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Ok, sorry to disappoint, but this post isn’t really that much to do with Game of Thrones (my bad!). However, winter actually is coming (although, as with Game of Thrones, it feels like winter has been here for a while already in the UK now), and you do actually need to make sure you’re prepared, SEO-wise, for 2018! These are a few things we think you may be impacted by, and may need to work on in the coming year...
A lot of you may remember the big ‘Mobilegeddon’ of 2015, right? Maybe you have no idea what I’m talking about (I’m not just making up words, I promise!), so maybe you just remember starting to receive a lot of sales calls telling you that you needed a responsive website... like, yesterday!
Don’t get me wrong, having a responsive website is important, as this ensures your website is user-friendly across any device it is viewed on, and this is still the case. However, the game is changing slightly again… I know, Google like to keep us all on our toes! You may not necessarily need to fork out for a whole new website, however, I would definitely suggest taking a look at the percentage of traffic your website is receiving from mobile devices.
In this case, this website is receiving 58.57% of their traffic from mobile-users. This means their mobile website needs to be up to the challenge! It’s all well and good having your website “work” responsively - by that I mean it physically responds to the device it’s being viewed on - but does it actually work for the users? Does it look just as good on mobile as it does on desktop? Is it user-friendly enough on a mobile device?
With the rise in mobile users, Google are really upping their game on the mobile website front, so you need to make sure you’re also upping yours… Sometimes it’s just a case of doing research, if you’re unable to do this yourself make sure to hire the right people for the job, and in some cases it might take being a little patient - Just like building your army of White Walkers and waiting for the opportunity of taking your dragon to break through The Wall… That’s the same thing, right?!
You may have been noticing that when you perform a search query within Google, that sometimes you don’t need to go off and find the information for yourself, Google will do it for you and provide you with a “featured snippet” at the top of the results, known as “position 0” - See, they are good to us sometimes.
In order to get your website featured in these snippets, you need to be able to provide a quick, and useful, answer to the user’s search query. Trust me, this sounds more difficult than it probably is. You just need to do a bit of research to find out the questions people are asking, in relation to your business and provide the content to answer those questions. Google has really started looking out for those websites that are making it as easy as possible for a user to find a solution to their query, so by doing this, you’re earning yourself from Google brownie-points!
With the introduction of more and more voice command devices, there has (obviously) been an increase in people using voice search. This has, in turn, also changed the way people are searching - If you manually type a query into a search engine, it’s likely to be different to a voice search, right?
This then means that SEO professionals, and businesses, need to re-think their content and SEO strategies to cater for this new-found way of searching; using a more ‘conversational’ tone of voice.
I think one of the main things to focus on here is local search. A lot of people seem to use voice search to find certain things within their area, for example if they’re looking for somewhere to eat they may go “Ok Google… Restaurants Near Me”. Google will pick up the user's’ location and show them a list of local restaurants in the area.
I think a lot of SEO professionals would still argue that social media doesn’t have any affect on a website’s SEO. This is probably due to the fact that search engines have ensured that social signals (likes, shares, and all that kind of stuff that make you feel more popular on social media) don’t have any direct effect on rankings.
However, I’m not convinced that this doesn’t have any effect whatsoever… I think that having consistent information across all of your social media platforms, and your website, can help build trust within the search engines, which in turn, helps with rankings. As long as you keep your social media platforms updated with regular posts, and content, then even if this doesn’t help your rankings as much as you’d hope, it will help to build your online presence and potentially reach a wider (or even a new) audience!