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7 Search Engine Marketing Trends To Be Aware Of

7 Search Engine Marketing Trends To Be Aware Of

The digital marketing landscape is in a constant state of evolution. With emerging technologies, new platforms, and shifting consumer behaviours, strategies that were effective yesterday may no longer deliver results today. This is especially true regarding search engine marketing trends, where ongoing algorithm updates and innovations necessitate flexibility and forward-thinking approaches.

In our ever-connected world, businesses must stay within the curve regarding visibility and discoverability online. A strong SEM strategy is crucial for reaching target audiences amidst the clutter of competition. The companies that will thrive are the ones that stay informed, agile, and willing to test innovative techniques.

This comprehensive guide will explore today's latest search engine marketing trends. We will uncover cutting-edge strategies related to SEO, paid search, keyword research, and more. You will learn actionable tips and best practices for leveraging emerging opportunities while avoiding pitfalls. With insights into Google's algorithm, shifts in paid advertising, voice search optimisation, and leveraging artificial intelligence, this guide aims to get your SEM strategy ahead of the pack.

With these timely insights, you can refine your approach, capitalise on new platforms, and gain a competitive edge. In the fast-paced, ever-changing world of SEM, knowledge is power. Use these strategies and insights to ensure your SEM strategy is poised for continued success.

The Power of Voice Search: Optimising for Conversational Queries

What Is Voice Search Stats

Voice Search Engine Marketing Trends

Voice search has emerged as a transformative technology in digital marketing and advertising. The proliferation of voice-activated devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home and virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa has fundamentally reshaped how consumers interact with search engines and content discovery.

Whereas in the past, people would sit down and type search queries into Google or Bing, now millions of users are turning to voice commands and verbal questions to find information online. This massive shift to voice search presents both opportunities and challenges for marketers.

On the one hand, optimising voice search can help brands reach new audiences and increase visibility. Brands that focus on creating content optimised for voice commands and conversational queries can improve their rankings in voice search results. This includes using natural language in content, creating featured snippets, optimising long-tail keyword phrases, and building brand mentions into conversational content.

However, voice search also disrupts traditional SEO in many ways. Ranking algorithms are becoming more complex as they incorporate context, intent, and natural language processing. The search experience is becoming hands-free and on the go, meaning marketers must focus on quick, concise audio content. There are also new emerging virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri, which act as gatekeepers, changing discovery and branded content opportunities.

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As voice search usage grows exponentially in the coming years, brands must shift more resources and strategies to optimise voice search and emerging virtual assistants. Developing audio content and voice apps, building conversational marketing tactics, and tracking voice analytics will be essential. Voice search presents challenges but also new innovating opportunities for savvy marketers.

Optimising for Conversational Queries

The rise of voice search is transforming how people interact with search engines. Instead of typing keywords into a search box, people are now speaking their queries conversationally using digital assistants like Siri or Alexa. This shift to more natural language searches has significant implications for search engine optimisation strategies.

Businesses must adapt their keyword targeting and content creation to match these new voice search patterns. The prominence of voice queries means that long-tail, conversational keywords and phrases are becoming more important than short, generic terms. For example, someone is more likely to ask, “What is the best Mexican restaurant in my area” rather than simply searching for “Mexican restaurant.”

To optimise voice search, brands should create content that answers potential voice queries naturally. This means using long-tail keywords in titles, headers, and body text. The content itself should be written in a conversational tone, avoiding overly complex or technical language.

Including conversational keywords related to recommendations, opinions, local intent, or comparisons can make content more relatable for voice searchers. For example, a home services company could create a blog post titled “How Much Does It Cost to Paint a 2000 Square Foot House in Dallas?” instead of a generic title like “House Painting Cost Guide.

Structured data like FAQs, step-by-step instructions, ratings, and reviews can also boost visibility for voice search queries. This extra markup trains search engines to view the content as a natural fit for conversational requests.

Optimising for natural language queries will become more crucial as voice search grows. Brands that adjust their keyword and content strategies will be better positioned to capitalise on voice search opportunities. Reworking content for conversational relevance can help businesses connect with voice searchers and improve website visibility overall.

Content is King: Quality Over Quantity

Google Ranking Factor Fresh Content

The Importance of High-Quality Content

In today's SEM landscape, producing high-quality, authoritative content remains the foundation of any successful strategy. While in the past, some companies pursued a ‘more is more' approach by churning out a high volume of written content, the emphasis has shifted towards maximising the value and relevance of each piece.

Search engines, especially Google, now prioritise websites that take the time to create thoughtful, in-depth content that genuinely helps users. Google's algorithms analyse both the quality of the content and signals of trust and expertise, like links from authoritative sites. Creating content that ranks well organically is about more than just cramming in as many keywords as possible.

Businesses should focus on producing content that provides tangible value to their audience. This could include comprehensive guides and how-tos, data-driven reports and original research, expert interviews, product reviews and comparisons, and other formats that solve users' problems and answer their most pressing questions.

While voluminous content has its place, especially for informing purchase decisions, prioritising substance over quantity is now the name of the game in SEM. Each piece of content should be optimised for longevity and stand out as a valuable resource on its topic. Businesses that embrace this shift towards quality stand to reap significant rewards in organic visibility and user engagement. With thoughtful research and intelligent optimisation, companies can create content that serves users' needs while boosting their domains as trusted authorities.

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E-E-A-T Principle

Google has evolved their core E-A-T principles for evaluating content quality by focusing on “Experience” – now calling it E-E-A-T. This acronym stands for:

  • Experience: The extent to which the content creator has direct first-hand experience and expertise. This emphasises the importance of real-world expertise and knowledge gained through practice rather than just academic or theoretical expertise.
  • Expertise: The depth of knowledge and skill of the creator or contributor of the content. This expertise should be relevant to the specific topic covered by the content.
  • Authoritativeness: – How authoritative is the creator of content? Do they have qualifications, reputation, and trustworthiness on this topic? Authoritative sources are trusted by many other experts and recognised as reliable sources.
  • Trustworthiness: The trustworthiness of the creator and the content itself. High-quality content comes from sources you can trust to provide accurate, unbiased, and honest information. Trust is at the core of Google's E-E-A-T concept.

With this expanded framework, Google aims to provide more clarity and guidance around evaluating the quality of websites and content. The critical point is that first-hand experience on a topic now plays a more prominent role, rather than just academic expertise alone.

Google also emphasises evaluating the reputation of content creators, understanding when and how E-E-A-T is vital for different topics, identifying harmful or misleading content, and the nuances of building trustworthiness. This evolution of E-E-A-T provides updated guidance for content creators and search engine evaluators.

Mobile-First Indexing: A Mobile-Centric Approach

Mobile Device Website Traffic

Mobile-Centric Indexing

Mobile devices have become the dominant platform for online searches, with more than 60% of searches now conducted on smartphones and tablets. This shift to mobile has led search engines like Google to prioritise the mobile web experience when indexing and ranking pages.

In 2018, Google announced it was switching to a mobile-first indexing scheme. This means that Google predominantly uses the mobile version of a website's content to index pages and determine search rankings. Previously, Google relied more heavily on the desktop version.

The move to mobile-first indexing reflects the fact that the majority of Google searches originate on mobile devices. Google wants to surface pages that offer the best experience for these mobile users. Websites that need to be optimised for mobile risk plummeting in rankings.

Creating a fast, user-friendly, and fully responsive mobile website has become necessary. Pages that load slowly or display poorly on mobile devices will be penalised by Google's algorithms. Simple things like easy-to-tap buttons, readable text sizes, and minimal vertical scrolling go a long way towards improving mobile usability.

Websites that fail to adapt their design and content for mobile users will struggle to gain visibility. In today's search environment, brands need to view mobile optimisation as a prerequisite, not an option. Delivering a seamless experience across devices is now expected, not just best practice.

The dominance of mobile has forced brands to take a mobile-first approach across all aspects of marketing and site development. With Google's indexing changes, the stakes for crafting mobile sites that meet user needs and expectations are even higher—brands that fail to embrace mobile risk vanishing from those all-important first pages of search results.

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“Hyper-Local” Search Marketing

Local search has become increasingly popular in recent years, with searches for businesses nearby growing 500% over the past two years. An estimated 30-50% of all Google searches now have a local intent, as consumers look for goods and services close to where they live and work. This rise of “near me” searches presents a significant opportunity for businesses to adopt highly targeted local marketing strategies to connect with customers in their neighbourhood and drive foot traffic.

A survey showed that 93% of consumers had searched online for a local business, underscoring how pivotal digital discovery has become in the customer journey. Hyper-local marketing aims to capitalise on these “micro-moment” searches, where people use their devices to find information to instantly aid real-world actions and decisions. With hyper-local tactics, businesses can zero in on building strong neighbourhood markets by serving searchers personalised results based on details like their name, address and phone number.

Hyper-local search marketing utilises granular geo-targeting of keywords and content to optimisation for ultra-local searches. Local startups and small businesses can ensure they appear prominently in rankings for local searches by registering and verifying their business profiles on search engines and review sites. Providing complete and accurate business information like addresses, categories, and hours helps search engines understand local relevance and connectivity.

Embracing hyper-local search strategies significantly boosts visibility and discovery for businesses looking to increase local store traffic and sales. While location-based marketing like geofencing garners attention, hyper-local organic and paid search delivers proven results for small enterprises. Combining hyper-local targeting with strategic keyword selection yields high-value customers at the right time and place.

Visual Search: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Clicks

Best Marketing Strategy For Pinterest

The Emergence of Visual Search

Visual search technology is transforming how people discover and engage with online content. Rather than relying solely on text-based searches, visual search allows users to find information by uploading or capturing images. This introduces a new dimension to search engine marketing trends and creates new opportunities for brands and publishers. 

Platforms like Pinterest and Google Lens have demonstrated the power of visual search. On Pinterest, over 465 million people use visual search each month to search through over 200 billion Pins. Users can take pictures or upload images to find similar content, products, ideas and recommendations. This helps them discover highly-relevant visual content.

Google Lens takes visual search even further by allowing users to search what they see through their smartphone camera. Users can identify products, landmarks, plants, animals, text, and more by pointing the camera at an object. The technology can translate foreign languages in real-time, solve math problems, and provide other augmented reality experiences. 

Visual search will change consumer behaviour and expectations as it gains broader adoption. When users have a visual prompt or inspiration, they will increasingly turn to visual search to explore, research, and shop. Brands that optimise and tag visual content will see significant search visibility benefits. Publishers can also leverage visual search to help readers find more of what they are visually drawn to.

The rise of visual search underscores the need for brands to focus on visual storytelling and creativity that sparks visual interest and inspiration. Successful SEM will require optimising for visual search across platforms like Google, Pinterest, and social media. Structured data, alt text, and intelligent use of AI tags will be critical. Ultimately brands that embrace visual search now will have a competitive advantage in reaching and engaging modern consumers.

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Optimising for Visual Search

As visual search technology advances, optimising content for visual discovery is becoming increasingly crucial for businesses. Implementing best practices for visual search optimisation can provide a competitive edge and help companies reach new audiences.

The key to optimising visual search is making images as helpful as possible for users and search engines. This involves several key strategies:

  • Using High-Quality Images: Images should be large, sharp, and straightforward. Poor quality or tiny images will degrade the visual search experience. When possible, provide pictures in their original resolution without excessive compression.
  • Optimising Image File Names: Use descriptive and keyword-rich filenames that describe the image content. Good filenames help search engines understand the image topic.
  • Writing Useful Alt Text: The alt text attribute provides text descriptions of images—craft alt text to explain the image content using relevant keywords succinctly.
  • Adding Structured Data: Structured data like markup provides additional metadata that describes images in a machine-readable format. This gives search engines more context about the picture.
  • Curating Image Collections: Organise images into logical collections or galleries. This improves relevancy for niche visual searches.

As visual search evolves, new capabilities will emerge. Augmented reality, 3D imaging, and enhanced image recognition will impact visual search in the future. Businesses that optimise for the current state of visual search technology while keeping an eye on emerging innovations will have a long-term advantage. Adapting visual search strategies early provides an opportunity to learn what resonates with your audience and establish your brand as a leader in visual discovery.

Video Content Dominance: The YouTube Advantage

Video Content Statistics Brand Marketing

The Power of Video Marketing

Video marketing has become an essential strategy for businesses in the digital age. With over 2 billion monthly active users, YouTube offers an unparalleled platform for companies to connect with their audience through compelling video content. 

The power of video lies in its ability to convey stories and ideas through sight, sound and motion. A well-produced video can captivate viewers' attention and drive meaningful engagement. Videos allow brands to showcase products, explain complex concepts, promote services, and build connections with customers in an intimate, personalised way.

According to a recent survey, 80% of consumers said they were more likely to buy a product or service after watching a brand's video. The same study found that 64% of customers would rather watch a short video to learn about a product than read text on a website. 

The video also boosts SEO and social media marketing efforts. Videos perform well in search rankings, helping brands improve their discoverability. Embedding videos in social posts can lead to higher engagement rates and click-throughs than static image and text-based content.

As video marketing gains momentum, brands must develop thoughtful strategies and high-quality productions. Rushing into video without a plan often backfires, leading to wasted resources and subpar content. Key steps include:

  • Identifying target audiences.
  • Developing captivating stories.
  • Optimising videos for specific platforms.
  • Leveraging data to refine efforts.
  • Tracking ROI.

The rise of video presents tremendous potential for marketers. However, realising the full benefits requires moving beyond haphazard attempts and investing the time and effort to integrate video into a cohesive marketing strategy. With the right approach, video can become a company's most valuable marketing asset.

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YouTube SEO

Optimising video content on YouTube to increase viewership and subscriber growth involves a multi-pronged strategy. At the core is understanding and optimising YouTube's search algorithm, which determines how high videos rank in search results and suggested videos. 

The title and description of a YouTube video are critical elements that influence search ranking. Titles should be clear, concise and include relevant keywords that viewers are likely searching for. Descriptions can elaborate more on the content and include additional keyword phrases. Well-written titles and descriptions that accurately portray the content can help videos surface in searches and earn more clicks.

Keyword tags are another vital search optimisation factor. Including relevant tags makes it clear to YouTube what the video is about. Combining tags for the topic, format (such as tutorial or review), and other specifics can increase findability. Tagging thoroughly without going overboard is ideal.

Beyond search factors, creating compelling and high-quality video content that viewers want to watch and share can give a significant boost. Value-adding educational videos, helpful tutorials, and entertaining content tend to gain more traction. Visually appealing videos also perform better, so investing in production quality with good lighting, images, effects, and editing is essential. 

Monitoring metrics like view count, audience retention, traffic sources, likes/dislikes, and comments provides insight into what's resonating with viewers. This can guide efforts to refine content and optimisation practices.

A data-driven, multi-faceted optimisation strategy takes consistent effort but is critical for YouTube's success. Enhancing discoverability through search rankings while crafting shareable videos lays the foundation for earning more subscribers over time.

The Future of SEM: AI and Machine Learning

Google Smart Artificial Intelligence

The Role of AI in SEM

Integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technologies rapidly transforms Search Engine Marketing trends. Powerful AI algorithms can analyse massive datasets, identify complex patterns, and make predictive decisions that would be impossible for humans alone. This provides SEM professionals with more insightful data and allows for more optimised and effective campaigns.

One of the most impactful applications of AI in SEM has been Google's RankBrain technology. Introduced in 2015, RankBrain is a machine learning system that processes Google searches that it has never seen before. RankBrain attempts to understand the intent behind the search and return the most relevant results for these novel queries. Over time, as RankBrain receives more data, its algorithms become more refined and accurate. 

RankBrain has fundamentally changed how search results are generated. It has allowed Google to understand search intent for never-before-seen long-tail keywords. RankBrain can connect semantic meanings behind words in ways that were not previously possible. This has had profound effects on how businesses approach SEM and SEO. With RankBrain, the focus has shifted from just keyword targeting to understanding user intent. 

Looking towards the future, AI and ML will enable SEM professionals to optimise campaigns in new ways. Predictive analytics will allow for more intelligent budget allocation across keywords and precise timing of ads. Chatbots and virtual assistants will have natural conversations with customers to understand their needs. And as more data is accumulated, algorithms will continuously improve and exceed human capabilities when analysing search behaviour and trends.

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Integrating AI and ML into SEM marks the beginning of a new era driven by insights, automation and personalisation. While this technology will unlock exciting possibilities, human creativity, judgment, and empathy will remain essential for strategic decision-making. The future will see creative professionals collaborating with AI tools to maximise their potential and transform digital experiences.

Personalised User Experience

AI transforms search engine marketing trends by enabling more personalised and engaging user experiences. As AI algorithms analyse user behaviour and preferences, they can deliver customised content recommendations and tailored search results for each individual. This creates a more relevant experience that keeps users engaged.

Chatbots leveraging natural language processing and machine learning are integrated into websites and apps to provide instant customer support. These AI-powered chatbots can understand user questions and provide real-time answers 24/7. This on-demand assistance enhances user engagement and satisfaction.

Looking ahead, AI will be crucial for shaping the future of SEM as the technology continues to evolve rapidly. AI can optimise paid search campaigns by automatically adjusting bids and ad targeting based on performance data. It can also generate targeted ad copy and creatives that resonate with specific audiences.

AI can analyse website content and structure for SEO to recommend optimisations for better search rankings. It can also generate original long-form website content that appeals to users and search engines.

In summary, AI is transforming SEM by enabling hyper-personalised experiences, instant customer support, and data-driven optimisation of campaigns and content. As AI capabilities grow more advanced in the coming years, it will become an indispensable tool for SEM strategies seeking to engage users and gain competitive search visibility. The personal touch of AI will only become more pronounced as the technology matures.


The world of search engine marketing trends is in a constant state of evolution. Driven by rapid technological advancements and ever-changing user behaviour, the SEM landscape requires agility and adaptation to stay current and competitive. As we look to the future, it is clear that success in SEM will depend on embracing new trends and innovations while remaining deeply committed to core marketing principles

Voice search presents new opportunities, requiring optimisation for conversational queries. Content must go beyond keywords to provide valuable information that answers users' questions and meets their needs. Mobile-first indexing is necessary with mobile dominance, and page speed and user experience are critical. Emerging technologies like AI will enable more personalised experiences and sophisticated automation in SEM.

However, amidst all of this change, what remains unchanged is the importance of truly knowing your audience, providing relevant and high-quality content, and building relationships of trust. A willingness to constantly learn, experiment, analyse, and evolve will remain at the heart of thriving in this dynamic field.

The path forward is filled with excitement and potential. The possibilities are boundless for those bold enough to adapt to whatever the future brings while staying true to foundational marketing values. The companies that embrace this mindset will pave the way and reap the results as search engine marketing continues advancing into new frontiers. Now, gear up and embark on your journey to search engine marketing success.

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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