Given that Google changes its algorithms a whopping 500 times a year, no SEO expert can afford to carry that name unless they dedicate themselves to continually updating their skills to remain relevant to clients. The best way for this to happen is keeping an eye out for any upcoming trends that will have an effect on online marketing techniques, and applying them to give your clients a competitive edge. The following are a few of these trends.

  1. ‘Dark’ traffic

Dark traffic is the colloquial name given to traffic from sources, such as social media or messaging apps. It is so named because Google Analytics is currently not able to identify traffic from such sources, and hence your GA reports will categorize these as direct visits. As a result, you may notice that you have unusually high numbers of direct visits (where a user types in the URL within the address bar directly).

Dark traffic complicates your marketing strategy because while you may work hard to manage your campaigns to draw traffic from various online sources, you won’t know exactly what’s working, since you have no exact numbers to follow.

However, by generating a direct traffic report, you can eliminate pages that are likely to have direct visits e.g. your landing pages. From here, you can use details from your other strategies to determine what strategies are working. Although incomplete, it will give you a good start in the right direction.

  1. Rich answers

Rich answers are the snippets of information Google shares in a box at the top of SERPs in answer to direct questions. The frequency of occurrence of rich results is increasing, and hence these provide another avenue for SEO experts to explore.

You can do this by ensuring that your site has concise and direct answers to the most frequently asked questions within your niche. This format will increase your chances of showing up in the snippet box, especially for queries for which Google’s Knowledge Graph does not have answers yet which make up at least 75% of all queries.

You can also improve your chances by including unique details about the question further on in the page, which is where Google will direct searchers looking for additional details. It is important not to give up all details in your concise answer block, so that the searcher will click on the link to find out more, ending up at your landing page.

Jack Dawson is the admissions counselor of a leading autonomous management institute.

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