Oktawiusz Skrzek (SEO Manager) and Tim Butler (CEO) at Innovation Visual discuss the latest trends in SEO and how they can be used to impact your business goals.
The discussion includes the following:
- How Google is changing the way that it understands user's intent.
- How Google’s focus is changing towards local.
- The relevance of voice search – does it apply to your business?
- How to deliver on your featured snippets strategy.
For more thought leadership and advice on how you can make your next campaign a success, be sure to check out our latest digital marketing insights.
-- Today, Oktawiusz who's our SEO manager. We're sitting down and want to have a conversation really about latest trends in SEO. So just been five minutes having a chat about what you see coming up and what you're looking forward to. So you're off to BrightonSEO at the end of this week, but you've been doing a lot of research anyway on the latest trends in SEO. What are you seeing is coming around the corner and what digital marketing should be thinking of at the moment?
- As far as I understand, the trends are going to be about understanding the queries, understanding the search, and understanding how to optimise for these queries. Things like voice search, the share of rich snippets, understanding how to optimise for this kind of stuff.
- So lets break that down. You start off with talking about understanding intent.
- And then going on to voice and then looking at things like rich snippets. So in terms of intent obviously there's been a lot talk about how Google's natural language processing has increased a lot in recent years.
- Yep. What are you seeing in terms of understanding like how people should be working with intent behind searches?
- So when you have got a client and you target a specific number, a specific set of keywords for the specific client. You should understand what each keyword stands for when people are searching for that big client whose main dream would be ranking number one for intranet keyword.
- It's hard to actually run for this term because when you search for intranet in Google UK here in the UK, you get a number of results and its not like 5 or 6 its like tonnes of results tonnes of links to landing pages from websites which are not telling about what intranet is maybe the first one or the second is Wikipedia which says what the intranet is about and what it is. But most of the links which you can see in Google search results in the UK for this term is linking back to pages of universities, of big enterprises, companies. So you know-
- So what you're saying whilst people might look at the intranet keyword in terms of its high level of volume and think, "Ah that would be a great keyword to rank for an ideal intranet.
- The intent behind the word intranet is actually quite poor in terms of a business fit for people that are looking to buy a new intranet because most of the results coming through are for actual for logins for existing intranets.
- And this is how Google understands this specific query.
- Right so Google is understanding the intent and knowing if you just type in "intranet and", it's thinking a lot of the lines about login. So that's where we should be helping clients understand that the more granular keywords, which actually have a better search intent behind them. In terms of what you've been saying about voice search, I mean we've been talking about voice search for a number of years now Innovation Visual. Where are you seeing voice search at the moment in terms of its importance?
- So in countries like the US and the UK, I think its getting more and more important because you use, guys use English as your language. And Google understanding English in the best way. But at the same time I think it's going to be more and more important in the future around countries like Poland for example.
- Which I live in. Mostly around so that the focus, Google's focus is going to be mostly about local search first of all and we saw that happening for like two or three years when we started discussing the thing with the clients, we know what to start by. So I think that the local focus is going to be the most important one for Google.
- Okay, so it's interesting you talk about that because when I taught some people about voice, there's the Comscore prediction that's been battered around now for more than two years that's 50% of all searches will be done by voice by 2020. And you know, we're steaming to 2020 very quickly now. But the push back I get in conversations with people is, "Yeah okay maybe but it's all local stuff it's not relevant to me." Is voice search relevant to all businesses or is it only businesses that are local? What's your opinion and what's your take on that?
- I wouldn't say first of all I wouldn't say that thinking about voice search needs to be only done, performed from the business perspective. But if we are going to talk about business, I don't think this is only going to be about local. And I don't think this is only local and I don't think that it's not relevant to their businesses. It's about how can they get most of Google voice search when optimising their websites. When optimising the search appearance. Because Google it's not only about local it's also about things like featured snippets and your visibility. Like for example, people are, may asking questions to Google, "How can I do x? How can I buy x? How can I get to x?" And if your website is well optimised for this kind of questions, then you can be number one.
- So you talk about an interesting thing that featured snippets and not everybody in digital marketing understands featured snippets. And also you talked about the structured information on the search results page. Could you just give us a brief definition of featured snippets and where they come from?
- So the featured snippets are the snippets which you can see within Google search results, which are not normal organic search links, top 10 the links and they are not Google ads, which are available in Google search results as well. So Google search ads and shopping ads they are something else and the data for these featured snippets, for these rich rich snippets is being sourced from sources from different places. Could be Wikipedia, it could be https://weather.com. So in terms of Wikipedia, if you are searching for some facts about a person or I don't know, an event or about the place, Wikipedia can give you kind of information.
- So we've actually helped some of our clients get featured snippets on the search results page. So you've explained that these featured snippets they're in addition to the organic results and in addition to the ads and these featured snippets are what's being read out by the voice search results. So given that you've helped some of our clients get featured snippet results, what would you say would be the key learnings for people in digital marketing about, if they want to optimise and get featured snippets for themselves or for their clients if they work in an agency?
- It's about content optimization. So there are some specific ways of optimising your content which is going to be used in your featured snippets from directly from your website within Google search results, like answering the question in your first paragraph of the page body content. Having the keywords in the right proper places around your first paragraph and the title of your blog and stuff like that. There are other types of featured snippets, like for example recipes.
- So basically it's good practise SEO. But it's also making sure that we get the right keywords that we're targeting in the right phrase, that we're targeting in the right places, particularly around that first paragraph. And you're saying often where these featured snippets are a result of a question, making sure that that question is being well answered in that first paragraph.
- That is correct, yeah.
- So that then it's easy for Google to pick that up.
- And answered clearly as well.
- Okay, so good clear written English.
- Yeah. Yeah.
- Okay, that's really good. So in terms of where we are, you're over in the UK this week and you're going to BrightonSEO and I know that you always like attending BrightonSEO and events like that. So tell me, at the moment, what are you most excited about in digital marketing and particularly SEO?
- It's not about this moment. It's about the whole thing because it's still evolving, you still need to learn, you still need to be up to date on the different trends on like Google algorithm updates. You still need to react in a proper manner at the right time. So I think the challenging way you need to manage your SEO is the most fun for me.