‘SEO is dying’, is what the experts had said earlier, while what we now know is that only the old methods of working which are, not dying, but only fading away. SEO has been in a constant state of change and optimization and will continue to be, perhaps for a very long time. But what comes with this ever-changing technology is a host of challenges and opportunities, for the adventurous. PeepCon 3.0, which concluded recently in Manila, showed us some surprising findings.
There Are No Experts – Despite being professionals, SEO strategists usually deal with a thousand things at a time. That’s how the job is. Learning to adapt to what is thrown at them is a mark of being dedicated and knowledgeable. You cannot be an expert, but you should learn to make it up as you go along, and evolve. This is the scenario for practitioners today, as there is no concrete roadmap for SEO yet.
Increasing Visibility Is Not Increasing Traffic – Increased rankings and visibility do not always result in higher footfalls. This where the old strategies are lacking. Let us list out some SEO challenges.
1. SERP Feature Overload – Google introduced quite a number of SERP features these last two years which has resulted in organic results getting fewer clicks.
2. Lower Unique Results – Today, the old blue links have disappeared, SERP comes with two ads, knowledge panel, related searches, and six other sites. These are changes which have made it hard to find organic results for some searches.
3. More Featured Snippets – From data compiled over one year, researchers observed that 13% of searches come with featured snippets in the SERP. This might even grow as Google made an announcement on plans of revamping and implementing new types of featured snippets.
4. Long Meta Description – 300 characters is now the permissible length of meta descriptions. But with most of them already containing the answer to a search query, this would be a threat as it adds to negative CRO.
5. Alternate Usage – In verticals like shopping and travel, Google occupies a lot of space on SERP.
6. Voice Search – It is rising steadily and is expected to cover half of all searches by 2020.
Despite these challenges, SEO will still be the best investment you can make. Google still remains the largest provider of traffic on the internet and continues to show opportunities that are waiting.
> Featured Snippets – These special search results have lowered the organic CTR, but if you get to Position Zero for ‘Featured Snippets’, you have a great opportunity for more traffic. You can also do great on voice search.
> Optimize For Questions – As Google’s ‘People Also Ask’ results are expanding, optimizing for questions is a good idea.
> AMP – With an Accelerated Mobile Page, you can increase web traffic for news and other non-news websites.
Presently, SEO basics are in order and should be staying the same, but are they satisfying the business owner. With Google using Machine Learning to gauge how a website satisfies a query, this area will be continually improving. Invest in areas of SEO that are new, like optimization for ‘People also Ask’. SEO practitioners need to adapt faster than the rate of change, so to say, and find opportunities within roadblocks. ‘Shortest way to do many things is to do just one thing at a time‘ is the word of a marketer.