Is SEO dead?
This is a question that is often asked among digital marketers in Singapore. But, the truth is, SEO is far from being dead. It only evolved through time and rather drastically that people thought it’s on the way out.
In fact, to say that SEO has changed a lot is an understatement and the several studies and statistics prove so. Take a look at our in-depth review and projections on the current state of SEO in Singapore and beyond.
2019 is a great year for SEO in Singapore and the rest of the world—and we can safely assume it to hold greater promise in the years to come, given that the industry is showing no signs of slowing down.
However, before SEO became what we know it today, it started where every other else did: from scratch.
Search engine optimisation is fairly young, with its inception predicted to be somewhere in 1991. As mentioned above, it evolved rather quickly and the greatest illustration of this would be the many changes in the Google algorithm.
But, upon its introduction, SEO has no ranking criteria. Several websites can easily practice black hat SEO—keyword stuffing, for instance—without the fear of being penalised. While finding information came with greater ease, the problem was the quality of that results.
It wasn’t until 1998 when the first version of PageRank was introduced, which is designed to help rank search results based on, more than keywords, quality. It served as a trailblazer for SEO as we know it today.
The turn of the millennium saw the beginning of Google taking over the search engine scene. It started providing guidelines for white hat SEO to help digital marketers and agencies rank without resorting to black hat SEO practices.
It was during this decade when Google introduced several changes and SEO began taking shape. These included the first major algorithm update, Google Florida in 2003, which issued the first penalties for websites practising black hat SEO. It signalled Google’s user-first approach to SEO.
In June 2010, Google Caffeine was fully introduced, paving the way for an improved search engine speed and faster results. It was succeeded by Google Panda in 2011 that cracked down on ‘content farms’ which are websites that are frequently updated with low-quality content to boost rankings.
Below are some other significant SEO changes that happened from 2010 to this day:
Today, SEO is part of every digital marketer’s core marketing efforts alongside PPC, content marketing, email marketing, and social media marketing to name a few.
If its fast-paced history isn’t any indication, SEO is a competitive, ever-updating landscape that marketers have to adapt to in order to keep up. Keyword-stuffing will no longer cut it and marketers are realising it as they are pumping out money and effort to improve the effectiveness of their SEO practices.
Here’s an overview of how the world is faring in terms of SEO, and digital marketing overall.
Singapore is in no way different from the rest of the world in terms of SEO.
Although it is relatively still in its infancy—with a wealth of opportunities waiting to be tapped and gaps yet to overcome—SEO in Singapore is experiencing drastic evolution as an increasing number of organisations are starting to embrace digital transformation.
Trends, tools, and strategies are being introduced almost everyday; new innovations and upgraded technologies are always emerging—and it seems to be the answer to the rise in Internet usage in the city.
Having the second highest Internet penetration in Southeast Asia at 84.5% of its total population, digital usage and online content consumption is at an all-time high in Singapore. It was also found that Singaporeans from ages 25-34 have the highest Internet usage at 31%.
Another study revealed that approximately 96% of Singaporean Internet users have at least one social media account and each spends an average of 2.5 hours online every day. Of the number, 42% or 3.2 billion access their channels via mobile.
Aside from online content consumption, Singaporean consumers also rely on the Internet to research products, read reviews, and compare prices before making a purchase. The same study by Hootsuite and We Are Social revealed that 73% of Internet users purchased a product or service online.
These driving factors make SEO essential for the success of any business online. They go to show that the majority of the world has access to the Internet; you have to implement effective SEO strategies to be recognised as a trusted resource by search engines and become visible to your target audience.
While SEO holds a greater promise to help you become visible on the web, implementing strategies to boost rankings, establish authority, and drive results is not always as easy as it sounds.
As several business leaders point out, there are many reasons why businesses in Singapore have yet to succeed in the world of digital marketing. Below are some of the key challenges faced by many digital marketing agencies in Singapore today.
In a 2016 report, it is stated that approximately 57% of marketers in the Asia Pacific view the production of high-quality content as the biggest obstacle to success. Such a challenge is attributed to the limited talent pool, which includes writers, graphic artists, and video creators. It also doesn’t help that many businesses still view SEO services in Singapore as an unnecessary expenditure.
Along with the limited access to digital marketing talent and skills, there also seems to be a shortage of rich media resources. Google and other search engines reward content with rich and appropriate media. But, the problem is that producing certain media formats can be costly for businesses—not to mention the cost of hiring a reliable digital artist.
In most cases than not, businesses that invest in SEO expect short-term results from their SEO agencies. They seem to focus on getting the best ROI early on in their contract, which doesn’t happen quite often with SEO. What they have to understand is that establishing authority doesn’t happen overnight. It takes constant effort to provide valuable content and service to build trust and credibility.
Another problem businesses are facing is the fact that they have yet to succeed in their content marketing strategies. The same 2016 report said that businesses are creating content more than what’s being consumed—and as a result, the search engines are inundated with content that users perceive as less valuable.
Digital marketers have to shift their focus on creating high-quality content instead of increasing the number of articles they publish or the quantity of visual assets they produce. They have to remember that a few valuable, high-quality content that:
All is not gloom in SEO in Singapore. Despite the challenges in implementing SEO strategies, you can significantly increase your chances for success by partnering with a reputable SEO outsourcing company.
Outsourcing your SEO can give you access to a team of trained and experienced digital marketers, saving you from a potential drain on your budget by hiring new employees. Most often than not, these agencies also come equipped with paid SEO tools, further reducing your expenses in investing in tools required to optimise your website.
What’s more, working with an SEO outsourcing company can guarantee that the SEO strategies implemented on your website and across your digital channels are always up-to-date and constantly re-evaluated to keep up with the trends.
As Google strives to focus on providing the best possible user experience, so should you.
Its algorithm may be constantly changing, but understanding Google’s mandate to satisfy and meet user requirements will always be key to the success of your SEO campaigns. If you want to drive more organic traffic, you not only have to implement SEO best practices but to have a user-first approach in your content as well.
The most effective way to optimise your website for search-intent would be to think of yourself as the targeted consumer. What would you be searching for? How will you find what you’re looking for? What value would you get from the products and services a certain website offers?
Having said that, below are some of the SEO trends that matter, if your goal is to create an experience that works for users.
✔ Voice Search and Virtual Assistants
Several studies estimate that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be done by voice. Users will use voice-enabled devices to fulfil at least 30% of all searches without using a screen.
The majority of these voice searches are longer and conversational; they tend to be used to search for local information, too. Therefore, if you’re looking to adapt to this trend, you have to understand how searchers are using such a capability.
✔ Mobile Optimisation
2019 is the year of Google mobile-first index, wherein the search engine will use the mobile version of websites to rank their pages on the SERPs.
For SEO agencies, it means they have to adjust their SEO strategies to make websites mobile-friendly. Factors such as mobile-responsiveness, loading speed, and usability across multiple devices have to be assessed to guarantee the highest-quality user-experience.
✔ Local Search Geo-Targeting
As statistics show, 46% of all Google searches have local-intent and of the number, 72% visited a store within five miles. These figures go to show that local searches are on the rise and becoming even more precise.
As a local business, the first step to optimise your website for local search would be to claim your Google My Business (GMB) listing. Here’s a brief guide on how to get started with GMB.
✔ Content is Still King
Content marketing is already a crucial part of SEO and it will continue to be so in the years to come. If anything, it has become more complicated to include other rich forms of content including infographics, videos, and the likes.
There’s also an increase in demand for immersive experiences, which refer to engaging audiences at a deeper level through virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies. The good news is that Singapore is slowly catching up on these trends, as they diversify their efforts in content marketing.
✔ Technical SEO
Technical SEO continues to grow in complexity every year and focusing on this area of your digital marketing strategy would be one of the greatest investments you will ever make.
Some key areas that you should focus on technical SEO will be the following:
✔ Google Featured Snippets
On top of all that, optimising for snippets and other Google search features will continue to be an important SEO trend come 2020.
Here, creating quality content remains a must. But, to increase your chances of getting featured as a snippet, you would want to structure your content for ordered lists such as step-by-step guides or top 10 lists, for instance.
Singapore has only scratched the surface so far. It still has a long way to go to maximise the potential of digital marketing—and SEO in particular.
But, like any other digital marketers in the world, Singaporean experts looking to stay relevant in the industry should update themselves with trends and adapt to the changes in the market.
It is, therefore, essential to be aware of the state of SEO in Singapore and prepare accordingly.
Ready to take your SEO to the next level? Our SEO services at OOm can help you implement strong, and up-to-date SEO methods that can help you establish authority online.
Get in touch with us or read our blog to learn more of the latest industry news.