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David Beckham

David Beckham

Saturday, 07 January 2017 11:55

3 things to know about SEO in 2017

In today’s tech-driven society, having a robust web presence for your business is critical. Whether your website is e-commerce enabled or not, current and prospective customers must be able to find you online. Specifically, they must be able to find you on the behemoth of all search engines, where their buying journey is most likely to begin.

According to a 2016 Internet Summit presentation from Matthew Capala, founder of SEO and content marketing agency Alphametic, 80% of consumers search online before making a purchase and 89% of buyers begin their decision making journey on Google. And thus, he said, “Invisibility is worse than failure.”

So how can you ensure your business stays visible in the rapidly evolving world of search engine optimization? Here are a few essential developments you need to know to optimize your website in 2017:

Mobile-first indexing

Traditionally, Google has used the desktop version of a website to analyze the site’s relevance and determine its ranking in search results. In November, Google announced that since most of its users now search on a mobile device, its algorithms are in the early stages of mobile-first indexing – using a website’s mobile version as the primary measurement in ranking pages from that site.

If you have a responsive website, which means you have one website but its appearance adapts to fit the user’s screen size across devices, then Google says no changes are necessary. But if you have a separate mobile site with different content and markup – or no mobile site at all – then it’s time to re-evaluate. Make sure that the best and most relevant content for your customers is available in a mobile format. If you’re not sure whether your site is mobile-ready, use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool to analyze it.

There are myriad agencies you can consult to evaluate your SEO and help you strategize, but one method worth exploring is an open-source project called Accelerated Mobile Pages. AMP is a form of HTML designed to make mobile web pages load faster – and speed will be even more important in the mobile-first index. Visit ampproject.org to learn more.

Semantic search

The new age of search isn’t just about keywords; it’s about context. It’s not about what your customers are searching for, but why they’re searching for it. That’s where semantic search comes in.

The idea is that if a search engine can “understand” a user’s personal needs by examining factors such as location, previous searches and related concepts, it will deliver results that are more relevant, accurate and personalized.

Rankbrain, a machine-learning artificial intelligence component of Google’s algorithm, is rooted in this method. According to Search Engine Land, it helps Google evaluate the intent and meaning behind searches and may return results that don’t match the exact keywords if it determines the content is related to the query. It learns to make these connections on its own, without a human pulling the strings behind the scenes.

And Google execs say Rankbrain is already one of its top three signals for ranking search results, in addition to content and links.

So understanding your customers’ needs and intent is perhaps more important than ever if you want to reach them online.

Map out your “customer personas,” or profiles of your ideal customers and their needs at various points in the buyer journey. Who are they? Where do they live and work? What is their personal life like? What are their greatest challenges in their business? What might they search for online, and why? Craft content on your website that has value and targets their specific questions. And get to the point quickly and concisely in the titles and first paragraphs of your pages to help Google recognize the meaning of your content more effectively.

Voice search

Between Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, voice search is growing in popularity. More and more users are asking these devices full, conversational questions to find information in lieu of typing keywords into a search bar. Much like semantic search, this indicates a rise in more complex queries, and consequently a more involved process for generating and ranking results.

 

According to a video presentation by Rand Fishkin, co-founder of SEO resource Moz, voice search presents a “new and different kind of keyword demand and also a new and different kind of result set that returns because of that.”

Fishkin hypothesizes that voice search won’t have a major impact on SEO fundamentals yet, but said there are some strategies content creators can implement to boost visibility. Voice search will either give you a direct response to your query instantly if the answer is fairly simple, or return a set of results on your device.

Because you want to drive traffic to your website, Fishkin suggests focusing your energy on optimizing your content for those returned results. Refer to the same principles of semantic search about targeting relevant information toward your specific customer personas. Prioritize optimizing more in-depth content such as tutorials or analyses that are too elaborate for an instant vocal answer.

SEO is a complex process that is constantly evolving, but a solid strategy is imperative to maintaining your business’ online visibility. Consult experts like Moz, Search Engine Land, Hubspot and Google’s own blogs regularly to stay informed and stay competitive.

Author : Alexa Boschini

Source : http://www.homeaccentstoday.com/blogpost/14746-3-things-know-about-seo-2017

Google nailed e-mail with the 2004 introduction of Gmail. Now it’s the No. 1 form of electronic correspondence in the United States.

But as traditional e-mail falls out of favour with a growing sliver of the population, Google has struggled to release newer messaging tools that resonate widely.

Now Google is trying again with a new video chat application called Duo. The app works with mobile devices running Google’s Android operating system and Apple Inc.’s iOS. It runs on Wi-Fi and cellular networks, automatically switching between different types and speeds of connection and adjusting video quality.

Duo uses phone numbers, rather than a Google account, making it easier to call friends, family and other people already stored on smartphone contact lists. The company’s existing video calling and messaging app, Hangouts, requires a Google account. That limited adoption, especially in emerging markets. Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp and Messenger, Skype – now owned by Microsoft Corp. – and Apple’s FaceTime used phone numbers to grow faster.

A confusing array of communication options has held Google back. It has two e-mail services – Gmail, which is the top e-mail service in the United States based on unique visitors, according to ComScore, and Inbox; three text offerings, Hangouts, Messenger and the upcoming Allo; and now two video chat services, Duo and Hangouts (which offers texting and video calls).

This scattershot approach, and Google’s late start, is becoming more costly for the Alphabet Inc. division as messaging evolves from a simple way to communicate quickly into one of the next big technology platforms supporting digital commerce, advertising and new services powered by artificial-intelligence.

 

“Google missed it because of the requirement that you needed a Google ID to communicate with others,” said Ankit Jain, a former Googler and executive at SimilarWeb Inc., which measures website and mobile app usage.

Hangouts ranked 84th among Android apps in the United States in July, based on installs and usage, according to SimilarWeb. That lagged behind Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Snapchat.

Nick Fox, a 13-year Google veteran, was tasked by Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai 18 months ago with fixing the sprawl. Soon after, his new team formulated a strategy and started building Duo and Allo.

“Google sees communication as this essential human need, whether that’s through text, a picture, calling someone or doing a video call.” Mr. Fox said in a recent interview.

This insight is a decade old and has guided Facebook’s strategy since its creation in 2004. Asian companies, such as Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat and Line, have grown into tech powerhouses by connecting people through communication apps and offering related services on top of their networks. Skype, founded in 2003, became a leading video chat app on a similar foundation.

So how is Mr. Fox going to catch up? Job number one is clearing up the bloated smorgasbord of Google communications services.

Hangouts will be a workplace service, offering group video conferencing mostly via desktop computers and office laptops, Fox said. It will be integrated more with Google’s work software, such as Docs, Sheets and Slides, which will be easier to share.

Duo is a mobile app and only allows one-to-one video calling, limiting it as a consumer offering. Allo, a messaging service coming out later this year, will also target consumers, Fox said. Google’s Messenger is a basic text system, part of a group of services provided to wireless carriers that work closely with Android.

The second tactic: Bringing what Mr. Fox says is better technology to the new services to catch up with rivals.

 

Duo constantly performs “bandwidth estimation” to understand how much video can be delivered. If Wi-Fi weakens, it switches to a phone’s cellular network. If a cellular signal drops as low as 2G, Duo will automatically cut video and maintain audio.

Allo will use Google’s expertise in AI to automatically understand texts and provide useful suggestions. Google will also let third-party developers create chatbots that will interact with Allo users through messages. That’s already being tried by other companies such as Facebook and Microsoft, but Google has been working hard on AI for about a decade, so it may be more advanced.

“First build a great product,” Mr. Fox said, repeating a common Google mantra. “Once you get people to love it, they will share it with friends and co-workers and it grows.”

Google was late in other technology and caught up, Fox noted. Gmail started in 2004, more than six years after Yahoo Mail, but Google’s offer of mountains of free storage won over hundreds of millions of users. Google’s Chrome emerged in 2008 – over a decade after Microsoft’s Internet Explorer – and is now the most popular web browser partly because of speed and frequent updates.

Better technology may not be enough to catch up, Mr. Jain said. WhatsApp and Snapchat offered something useful enough to persuade many people to switch away from their existing communication service where all their friends already were.

Duo’s promise of video calling for everyone on Android and iOS is something that Hangouts already offers, but that didn’t move the needle enough, he noted.

“It’s worth another shot, but having better tech can’t be the only thing,” Mr. Jain said.

 

Source : http://www.theglobeandmail.com/technology/knock-knock-google-duo-video-call-is-here/article31426625/

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