In the world of marketing, there are plenty of trends for leaders to stay on top of. From PR trends that affect their branding on a larger scale to the content marketing and social media tools that affect their day-to-day communication, leaders have a lot on their plates.
I hate to be the guy who adds to your list, but if SEO isn’t also on your radar, you could be missing out on serious opportunities. Thankfully, Moz CEO Sarah Bird shared lots of valuable insights on the future of SEO at this year’s MozCon. My team rounded up a few of the biggest trends she highlighted and spoke with other experts in attendance to learn more about how SEO and content will affect brands’ marketing; here are six trends in SEO you need to know about:
1. Search is taking on new and different formats.Most marketers tend to think of search as it relates to audiences typing queries into search engines, but that’s changing. You can now speak directly to Alexa or Google Home and search using your own voice in your own words. Not only is this exciting for us as humans, but it ’ s also pushing the industry to learn more about its consumers and exactly what they want.
People are searching more than ever, probably because they have more ways to perform those searches. It’s your job as a leader and marketer to figure out how to influence search results on these different platforms and formats.That comes down to getting into your audience members’ heads, understanding who they are, and delivering what they want — only then can you start to unlock the analytical and creative processes of optimizing for search.
2. New formats mean new opportunities — but not all will translate into dollars for your brand right away.This increase in search — and ways to search — doesn ’ t necessarily mean you ’ re going to be able to capitalize on it commercially. Think of recipes, for example: People could be using Alexa to search certain recipes as they prepare dinner, but showing up as a result there probably won ’ t translate into dollars for your brand every time. Some formats and types of searches reveal purchase intent, and others don ’ t; this change in search trends just reinforces how important it is for marketers to understand those differences and create and optimize accordingly.
3. Paid search is SEO’s biggest competitor for marketing dollars.
Despite the fact that people tend to scroll straight to organic results on search engine results pages, the paid ads industry is still huge, making pay-per-click one of the biggest competitors for would-be SEO dollars. Sure, PPC can be a great way to test your organic strategy or boost your high-performing organic efforts, but building out your organic SEO efforts is a more effective long-term strategy. Eventually, we’ll see more and more dollars funneled into marketers’ organic search efforts, but a lack of patience is keeping this from happening sooner.
4. Marketers have to remember the long-term benefits of their search strategies.When marketers start making search a priority, it’s not uncommon to see them focus on short-term wins — early signs that things are going well — before they spend a lot of money on tactics that aren’t getting them much closer to their goals. The thing about search is that the biggest benefits typically aren’t visible right away.
Paying to play in the short term is fine to get started, but you have to build your long-term content marketing strategy to create a foundation for your brand and your audience over time. SEO is more of a brand-building and authority-boosting tool than a strict transaction. It doesn’t help that many times, marketers are incentivized to think in the short term, like through monthly or quarterly goals, instead of one to three years down the road. If you put in the time and budget to do it right, it should land you future sales calls, not just sales calls today. Marketers and content creators would do well to remember the big picture as they execute individual search tactics.
5. Content marketing is in a great spot for the future of search.
According to Matthew Edgar, co-owner of Elementive, one of the classic functions of SEO is shifting. In the past, marketers relied on search engines to drive traffic to their sites — but with Google now displaying content on SERPs instead of directing users away from the page and to new sites, this is starting to change.
Google wants to give users as much information and content as possible on SERPs directly instead of forcing them to navigate to and from different sites. This is a powerful reminder for marketers that content marketing must be truly valuable, educational, and engaging to readers, not simply designed to get people to a specific site.
And when people do land on your site — whether they’re coming from a Google search or elsewhere — you’ve got to make sure you’re delivering a meaningful experience with high-quality content. That’s how search engines will know your content is worth ranking or displaying in the first place.
6. The fundamentals behind search will guide marketers through these trends.
Heather Physioc, director of organic search at VML, noted that while the formats of the content we create and how we optimize that content will continue to evolve, the fundamentals will remain the same. Some of the biggest changes we’ve seen have come in how people perform searches, from searches on Ask Jeeves from a desktop computer to mobile and voice searches today. There are dozens of places to search for and consume content, but at the heart of it all is exceptional content.
I get it — keeping up with trends in SEO and actually executing a strategy that generates the kind of results you’re after is challenging. But it’s well worth the effort. It helps you build your brand, attract and engage your audience, and generate leads, sales, and opportunities. Start with these trends, and make SEO a priority for your team. If you don’t, I promise your competitors will.
Original thinking in the business world can be of great help, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn from others. Remember the old saying, keep your friends close and your enemies closer? Well, this may sound sneaky, but learning how your competitors do their Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can…
Original thinking in the business world can be of great help, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn from others. Remember the old saying, keep your friends close and your enemies closer? Well, this may sound sneaky, but learning how your competitors do their Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can really teach you a lot on how you can structure your marketing strategy.
Your competition is one of the obstacles your business will have to face in order to be successful. Keep in mind that in the world of SEO and digital marketing, there’s ideally no one closer to you than your competitors. In this case, why would you overlook learning about them when developing your strategy? You can find a wealth of information and achieve a competitive advantage by simply researching and analyzing your competition.
1. Identify your Real Competitors
When finding your real competition, I recommend that you include any website or company that you compete with for web visibility and traffic, regardless of whether you are selling the same product or not. A comprehensive competitive analysis is not a small task, but it will be worth it. Aim at making a list of around five to 10 competitors in your geographical location and your industry. Here is how I went about finding my top competitors:
- Use industry keywords to look for businesses similar to your on the major search engines
- Set up a Google Alerts to ensure you receive all the necessary updates on your competing products/services, and even keep up with industry news
- Find more competitors in your niche via associations’ member directories
2. Determine the Keywords You Compete For
Once you have determine your competition, it’s now time to analyze the keywords, including the long-tail keywords that you are competing for. You can actually begin analyzing who ranks for the same terms. The Google Keyword Planner tool is what I used for this, where you just enter the competitors URL and the tool will show you the keywords related to the topics and content on their website. You can even identify the level of competition and keyword volume with this tool.
3. Explore their Content Marketing
To improve your rankings enhance your brand awareness, and increase your organic traffic, you have to produce high-quality content regularly and consistently. This is one of the most effective tools in Search Engine Optimization, and gaining more leads. You can learn from the pitfalls of your competition, as well as from their strengths. Check how often they post, the quality of their content, whether they share on social media, and assess the number of views.
4. Social Media Behavior
What social media platforms do your competitors use? What kind of content do they post there? Are there any links to videos, articles, or infographics? Do they use keywords on their social media posts? Have a look at the groups they interact with and how they do it.
Some of the best information about your competitors you will find in blog comments. Comb through the comments you find and find out what the audience is saying. Work with the information you find to improve your product, so that it has everything the audience really want.
6. Product Analysis
Do a comprehensive analysis on the products they offer and find loopholes in the development where possible, this way, you will find features you can include in the products you offer. Or you can combine you expertise in their product, put an effective spin on it, and sell it at a competitive price.
7. User Experience
With online marketing, we are transitioning into the responsive formats to provide a consistent experience on all devices and screen types. The insurgence of mobile marketing means that user experience will still be key in customer satisfaction. Find out what your competitors are doing, so that you can keep up as the technology advances.
Before you start on your link building strategies, it pays to scope out what the competition is doing. You can find some potential link opportunities for your website. Use your detective skills to find out more about their high-authority backlinks, distinguish between spam and quality links, and to identify potential backlink sources.
9. Conversion Techniques
Some businesses utilize lead magnets or provide their audience with free offers to entice them to sign into their mailing lists. The kind of enticements and lead magnets they are using can provide you with an insight on exactly what you can do to increase the value of your offering, and therefore gain more leads.
10. Local SEO
It’s important to note the Search Engine Optimization efforts of your competitors in your local landscape, especially if you operate from a physical location. Find out if your competition has updated their local profiles in the popular online directories. Look for consistency in the contact information on their profiles and on their website, how well they have utilized their profile features, and if they bother to interact with local reviewers. I actually Created an ebook on this late 2016 of last year titled: Master Guide: To Dominating Your Competition in Local SEO.
This ebook is free and packed with strategies that are still current with resources for local SEO, along with how to overtake your competition!
Now that you have gained some valuable information about the Search Engine Optimization strategies your competition, get started! You are now at a better position to enhance your online presence, and to outshine them all.