Harvest 2015 SEO Prediction Update
At the beginning of the year Harvest Digital discussed the ways in which Search Engine Optimisation changes can have an affect on a brand’s online presence. We’re now seven months into the year and the team have looked back to see whether their predictions have come into fruition.
Click here to see our first initial blog
Schema Will Play a Bigger Part in SEO
So half way through the year I’m pleased to say my prediction is being fulfilled. So much so that Google has begun issuing Structured Mark-up penalties to those spamming with this tactic. If you have been hit with this penalty you will see a message in the Google Search Console, formerly Webmaster Tools.
When implemented correctly you can improve your discoverability, indexation and visibility. Mark-up will inform the Google Knowledge graph, local results, generate Rich Snippets and allow you to have more control when people share your website links on social media.
More websites are implementing schema into their website code as the benefits for doing so can help your overall rankings. This is because many people report higher CTR after implementing the mark-up which applies the star ratings in the SERPs. From a search engine perspective higher CTR makes you more relevant for a search term than a website with a lower CTR.
B2B Social Marketing
The potential for B2B marketing on social media has exploded in the last couple of months. Social media has been beyond friend and family updates for a long time but there are still a number of brands who are either nervous to use the platforms (fears of public criticism) or unable to generate enough buzz around their brands to improve engagement, brand awareness or justify investments with good ROI.
Not only is B2B social media activity good for increased exposure, traffic, increasing brand advocacy and generating leads it is also intrinsically linked to SEO. Google uses social signals as indicators for good and trustworthy content. If the content you are publishing on social platforms is being engaged with and shared by industry influencers it is likely to help in your platform engagement and SEO efforts.
This year we have seen a more genuine embrace of social media by our clients as it becomes harder and harder to ignore the benefits that come with B2B social marketing.
B2B Social Marketing
Earlier this year I predicted that Google would be able to detect and penalise sites which attempted to manipulate rankings using paid backlinks.
With Google crowdsourcing a growing list of poor backlinks with their disavow tool along with encouraging users to report known paid links they are likely to be sitting on enough data to determine patterns and implement a penalty algorithm.
I’ve noticed that Bing are now producing much higher quality results than Google due to different backlink emphasis in their algorithms which seems to surface fewer obvious guest post type content. With fewer people attempting to cheat Bing instead of Google the results to lead to much cleaner and more relevant search results.
Obviously Google are aware of this and it’s likely to be affecting them commercially so it’s only a matter of time before they either figure out detection of paid links or place less emphasis on backlinks as a whole.
My advice? Don’t invest in content for other peoples sites, invest in content for your own.
Video for Social SEO value
As predicted earlier in the year, video based content has taken off with Facebook video views closing in on YouTube at up to 4 billion video views per day. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg announced that 75% of these video views are happening on mobile devices, compared to YouTube that credit mobile views to only half of their views. Facebook is clearly leading the video views on mobile race and this is attributed to the powerhouse social platforms auto-play feature within feed.
Facebook’s new algorithm update announcement delves deeper on a granular level to measure video performance results based on indicators such as:
- Turning on sound
- Turning up volume
- Making the video full screen
- Enabling high definition
Our prediction is that social media content marketers will need to begin creating more innovative ways of executing their video content in order to have users view and engage with the content. By manipulating the auto-play advantage, marketers will need to create a striking visual call to action that prompts users to interact with your content that in turn will reap massive social SEO value.
For example, this innovative Facebook ad campaign by Hotels.com
Instagram’s New Search and Explore
The reimagined search and explore feature on Instagram brings visual storytelling to a new level. While only currently available in the US, the feature board will include curated collections by Instagram editors based on particular themes with a specific focus on interests. This move will broaden the scope of content discovery for users, with those marketers that invest in high quality and rich evergreen content to benefit from this. Our prediction will be that content marketers will invest in creating Instagram campaigns in similar detail to that of Twitter, with promoted content also beginning to take precedent in user feeds.