As we move toward the second half of 2015, I reflected on Prioritizing SEO Strategies in 2014 to consider the evolving landscape, the trends, and the new technologies that will impact SEO as a useful tool for business in the future. It’s funny to consider now, because Google is much more transparent now in how it ranks sites, how some people postulated that SEO may not exist in the year 2015. I discovered that most of my colleagues don’t agree with that, but I do want to address the topic briefly for those who may be new to the field or may be considering entering the field.
One analogy that occurred to me is that of the IRS tax code. It can be said that the IRS tax code is also transparent because it is published on the internet for all to read and comprehend. Yet many, from individuals to large corporations, choose to hire a tax expert to compute and file tax returns.
Because SEO has both elements of art and science, a better analogy might be that of practicing dentistry. The role of the dentist is to keep your teeth both attractive in appearance and fully functional in operation. So it is true of the SEO that must interface with the webmaster designing websites and mobile apps to captivate the audience and promote the ease of accessibility to the crawler robots that, in turn, will impact your site’s ranking in searches. Hear me now, “SEO will go out when dentists are no longer needed.” The importance of SEO cannot be overestimated.
An Overview of SEO Trends for 2015 and Beyond
SEO, of course, is not an end in itself, but rather a means by which businesses drive conversions, not-for-profits stay relevant to receive donations, universities enroll the best students for their respective curriculums, and a host of other entities reach their audiences through visibility and relevancy, thus maintaining viability. It is for each entity to examine its overall marketing and SEO objectives to determine which strategies may best work to achieve stated goals. The following list is a brief overview of technologies, concepts, strategies, and issues with a comment as to why each is important, with each topic to be covered more in depth in future posts. As technology is ever evolving, you may want to put in place now some of the points discussed below, or refine if you already have done so; others are in a nascent state, and you will want to watch as they develop to understand how they may benefit your business.
- Apps for mobile devices: With Nielson having recently reported that U.S. adult smartphone users spend 65% more time each month using apps that just two years ago didn’t exist, and PortioResearch stating that it is predicted that mobile app users worldwide will reach 4.4 billion by 2017, understanding how apps may engage your customers is key. Fortunately, the explosion of apps is beginning to be indexed by search engines and Adobe Creative Cloud offers unique capabilities that allow mobile apps to be integrated with desktop computers.
- Data Analytics: Gathering and interpreting your data for action and refinement of your overall marketing and SEO strategy is essential. All analytics packages (from Adobe, Google, and others) contain a comprehensive set of tools for predictive and real-time analytics and some contain specialized tools for targeting, testing, managing content, and campaigns to deliver exceptional experiences to customers to build loyalty and facilitate conversion.
- Local Search: Optimizing for local search is not just for the mom and pop store, it is applicable to enterprise-level organizations and any business with multiple locations.
- Optimize for Mobile: Earlier this year, comScore reported that Americans “now spend more time on a monthly basis with apps than they do accessing the internet from desktops.” But people are not merely playing games and chatting with friends on their mobile devices. The IDG Global Mobile Survey 2014 noted that 77 percent of executives use their smartphone to research a product or service for their business. Google’s focus on mobile now (link to https://developers.google.com/webmasters/mobile-sites/) is something on which any SEO should focus, especially with the Mobile Friendly algorithm update on April 21.
- Personalization: Technological advances are permitting businesses to move away from the “mass marketing” mindset to treat their customers as the individuals they are. Employing tools with capabilities such as a self-learning algorithm to understand visitor data can result in more satisfied user experiences and increasing conversion and the rate of cross-selling.
The future has commenced. While two-thirds of Americans now have smartphones, those who enjoy being the first to try new technology already own such things as 3D printers, wearable technology such as Google Glass. Soon the remarkable molecular scanner SCiO, described as “the world’s first affordable molecular sensor that fits in the palm of your hand” will hit the market. While these technologies are relatively new and not widely available, it is none-the-less worthwhile to consider how emerging trends may benefit your organization.
SEO remains an important part of a solid marketing strategy, whether you prefer the term marketing funnel or customer decision journey. There are so many interesting trends and challenging opportunities I know about, that I have not touched on, and perhaps I’ve missed your favorite one. Leave a comment and let me know your experiences and insights.