The phrase “content is king” that was previously emphasized by SEO professionals is no longer the case.
It’s been an active year for Google. Several updates over the last three months have led to significant changes in how SEO and companies manage the quality of their site.
On September 8, I moderated a sponsored Marketing-Ideas webinar presented by Jordan Koene, SEO strategist and consultant at Searchmetrics.
He shared the three ways SEO has changed this year, why it’s important and what you need to do to create growth.
Here is a summary of the webinar presentation.
This year, Google has been moving forward on changes they have made to search.
What has changed?
MOR AI. MUM is the AI model that provides a newer, faster and more comprehensive information processing capability. It helps Google handle text-to-text transformation. As a result, Google’s ability to process and understand the text and meaning of a page is faster than ever. “Changing” the rules of SERP functions. Over the last decade, the SERP has changed a lot. There is an accelerated amount of influence from Google these days. More core to performance. Being faster and cleaner does not always mean you are a winner. Although Google has been telling us for years that Core Web Vitals and speed are significant success factors, this is no longer the case.
The pace at which Google is making these changes is faster than what we have seen in previous years. But thanks to MUM, Google has been able to make so many changes in the last 12 months, such as the T5.
T5 is about text-to-text transfer transformations and how Google developed faster ways to process information from a linguistic perspective or even from meaning and purpose.
MUM has allowed us to move through this at a much faster pace.
Why this matters
The reason why MUM and technologies like MUM are important to Google is that it promotes their ability to influence companies.
The number of U.S. companies grew from about 29 million in 2018 to about 32 million in 2020.
However, only 17 million, or about half of these companies, benefit from Google services (Google My Business, Search, YouTube, etc.)
In fact, only 2 million, less than 10%, actually benefit from all of these companies’ Google ads.
Therefore, Google is accelerating the pace and speed with which they are making these changes because they want to reach more businesses.
For many of us in the SEO space, the pursuit of getting more traffic is not necessarily about focusing on more keywords; it is likely to evolve to make the keywords we already rank for work better.
What people are looking for: Live events
There is a massive growth from year to year in concert, show and stadium related keywords and terms.
Searches for concerts in have grown globally by over 500% YEAR. Most popular searches include: “concerts in chicago 2021”, “concerts in atlanta 2021”, “concerts in dallas,” concerts in las vegas “Searches for car shows near me have grown globally by over 300% YEARS. : “car shows near me this weekend 2021”, “car shows near me this weekend”, searches for stadium seats have grown globally by over 600% YEARS. Top searches include: “dodger stadium seating platform”, “busch stadium seating plan”, “wembley stadium seating plan” Search for live music near me has grown globally by over 400% YOY Most popular searches include: “live music near me”, “live music near me tonight”, ” restaurants with live music near me “, live music near me”
Think about this, what keyword are you focused on now, and how do you generate traffic and attention from it?
Performing a set of terms on a particular topic is far more effective today than our ability to go and secure more keyword traffic.
What people are looking for: Shopping in stores
Searches for open now near me have grown globally by over 200% YEARS. Top searches include: “restaurants now open near me”, “food now opens near me”, “fast food restaurants now open near me”, “pharmacy now opens near me” Searches for mattress stores near me have grown globally by over 50% YEARS. Most popular searches include: “mattress stores near me”, “discount mattress stores near me”, “best mattress stores near me”, “bed and mattress stores near meSearch for open days near me has grown globally by over 80% YEARS Top searches include: “shops open 24 hours near me”, “restaurants open 24 hours near me”, “shops open 24 hours in near me “,” restaurants open 24 hours near me “, store searches near me that are open now have grown globally by over 40% YEARS. Most popular searches include:” tire store near me now opens “,” tire store near me now opens “
In particular, searches around “open now” changed during the pandemic.
What you would typically think would be a growth agent during the pandemic, outdoor dining, was not the case due to the limiting restraint for consumers in indoor dining experiences.
Understanding these search patterns can be helpful for data points on how we handle our search expectations. Google processes information like these about which pages and content to display at a much faster pace.
Google SERP features and the way forward
SERP features have become Google’s most significant asset in changing the landscape.
Here is a small snapshot of various SERP features and historical volatilities for other feature elements in the SERP.
Google can now take unbranded search queries and understand where and when to place links to non-branded sites with MUM. As a result, links to search sites are more productive across the SERPs.
The whole concept here around SERP features is our ability to reconsider our brand focus in search.
So it is not necessarily an insurmountable factor from our ability to get traffic from search.
It all boils down to our ability to develop new strategies that create automation around processes, whether you leverage frequently asked questions or your ability to optimize core navigation pages to appear more often for a site link.
SERP features require rethinking of search data
The reality is that today’s dynamic market demands faster and more targeted decision making than ever before.
Reconsider your brand focus in search. Require automation of the process. Build faster, more dynamic content and engagement.
You can use these assets as a source of traffic and as a source of attention in Google.
The true story of Core Web Vitals
Searchmetrics conducted a survey across 2 million URLs looking at how performance sites are in Google. Unfortunately, only 4% of the 2 million URLs they analyzed performed a good core vital score on the web.
You’re sitting in a place where Google has become much more vocal about expectations around key web vital, but more importantly, around performance.
Just being the fastest does not necessarily mean you get the most traffic.
Core Web Vitals Next Chapter
A step from defense to offensive for Google.
Expect more volatility from CVW factors within shorter periods Deliver competitive advantage at the page level Use more design factors to create experience results
It is a collective effort. It’s about creating a playbook that moves us from just being a faster site to an offensive positioning, where we’re more focused on what Google expects and the competitive requirements required to succeed.
How to create growth?
Out of the billions of searches that occur in a given day, 15% of the daily searches are new to Google. But the exciting thing is that this figure is radically lower than in 2012, which was 20% of the daily searches.
We need to shift our focus on growing to reach more searches and focus on our brand, relevance and SERP footprint.
SERP is a new landscape that requires new techniques for success.
As a result of their desire to reach more businesses, Google is accelerating its pace and speed of implementing change. It’s not necessarily about focusing on more keywords to get more traffic; instead, it’s about getting the keywords we already rank for perform better. To reach more searches, focus your brand, relevance, and search engine footprint to grow. Today’s dynamic market demands more targeted, faster decision making than ever before, thanks to SERP.
Want more insight from Jordan Koene? He is a regular guest on the Voices of Search podcast. Watch his latest episode of Winners & Losers in August 2021.
[Slides] 3 Ways SEO Has Changed This Year
Check out SlideShare below.
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Featured image: VectorMine / Shutterstock
All screenshots taken by the author, September 2021