A few short years ago, the only thing you needed to do to be found by consumers was buy a relatively expensive ad in the Yellow Pages and maybe a few ads in the local newspaper or radio station. Times have changed, but one thing hasn’t: there’s still a primary place you need to be, in order to get found by customers. That’s in the search engines’ index. Especially Google’s.
Search engine optimization has evolved from an easy game with shortcuts to a harder-earned science where only authentic, helpful businesses win. Here’s how we see the search engines changing in the very near future, and how you can take advantage.
1. Social media focus
Social forces have always driven a high percentage of marketing and advertising, especially offline. Entire agencies have been formed to focus on word-of-mouth marketing and experiential marketing that hinges on generating offline, in-person conversations. That will now shift online. Search engines will need these social cues to validate a brand’s authenticity and make search results more relevant.
A shocking percentage of sharing in social media is image-related, and search engines will certainly take notice of this. If your content has no images, it’s likely to get worse treatment than content with visual data and images (or videos). Search engines want to provide what users indicate they like, and users are indicating they like visuals.
3. Optimization consultants will focus on structure than content
Search engine optimization has run its course when it comes to fast-solution consultants who can make a Web site rise to the top of the rankings in a matter of days or hours. It’s too difficult to do that now, in most instances, and the best consultants have shifted from creating to content to instead creating solutions that help a customer create their own content and move toward a long-term approach in search engine optimization.
The consultants can keep an eye on search engine trends, while the businesses will continue to do what it does best: create content and build relationships in social media with their customers. That’s how business was once done, and how it will be done again.