Zoda Design Blog
Optimize Your Content for The Future of SEO
Search engines are getting smarter. For many marketers, that’s very good news – if you first take the time to determine how you can benefit from it.
There are two major shifts predicted for search engine optimization in 2016 and beyond – the move toward mobile and the movement away from keywords.
Focus on Design
The push toward mobile is primarily about the design of your website and the experience that your users have when they reach it. An August study on The Future of SEO by Moz, Inc., a Seattle-based SEO Consulting company, predicted that how mobile friendly a site is will increase in SEO impact by 88% in 2016, while readability and design will increase in importance by 67%.
That’s huge, and it makes perfect sense. So many people are experiencing websites today not on desktops, but on mobile devices like tablets, smartphones, and increasingly smaller tools. Last year, mobile devices accounted for 60 percent of all time spent online, with 21% of Millennials no longer using desktop computers to go online and the largest growth group among mobile users being those 55 and older, according to ComScore’s Digital Future in Focus report. These are numbers that are certain to increase year over year.
So what does that mean for you as a business owner? It means that when you are looking for a company to design your website, you must contract with a firm like Zoda Design that understands the differing demands that mobile requires and is positioned to help you take advantage of them.
Good mobile design requires far more than merely fitting something into a smaller window. It requires a design firm that understands how mobile users will interact with your site and asks the necessary questions to put all the right pieces in the proper places. This level of foresight and design fluidity means that if you are relying on “do it yourself” websites, you will quickly find yourself – and your marketing – left behind.
Don’t Neglect Content
What about the content on your site? In the past, marketers could boost their page’s SEO rankings by frontloading articles, meta descriptions, taglines, page names, captions and just about everything else they could imagine with the keywords they wanted to be visible for. While that may have improved a website’s ranking in search engine results, it was horrible for the actual Internet users who were looking for content that would help them.
An over-emphasis on keywords often results in articles that read like this: Do you want to improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results? We have found the very best SEO optimization methods to improve your SEO rankings and boost your SEO results quickly. Call us today to boost your Search Engine Optimization rankings with our plan to produce guaranteed SEO results!
While the paragraph above is dense with keywords, it is barren in meaning. There’s no practical advice or reason for a reader to go beyond the initial click that brought them to that site. To counteract that, search engines are now looking at how people interact with sites once they reach them. They are considering whether users actually find what they are looking for, how long they are remaining on the site once they arrive there, and how much they interact with that site by clicking on links for additional information or looking at other pages.
The same Moz study mentioned earlier predicts that in 2016 and beyond, analysis of a page’s perceived value will increase in SEO importance by 81%, while dwell time will edge up 67%. Over the same time, the effectiveness of paid links is predicted to decrease by 55%.
What do these changes mean for website owners? They mean that website owners need to focus on creating solid content that their audience wants to read and which addresses the issues that are most important to them. From a practical standpoint, that is best accomplished by laying out an editorial calendar at least a few months ahead of time that takes a realistic look at what your clients want to know and offers content that addresses those needs.
Does Length Matter?
In the past, conventional wisdom on blog and article length has been all over the place, depending on which source you cited and when you cited it. The move toward optimizing for mobile has left many slashing word counts in an attempt to be perceived as mobile-friendly.
Perhaps paradoxically in this age of time-crunched mobile media, experts are now saying that longer may actually be better, advocating lengths of 1200-1500 words. The reason is simple: longer articles give writers the space they need to develop concepts fully and to provide more in-depth information that actually addresses readers’ needs. That goes back to the renewed SEO emphasis on delivering content that fulfills its promises instead of just delivering keywords. At the same time, we believe content creators should have a healthy respect for their readers’ time, providing them with the information they need in just the right amount of words that are required to the tell their story.
All in all, the future of SEO looks promising to companies that take the time to understand the coming changes and are willing to adapt to meet their viewers’ changing needs.
Writer & Guest Blogger
Trish Stukbauer is a writer and editor from Charlotte, NC, who is a guest blogger on Zoda Design. Trish has a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Kent State University. She was editor of several magazines before launching her own marketing firm and has a new book coming out in 2016. Check out her website or shoot her an email.