The Future of SEO for SM Businesses

by | Apr 27, 2019 | Uncategorized

If you’re thinking about the future of SEO for your business, know that Google keeps anyone looking to rank on its pages on their toes – updates are often and algorithms are a mystery. Changes in technology, which in this age are constant, mean changes to the way people search for products and services – and that means changes to how businesses should think about search engine optimization and their digital marketing strategy. Check out these trends for better SEO in 2020 – it’s about more this year than mobile optimization.

Consider Voice Search for SEO

When I ask Siri to text my friend Lesley, she now knows to spell it with an “ey” instead of an “ie.” That said, when I tried to tell her how to pronounce my name, saying, “It’s Alisa, not A-Lisa,” things went all kinds of wrong. It’s now a family joke and my kids mimic her, saying “I’m sorry, AlisaNotA-Lisa, I didn’t get that.”

My point? Siri’s getting better, but she ain’t perfect. At least not today. But, as voice search becomes more common and bots become more advanced, businesses need to prepare for SEO marketing that focuses on voice searches. Businesses must begin anticipating how users search to find them – not just by typing. Today, about 20% of searches are done by voice.

What’s great about voice searches for SEO is that they are going to be longer – it’s easier to speak than type – so businesses can develop more content. Think about leveraging question words in your keyword strings for voice searches – the typical who, what, when, where and how queries.

Next Gen Mobile Optimization

Optimization is more than a buzzword – if your website content isn’t optimized for mobile, find a flux capacitor and fix it. Your competition already has. About 50% of searches are done through mobile rather than desktop. In fact, Google now optimizes for mobile first.

But, for most businesses, that’s old news. You know your site needs to be optimized now across devices and at least half of searches are done on mobile devices, but voice search may change that, too. Most users engage with voice searches on mobile devices, which means optimization for those will be most businesses’ bread and butter. And, though speed is always a factor for SEO content marketing strategies, know voice searches are going to come with the expectation of speed. The slower your site, the lower you fall on SERPs – search engine result pages. That’s not good for anyone’s marketing strategy.

Develop Structured Data for Site Pages

When someone types in a search query in Google or other search engines, it scours through millions of pieces of unstructured data (your website content) to best answer the question. Developers have simplified this by structuring data into the code.
I don’t really know what that means, either.

The effect, however, is this – pages will have answers to certain questions embedded in the site’s code. When looking for an answer to a query, search engines can much more quickly find that data, giving users the answers they need at lighting speed. Talk with your website developer about structured data and how to use it for SEO marketing.

Tailor Your SEO for Local Searches

eBay, Amazon, and other digital giants have changed the way we shop. If we need a specific item, those are the places that most people go first. But, old school shopping – perusing the aisles looking for a great birthday gift or wandering the store for an unusual bookend – is still local. When people are searching for businesses, not products, you want to make sure they can find you easily.

When considering optimization, think about how local searches find you. Give Google’s crawlers something to grab by discovering your keywords and using local tags.
I live in a tourist town that people visit once or twice a year, and, when they are looking for what they want, they trust Google. Ensuring they can find what they need means using local keywords. A query for “gluten-free food in Marquette, MI” may seem obvious, but that’s how people are looking. Keep your city and state in your evergreen content and blogs to ensure people can find you. That’s basic SEO content marketing, but it’s often lost in the frenzy of the digital strategy.

It’s a little like politics – we make focus on what’s happening nationally, but, in the end, it’s the local that matters most.

Build Your Social Media Content Strategy, but Don’t Rely On It

That 70% of Americans use one form of social media or another isn’t likely a surprise. Of those 70%, most of them use it Every. Single. Day. And usually more than once a day. That means a strong social media presence is a huge opportunity for businesses to market products and interact with potential customers. When you leverage social media content for your business, you build a natural rapport with your customers, organically creating personalization. As a bonus, it also increases brand recognition.

At this point in the SEO game, most businesses know to do that. However, what I see now are a lot more businesses who rely only on social media content exclusively, treating Facebook as a homepage. When your business is only available on social media sites, you miss out on tons of SEO opportunities that only a website could provide – evergreen content, landing pages, and blogs give Google’s crawlers a way to find you when customers search. You don’t have to stuff keywords or local tags in it, either. When you have well-crafted website content, those words and tags happen in ordinary writing.

Do All the Old SEO Work – Then Keep Optimizing

Marketing strategies for businesses in today’s world is completely different than it was a decade ago – when it hadn’t changed for decades. If you’re working to optimize website content for 2020, lay the groundwork by ensuring you’re optimized for 2019. Craft strong content, create social media posts, and then keep adding as we learn more about what Google’s algorithms are looking for.

If you need help getting the words right, our team of professional content writers can help. Better Content Matters offers professional writing to help the future of any small business. Contact us to learn how we can help yours.

Alisa Hummell

Alisa Hummell

Alisa Hummell began her career teaching at Northern Michigan University but found she missed putting pen to paper. She began Better Content Matters with Christie Moll and Kimberlee Henry. Together, they were dedicated to covering a gap in marketing to include boutique writing services that helped clients with their SEO while crafting language that spoke to people – and not just bots. In the wake of AI, that need has grown ever more important.