Summit Insider: Elisabeth Osmeloski on marketing and the role of SEO

Our Summit Insiders is a collection of marketing experts whom we’ve invited to join us on the ground at Summit to share their insights, observations and experience via social media, blogging and other digital outlets. We sat down with Elisabeth Osmeloski, one of our Insiders to talk about marketing, reinvention (the theme of this year’s Summit) and more. Here’s what she had to say:

Elisabeth_InsiderDigital marketing changes each and every day. How do you consistently reinvent yourself to meet the ever-changing demands of this industry? 
Good question! The biggest challenge for most people in the industry is just keeping up with the change when change happens at an alarming rate. For many I know (and myself included), several hours of nearly every day are carved out just for scanning headlines and reading updates from reputable industry sites as well as platform and product blogs that may affect their current marketing campaigns.

For digital marketers to keep up, it’s imperative that we stay up to date on new features offered by search and social platforms, so they can begin to strategize how to best leverage those for their company’s efforts. On top of that, they also need to be aware of upgrades and changes to the vendor tools they use on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Finally, everyone needs to take a step back and look at the big picture of how everything in digital works together – from every angle, including personalization and privacy, social and mobile technology, to name just a few. That’s where trusted marketing technology news sites (like our own Marketing Land & Search Engine Land of course, but several others as well) as well as mainstream media and business publications come in handy to quickly surface the bigger issues.

But in order to reinvent yourself (and particularly useful if you’ve been ‘stuck’ in a single vertical for a long time) – I do think it’s important to draw inspiration from other industries and to try to take a look at what they’re doing with a fresh eye, so you can bring those learnings into your own strategies.

How do you see the role of SEO evolving in the next five years?
SEO has been evolving since the day it was invented – but the real potential for search engine optimization over the next few years is a renewed focus on information architecture to better take advantage of structured data. As search platforms continue to try to better understand query intent and are finally making strides in semantic search, structured data is helping inform algorithms of who, what, when, where, why and how – publishers have an opportunity to influence this from the ground up.

However, in the age of ‘direct and instant’ answers for top level queries, SEO is going to have to find new opportunities to be discovered in search, and get the click through from search results. One of the biggest challenges for SEO continues to be the fight for credit and traffic / ROI attribution. In a world of [not provided] keywords, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to track results at scale. For that reason, it’s also likely that SEO might just be folded into a bigger marketing role as all websites become ‘content publishers’.

There’s also the concept that search happens in other formats beyond the desktop – not just on mobile, but within mobile apps, on wearables and in voice search for example – ‘optimizing’ for those results will be another opportunity for marketers to capture audience attention.

What skills do you think are going to be imperative for digital marketers to have in the future?
For the creative side of the marketing table, it’s become obvious that using to data to inform your marketing strategies is what’s going to matter most. Being able to build a scalable strategy, test and measure results at every stage, and adjust accordingly is ultimately what is going to drive the success of all marketing. Add the complication of needing to do this effectively in ‘real-time’, using a mix of technology platforms and human interaction. Adaptability and agility are the keywords.

What advice would you someone entering into the digital marketing industry?
My advice is to pick at least one specialty to focus on and become a true expert in that area – whether that’s organic search, paid advertising, email marketing, social media, content development or analytics. But do keep yourself well informed on all the other aspects of digital so that you have a deeper understanding of how to leverage other opportunities and more importantly, work with other members of your team and in other business units around your company.

More about Elisabeth Osmeloski 
Elisabeth Osmeloski is Director of Audience Development for Marketing Land and Search Engine Land, two of the leading trade publications in the digital marketing space. She is responsible for increasing readership through owned, earned and paid media channels. As part of her role on the editorial team, she assists in programming SEO and related digital marketing sessions at Third Door Media’s Search Marketing Expo conference series. Elisabeth also co-founded SLCSEM.org – a local association for Utah based search and digital marketing professionals.

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