In the world of search engine optimization, one cardinal rule is to never rest on past successes. Tactics that score today could lead to fumbles tomorrow as Google, Apple and other global search engine providers constantly change the rules of the game. Good technical SEO gets you online. Great data-optimized content keeps you there, as search engines explore new frontiers, guided by advances in voice search, mobile and deep learning. Data-driven approaches are redrawing the boundaries of modern online marketing.
As the modern consumer seeks, finds and shares information in whole new ways, the modern marketer must employ a new, agile approach to content development for success. That can involve greater collaboration among teams working on content, IT, social and product. Parsing that data into an effective communications strategy is even more daunting.
That’s why we’re launching a new semi-monthly feature, “Unwrapping the Secrets of SEO.”
EXPLORING THE NEW FRONTIERS OF SEARCH
Twice a month, on the first and third Tuesday, one of our resident experts will take a look at the latest trends with Google search and offer insights and actionable advice on the changing world of SEO. The aim is use our expertise and the Searchmetrics Research Cloud (a search database second only to Google’s itself) to arm you with more technical knowledge and a better understanding of the world of search. We want to help you Win without Guesswork by keeping you at the forefront of the changing world of search and helping you gauge the probable success of your initiatives before you publish online.
To kick off “Unwrapping the Secrets of SEO,” we thought it’d be proper to hear from our experts themselves on some of the top 2017 themes they think you need to be aware of to succeed in the world of search:
“You can expect to see continuing efforts on mobile to highlight speed and quality of content, with a focus on offering a richer experience to mobile users. In addition to mobile, I predict that data will play an increasing role in all content creation. With everything from structured data (product data, UPC) to the utilization of on-page data (review, comments), the use of data to inform Google and consumers will have a big impact on performance in 2017. Look for Google to continue to change the SERP layout to display information within Google “experiences” such as Knowledge Graph, Cards and Carousels. They will likely make aggressive moves in categories like finance, commerce and possibly even education.”
Head of Content Marketing
“Understanding how your business fits into Google’s mobile-first strategy will be the biggest challenge in SEO this year. Narrowly focusing your strategy on smartphones over desktop without considering the preferred devices, journeys and channels of your targeted audience could be a big mistake for many marketers. Thinking about a holistic strategy over the long term is harder than it looks, particularly as we enter an era of data-driven content development. Content must be tailored to the needs of your specific audience, which includes trying different content formats.”
Professional Services Manager
“2017 is all about making time for the few initiatives that will have the biggest impact on your SEO, content and digital marketing. You’ll need to understand that content relevance is becoming the most important ranking factor in search, which means it becomes all the more important to get the basics of SEO right. Marketers need to optimize maps, images, videos and news to rank well, and they’ll increasingly need to figure out the right track between mobile and desktop, including new technology such as voice search.”
Manager Product Marketing
“Last year, over 10% of Google searches were voice searches. This number will continue to rise. And together with chatbots and digital assistants, it will fundamentally change how people interact with digital devices. Adopting the marketing mix to these changes is no small feat. The other big challenge is to bring content production to the next level. If you are in a competitive industry and want to create a new piece of content but cannot map it to a specific persona, cannot classify it as top of funnel, middle or bottom of funnel, or cannot show how it is related to your content strategy, you should not bother creating it.”
Professional Services Manager
“RankBrain and machine learning will be key themes for 2017. Google and other search engines are optimizing to understand the fundamental intent of user queries and deliver results quickly. They’re organizing answers around topics rather than keywords, which means a change in onsite content and web structure. Black-hat techniques and writing spammy/low value content will be increasingly ineffective. Mobile SEO also will offer both promise and pitfalls for marketers in the months and years ahead.”
STAY TUNED AS WE UNWRAP THE SECRETS OF SEO
We expect “Unwrapping the Secrets of SEO.” to be an ever-changing dialogue as ranking factors, technology and the face on online marketing undergoes change. And we hope that you keep us on our toes by asking the tough or unanswered questions we haven’t addressed. Stay tuned!