SEO in 2018: Expectations for search engines have changed dramatically over the last few years. In the old days (about 2 years ago), people would expect their search engine to act like an algorithm and spew out answers. Today, people are expecting a “personal advisor”.
Search Engines as Personal Advisors
In this article on thinkwithGoogle, Lisa Gevelber very succinctly gives us some great insight into this phenomenon. In SEO speak, it means that users are searching by using longer tailed keywords. Instead of searching for comfortable shoes, they are now searching for “comfortable shoes for traveling”, or “comfortable shoes for me”. These types of searches have grown by over 120% in 2 years.
You can read more about this and learn how user search habits have evolved. But the real questions is, what does it mean for us marketers? The answer is simple to understand but cumbersome to implement.
Google’s ability to answer questions that are so personalized leads to the obvious conclusion that results are based on the vasts amounts of information they already know about us. This is a topic for another popular discussion. The point here is to understand what users are looking for, and what they expect to find. Google, being the ultimate customer service provider (that is, customer service to online searchers) will always lean to show SERPs from those sites they think will best meet user expectations. It behooves us to always keep this in mind for our content offerings.
Content needs to be providing useful information to very personalized kinds of questions. Not just answers to questions, but guidance on how best to make the decision. We need to make sure our pages are not just web pages with text, but are fulfilling the role of an online personal advisor.
Is your content ready for this? Will it stand up the challenge of SEO in 2018?