Is Your SEO Strategy Ready for 2018?
“Okay, Google. What’s the state of SEO, today? And how do you see it changing this year?”
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the art and science of making your website rank higher in major search engines, like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. At 30 Lines, our goal is to put your website in front of more people, get more qualified traffic to your website, and capture the audience that you want to target online.
To do that, you need to be the best answer to what prospective customers are looking for in search. So let’s look at the three main types of search intent:
- Informational: Queries where people are looking to gain knowledge; often in the form of questions.
Intent: I want to know…
- Navigational: Queries where people are looking to visit a specific website or a specific place; might not know the exact URL or might want the address.
Intent: I want to go…
- Transactional: Queries where people are looking to make a purchase.
Intent: I want to buy…
Informational search intent represents about 50 to 80% of all queries, and 76% of location (or navigational) searches result in a same-day store visit, according to Moz. These statistics make sense when you consider that people primarily use the Internet to answer questions, and are likely to go to a place that they’ve recently looked up.
Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
What people see when they search online varies. Search term results will always fluctuate, and no two people see the same results. The geographical location you’re searching from, your device, and your search history all affect the results you get.
It’s also critical to note the difference between paid and organic online search (SEO). Search results display paid advertisements before organic search results. Now, that doesn’t mean buying ads is a better route to success.
Whether or not your ad appears in one of the top spots is influenced by how much competition there is around the search term. SEO performance is also influenced by competition. However, the effects of SEO can be more impactful long term with the right foundation (optimized metadata, up-to-date local listings, etc.) in place.
Search intent also impacts results. Thanks to more sophisticated algorithms, Google is pretty good at determining what someone is hoping to learn based on the keyword or phrase they search. And different intent translates to different SERP features, or any outcome on a search engine results page that isn’t a traditional organic listing.
There are more than a dozen SERP features that show up in results, including:
The particular SERP features that appear depend on what Google thinks will best answer someone’s question.
Featured snippets, or search results with information extracted from a page (also known as answer boxes), are displayed above the general results. There are three types of featured snippets:
- Short Answer (2 to 3 sentences)
Featured snippets are important for a couple reasons. One, featured snippets take up a lot of real estate on a mobile screen, and nearly 60% of searches now happen on mobile devices. Two, voice search results come from featured snippets, and voice search is on the rise, as evidenced by the popularity of digital assistants, like Siri and Alexa.
Did We Find the Best Answer to Your SEO Query?
When consumers are in the early stages of the buying process, they’re mainly looking for answers. To get them to your website, you’ve got to answer their questions.
Establishing yourself as authority on what they’re looking for is key. If other sites do a better job of answering their search, they’ll get the click— and maybe their business.