How Digital Marketing Is Changing In 2018

If you’ve spent years investing in a comprehensive SEO policy to maximise your digital presence, then all the talk about Google changing their focus and the proliferation of voice searches might have you banging your head against your desk. Thankfully, there’s no need to panic just yet, but these changes are also potentially too fundamental to ignore.

Lets separate the wheat from the chaff and see what this actually means for your business.

Mobile continues to grow

The proliferation of smartphones has been fuelling mobile growth for years, and Google’s latest change is in recognition of this. Up until now desktop has been the biggest factor when indexing your website, with mobile websites being almost an afterthought. Their new policy puts mobile sites first for future indexing, shifting our focus more towards mobile users and their experience.

Whether you have to change anything will largely depend on a few factors. If your website is responsive, featuring the same content regardless of the device it’s being viewed on, very little will need to change. If you have a separate mobile site with less content, then you’ll need to make changes to get the best results on SERPs. People with a separate mobile site will also need to verify the site in Google’s Search Console separately.

The increased focus on mobile brings other changes with it. We don’t use our smartphones in the same way as a desktop or laptop, and this is opening up new areas of importance for digital marketers.

Why type what you can say?

All the major smartphone manufacturers have their own version of a virtual assistant, and we are becoming more reliant on them every year. In fact, 40% of adults now use voice search once per day according to Location World, while according to MindMeld, 41% of those using voice search have only started in the last 6 months. More people than ever are bypassing typing their search altogether, now they simply ask their mobile assistant.

Voice search is nothing new, but it’s now starting to gain more traction amongst users. Its popularity has been boosted by the recent rise of smart speakers, which while adding to the number of voice searches in their own right, has also made people more comfortable using this option.

The impact these changes will have on searches is only just unfolding, but an obvious change is the way we phrase our searches. If you’re searching for a Chinese restaurant local to you, you may type, ‘Chinese takeaways London’. When you perform the same action with a voice search, you will use much more natural phrasing, such as, ‘Where’s the closest Chinese takeaway?’

While the differences are small, they are significant. Keywords will need to be long tail phrases built around natural questions users are likely to ask. A quick way to address this issue is through the addition of a Q&A page, which will give you a way to add all the what, when, where, why, and who questions your potential customers are most likely to ask.

However, this provides a quick fix to start addressing the changes, and as your competitors also start addressing the issues, it won’t offer much of a competitive advantage. A more comprehensive and effective strategy will require some fundamental changes to the way we research and implement SEO keywords.

Whether it’s ‘Hey, Siri’ or ‘Alexa’, voice searches are here to stay.

We will increase your relevance

Partnering with us guarantees you more than a first rate web presence. You get access to a team of experienced professionals who are constantly helping clients to go beyond what they thought was possible in the digital world. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.

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Robert Wakefield

Partner - Head of Digital Marketing
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