion nowadays.

Exact keyword phrases. Following on from the previous point, digital marketers needn’t adhere to strict phrasing with their keywords anymore. In the past, this has often been the case, resulting in completely nonsensical sentences at times. Keyword phrases are certainly encouraged (in fact, recent statistics indicate that half of search entries are four words or longer), but that doesn’t mean you have to forego necessary prepositions to insert phrases exactly as they are into your copy.

Quantity over quality link-building. For a long time, it was believed that the more inbound links, the better. This is no longer the case. In today’s SEO landscape, that old adage has been replaced by the need to concentrate on building high-quality links to bridge solid connections with other relevant thought leaders. Not only is this advisable, but falling back on the old tactic could potentially land you in Google’s bad books – therefore best to avoid it at all costs.

What’s in:

Semantic SEO. What exactly is “semantic SEO”? Well, it refers to the shift of focus from keywords to page topics. Content will always remain king when it comes to digital marketing, it just looks a little different these days. As such, marketers should no longer write with search engines in mind, but with their end user’s desires and needs at the forefront. To do this, marketers should be producing content that is unique, data-rich and well-written, which provides tangible value to the reader.

Mobile-first design. In the past, it’s been considered worthwhile to render your website mobile-friendly. Now, that’s simply something that can’t be compromised. We’ve previously touched on the current surge of mobile searches and Accelerated Mobile Pages, and it’s something that marketers definitely need to heed attention to. Designing a web experience purely for desktop and laptop screens these days is simply a no-no.

Voice search. Recent advancements in voice search are making this tool an increasingly popular method: the ease and convenience means that users are quick to latch onto the growing trend, which in turn means that Google will likely adjust its algorithm to favour this new mechanism. Though the potential to generate more web traffic from voice search remains fairly untapped thus far, a number of marketers are already considering this avenue and beginning to implement it into their strategies.

If you haven’t already, make sure you get onto updating your SEO strategy to successfully bring your marketing efforts into 2017.

by Daniel Tse

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