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5 learnings about the future of SEO


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What should you as a company focus on in the coming year when it comes to search engine optimization? I have listed the 5 most important learnings in the field of SEO for you.

The future of search was central on 6 February during the SEO / SEA Friends of Search conference. I would like to share my 5 most important insights with you.

1. Work as a brand on the relationship with your customer

There will be no search, only found.

For example, James Whittaker from Microsoft closes the opening talk of the Friends of Search conference. Whittaker believes that you will no longer have to search. All information and the things you need will come to you naturally.

If you look at current technological developments, that idea is not that bad. Thanks to the Internet of Things , devices are smart and connected, which means we no longer have to think for ourselves. With augmented reality , a virtual world comes alive in real life. These techniques ensure that information is everywhere around us. Search is no longer necessary.

friends of search james whittaker

This is an important change for brands. Do not expect people to search for your brand. Make sure that you as a brand are visible on all touch points of consumers. This makes building a relationship between a brand and a customer a lot more important.

2. Voice search is the trend to start this year

We are currently in the initial phase of conversational UI, which includes chatbots , digital assistants and voice search . We talk to devices as if they are people. Alexa, Cortana, Siri and Google Assistant become our new best friends. They look everything up for us. All we have to do is give a voting assignment.

As a company, you can easily create an app yourself that you can link to your robot friends. It is important that you first determine the intention of the search behavior of voice search. Christi Olson van Bing distinguishes 3 types of voice search intentions:

  1. Informative: looking for information
  2. Navigation: looking for a company or specific location
  3. Transactional: for making a payment or order

If you have a clear idea of ​​which voice search intention your customers have, write a script based on this. This is easy for Google Assistant with Dialog . Bing offers the same possibility for Cortana with QnA maker .

friends of search voice

3. Offline and online customers are the same customers – you can measure that!

SEO & SEA: certified expert in 5 days

Pay attention to marketers and communication specialists! Do you want to make your website easier to find? Follow a courseKnowing more?“There are no offline and online customers. Only HEMA customers. ”With that statement, Jelle Sybesma, e-commerce interim manager at HEMA, opens his presentation.

 In the past year HEMA ran a test case in which they investigated whether they could replace the physical folder with digital advertisements. The result was positive, as many as 58 percent of offline purchases are influenced by online marketing. An important conclusion that HEMA drew from this was that there are no offline and online customers. Only HEMA customers.

You can use various techniques to measure how your online campaigns influence offline purchases. For the campaign, HEMA focused on display, search and social media advertisements. The data that was advertised came from Wi-Fi networks, GPS, location history and Facebook profiles. Based on the consumer’s profile, personal advertisements were shown of offers in stores that were close to them.

Another tool that you can use is Google Store Visits in Google Ads. To use this, you must meet various conditions. For example, you must have multiple physical stores, thousands of clicks per month and a full Google My Business account per store.

Finally, a loyalty card is a fantastic way to continue measuring offline and online. Linked to the card you have all purchases that a customer makes with the card. In addition, you can easily build a profile with personal characteristics and interests of the customer.

4. Content is and remains KING

In his presentation ’13 proven SEO tactics’ Wouter Kiel of Travix (DifferentTickets.nl) mentions various forms of content working well for SEO. First: adding content to the homepage. A piece of SEO text of at least 300 words ensures that you are easier to find in the search engine.

According to Kiel, authority content is also an important part of SEO. This is content with which you as a website build up authority, because other media link to this content. You create authority content by writing unique and relevant content. 

A smart tactic for this is to respond to general questions that are frequently asked. CheapTickets.nl, for example, wrote an article about ‘Busy at Schiphol’. In it they described what the expected busiest days are at the airport and tips for your departure. In the summer, the crowds at Schiphol are always a hot item for news sites. Various media picked this article up and linked to it in their own articles.

friends of search wouter keel

In addition to writing new content, deleting content also remains effective. The Global SEO Manager of Travix called it content pruning . If you have a lot of pages on a website, you get mutual competition. Fewer pages give more attention to other pages. This led to a growth in organic traffic at CheapTickets.nl.

Kiel gives the last tip: create local content. Is your target group in the Netherlands? Then write in Dutch. Provide content that is relevant to the location for which you are writing.

5. Snippets ensure more no click searches and a higher CTR

Snippets will dominate the search results in the future. You can now see them coming back more and more in Google. Snippets come in different forms. There is the featured snippet. This is the one that is highlighted at the top of the page in the search results. This will immediately contain the answer or result that you are looking for.

 You no longer have to click through to the website. As a company, you no longer want to be in place 1, but in place 0. The location of the featured snippet is not only striking, but is also seen as the most important result in the case of voice search.

The featured snippets ensure a growth in no-click searches . The expectation is that the organic sessions on websites will decrease further as the featured snippets increase. On the other hand, the ratio of clicks and impressions, also known as the Click Through Rate (CTR), will increase. You get fewer sessions on your website, but more qualitative sessions.

sample-featured snippet

Snippets ensure that website visitors can better compare different results in the search engine. They do not have to open different sites first. The travel industry in particular has a lot to do with snippets. Just look for ‘Hotels Amsterdam’ or ‘Flights Amsterdam’.

 Google shows an overview of the available hotels in its own results and offers you the possibility to compare flights. If they then click on your website, the visitors are more likely to actually make a conversion.

Other rich snippets that, according to Wouter Kiel of Travix, raise the CTR are prices and tables. Showing the price of a product or service such as a rich snippet ensures more clicks on the search result. Tables ensure that you stand out much more in the search results. Your result takes up more space through the table, so that it is seen more and more clicked on.

To make snippets you must add microdata to your website. Google can read this microdata and form it into a snippet in the search results. On Schema.org you can read how to do this for different snippets.

Challenges for the future

There are still plenty of challenges in the area of ​​search in the coming years. Building a relationship with your customers and optimizing for voice search are the most important developments according to the speakers of Friends of Search 2019. In addition, the search experts advise you to measure the influence of online marketing on offline conversions, powerful and unique content to write and create snippets for the search results.

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