WebsiteStrategies SEO News Roundup August 2017
Ashley Bryan |
August 7th 2017
Schema markup and its relevance to SEO, how machine learning is affecting SEO and how you can adapt, and 5 tips that can help you win at voice search; all in our monthly news roundup.
Schema markup and SEO
Schema markup is a form of microdata that when added to a web page creates an enhanced description (or rich snippet), that appears in search results. Schema was created back in 2011 as a collaboration among top search engines including Google, Bing, Yahoo and Yandex.
Does using schema improve your search rankings? While there’s no evidence to indicate that microdata will have a direct effect on your search rankings, rich snippets will help your web pages become more visible in SERPs. This increased visibility has been shown to boost click-through rates.
A study by acmqueue revealed that less than a third of Google’s results have a rich snippet with Schema.org markup. This represents a big opportunity for the rest. Schema markup for SEOs provides an opportunity to move the ranking dial quickly in an SEO world where few things can.
The influence of machine learning on SEO and how you can adapt
There’s been a lot of talk about machine learning in the last few years, but do we really understand what it is and how it will influence organic search results?
In a nutshell, machine learning can be described as a subfield of AI or artificial intelligence that focuses on algorithms that enable computers to learn. AI, on the other hand, is a science that works on making computers perform intelligence related tasks – similar to those usually done by humans.
As a result of the increasing implementation of machine learning in search, Google and other search engines employing the technology are becoming better at understanding things much deeper than ever before. This increased understanding will help them provide better results to users that better satisfy their needs.
What this means for SEO is that content which fails to provide value for the user will not be ranked favourably In SERPs as the machines continue to accumulate more information and get smarter.
To adapt, SEOs will have to:
- Create content that is useful, relevant and available across all platforms, devices and content formats. This is how to optimise for RankBrain (Googles AI).
- Rely less on technical SEO as machine learning will reduce the amount of human interaction required for SEO.
- Increase the utilisation of structured data as this will help the search engines understand your content better and deliver more useful results.
- Focus on creating quality links as the machine will be better at understanding context.
- Prioritise on the user experience.
How to win at voice search and SEO in general
Whichever personal assistant your potential customers are using – be it Cortana, Google Assistant, Alexa or Siri – you want to be the one providing the answers to their queries. Figures from Google show that about 20% of all their searches are voice searches, and they’re estimated to hit the 50% mark by 2020.
Because of the increasing popularity of voice search, it has become important for SEOs to position themselves to take advantage of this new shift. So here’s how to win at voice search and ultimately at the SEO of tomorrow:
- Use microdata. This will help Google and other search engines understand the content of any given page – something which is crucial for voice search.
- Talk the same way your customers would. With voice search, keywords are no longer the main thing; optimisation is now about people and how they actually talk. Think like a human and use natural language for your content. Focus more on long tail keywords and phrases to optimise for voice search.
- Ask the kind of questions your potential customers would. Figure out what kind of questions your potential customers would ask and let them guide your content.
- Improve your sites mobile compatibility. With most voice searches originating from mobile devices, it only makes sense to ensure your site is optimised for mobile.
- Go deeper with the semantics. Don’t just focus on the questions your potential customers are asking; you need to find out why they are asking them as well. Digging deep into the why and weaving it into your content will help you genuinely help users and gain favour with the engines.