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Google plays a pretty big role in our everyday lives. On Google, we can get directions, find recipes, buy a car, and find a job. It’s also been a valuable tool in the building and marketing of businesses through search engine optimization.
Recently, however, things have been changing at Google in a very big way, and the impact of these changes on SEO marketing efforts have many marketers concerned. Since Google is the largest, most popular search engine on the internet, these changes not only impact our user experiences on Google’s search, it’s changing SEO as we know it in ways that will make it more difficult to see desired results.
Google isn’t making changes because of any decline in natural activity or drop in searches. Google has been making adjustments because of changes in how we use their search engine prompted in part by the rise of mobile and voice search. The changes are also intended to improve and streamline user experience.
The result is the removal of some organic search results through changes like the following.
Answer Boxes: If you type in “What time is it in Paris?”, Google gives you an answer box with Paris, France, the current time there along with the date and the timezone. Google provides the answer with no need to click on any websites below that might be presented in your search results. If a definite answer isn’t offered, a selection of knowledge card results is given with a list of options.
Many marketers are so focused on keywords and or other SEO techniques that they miss perhaps one of the best tools they have to work with — user behavior data. Research shows many organization use less than 5% of any available user data when planning their content campaigns. Smart marketers know review management software can explain how your business stacks up in customer interaction. If you can find trends in how your users interact with your website, you can use that to fine-tune your SEO strategies and significantly boost your efforts.
The changes in the search engine algorithms have shifted the focus more to the end user. While the SEO tactics we’ve used are still relevant, it’s more important now to know the intent behind our users’ searches as they relate to the algorithms.
While SEO is becoming harder, there are still ways for smart marketers to promote and remain competitive.
Focus on brands and branded product names – instead of focusing on demand serving, we can focus on demand generation. In an open search for vegan vitamin supplements, we’ll often get a list of the best supplements or comparison articles. A carousel may appear at the bottom of our results page that offers brands as a refinement. It would be wiser to put our efforts into optimizing the particular brand because Google isn’t likely to take away the ability to maximize one’s brand names. The same idea can be applied different marketing techniques, and more.
Youtube, owned by Google, is the second largest search engine on the internet and it’s projected that by 2021 the majority of all internet traffic will be video. With that in mind, it would seem that optimizing for Youtube would be a great idea. Other platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and more also offer substantial amounts of traffic that could be optimized for.
While change is scary, SEO still lives and can still be used. An understanding of our audience and how they interact with our sites is something to study and apply to our efforts. Most importantly, a willingness to roll with the changes and to find solutions for the issues created by Google’s adjustments will help us to remain effective marketers in the new era of SEO.
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