Search Results: How to Thrive in a One-Result World

I recently attended the FullContact’s Connect18 conference which included valuable insight from top industry thought leaders. My personal highlight of the two-day event was Mike King (@iPullRank) and his take on the new age of SEO: The Age of Invisibility.

picture of magenta microphone on the ground.

Brady Akers

Since the beginning of SEO, the goal was to improve the strength of your website’s search results for specific keywords. Recently, success in SEO meant being in the top three results. Now, being the first result matters significantly more than the rest.

To keep up with the increasingly fast-paced world we live in, convenience is king, and technology is becoming more reductive and naturally integrated with our everyday lives through capabilities like voice search. Voice search is on the rise thanks to products like Amazon Echo and Google Home. How are these products causing such an interruption for search? Because when you ask these smart speakers a question, they only give one response due to the shift towards simplicity and one result being enough.

You may ask yourself, “How does Google decide what answer to use for their Voice Search result?”

This answer comes from the Featured Snippet. This answer box, which appears above the organic results, can come in 3 forms: paragraph (~63% of snippets), Lists (~19%), and Tables (~16%). Featured snippets are a strategy that deserve their own blog post (coming soon).

I don’t want to seem like Chicken Little saying the SEO sky is falling, but in the changing results world where one answer reigns supreme, here are six tips to help you land that top spot in search results:

  1. Create hyper-targeted content: Don’t spread your web pages and blog posts too broadly with content. Be specific and detailed.
  2. Identify and pursue featured snippet opportunities: Start with low-hanging fruit (high relevance to your brand, low competition). Moz offers a great introduction to targeting these opportunities.
  3. Think mobile first: Responsive design is essential for top rankings in search.
  4. Structure your data: Organize your content in a way that computers (search engines) can understand it as valuable to the user, and in a way that is conversational and easily digested by an actual person.
  5. Build a fast website: Pingdom offers a valuable (and free) tool to test the speed of your site and provides suggestions for improvement.
  6. Build authority on your site: Establish a link building strategy, especially with .gov and .edu sites, which have greater authority than .coms and .orgs.

If your company is interested in learning more about the current and future state of search, we can help!

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