In the beginning, search results were easily gamed. You used the primary keyword as many times as possible, everywhere we could. If you wanted to rank, you'd use it 100 times. If a competitor wanted to outrank you, they'd use it 125 times. But search is far from simple now. Long-tail keywords, inbound links, and relevant content are all taken in to consideration. The next five years will see even greater change. Our friends at HubSpot share 3 Emerging Search Patterns That Are Changing the Face of SEO.
1. Mobile Search
We all know the lion's share of web usage has moved from desktop to mobile devices. At last count, 60 percent of internet use took place on mobile. It turns out that 85% of the time we spend on phones is spent in apps -- really it's spent in just a handful of apps. So, if internet activity is growing on mobile, and mobile activity is predominantly spent in apps, what does that mean for search engines?
It doesn't look as though desktop browser use is declining as of yet, but it has flat-lined; and content consumption within apps and devices has opened up in a big way. Unfortunately, content in apps isn't easily traversed via traditional browser-based search engines nor optimized via traditional search engine optimization. App stores, by both Google and Apple, are still the primary mechanism for finding new apps and content.
Here Evans frames the situation well again, "Today, app stores look a lot like the Yahoo of 20 years ago, and they don't work for the same reasons - you can browse 20,000 apps but not a million. Hierarchical directories don't scale."
Which means, better app search is coming. Better app search is inevitable. In the meantime, Spotlight search on the iPhone is worth taking seriously. Often thought of as a quick search tool for the contents of your iPhone, Spotlight can actually search within apps and even bypass Google to bring you some web results. It is its own search mechanism and, as such, will need its own optimization rules.
2. Social Search
The second search-related change on social has to do with how the major social channels are beginning to treat content. We call them social "channels" because these sites have historically been a pass-through for businesses and publications -- a way to promote content and get viewers back to your websites.
However, in the last year, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat have all released features designed to keep viewers on their sites and in their apps, with no pass-through. Facebook introduced instant articles, which contain the full article within the Facebook app rather than requiring a clickthrough.
Social media has long been considered a powerful channel through which visitors find content on your website. These subtle changes however are pointing to a future that looks quite different. And if content becomes more decentralized away from the website, optimization of that content will likely change, too.
3. Voice Search & Personal Assistants
The emergence of voice-activated personal assistants has run alongside the rapid development of connected devices beyond the desktop computer or smart phone. As our access to the internet has diversified, so has our search behavior. These automated friends consider our natural language, expanded search windows, and our searching history and content to tailor results to our usage.
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If all this sounds intimidating, let the experts at Front Burner Marketing show you the way to the future.