So... what is SEO?
The industry term SEO - or Search Engine Optimization - is thrown around all the time.
Usually it's part of a series of jargon-y words that are not commonly understood. In the past, SEO has focused on manipulating Google behind the scenes. Now, Google is less focused on behind the scenes, and more focused on the content of your site.
How has Google changed the game?
Google has some of the most brilliant minds in the country working for them (full disclosure: my sister-in-law works there, so I am thoroughly biased in that direction.) But we can all agree: Google is ubiquitous. They're everywhere, like it or not, and their reach is only getting further and smarter.
When's the last time you used the Yellow Pages?
When people want to find something, the shift has been made - very few people let their fingers do the walking. Just Google what you need to know, and the info is there. So just in the way that businesses used to advertise in the yellow pages, advertising dollars have shifted, and businesses have shifted their focus to being found online.
Yesterday's Yellow Pages categories are today's keywords.
You want to be found online so people can call you (or find your address) and buy from you. If you're a dentist, for example, in years past it was desirable to be listed under "dentistry" "Dentists" "restorative dentistry" and maybe even "dentures." You can think of all of those as search terms now. You want to be found on Google if someone types in "dentist" or restorative dentistry."
How does this apply to your business?
SEO has undergone a shift. Used to be that changing a few things here and there in the back end of your site would help you get found online. Google is getting smarter to the games that the very first SEO people were playing. Now as a result, we are seeing the shift happening toward great content. Google is reading sites, listening to sound clips, watching videos, doing user testing, and is getting more sophisticated about what is ACTUALLY on your site. Google wants to return a high quality result when a user searches for a term. So they are working harder to make sure the sites that they serve up are high quality sites that are highly relevant to your search. This means you need to work harder to make sure you have a site with fresh, and relevant content.
Relevant and Fresh Content
What makes a high quality site? In marketing, creating relevant experiences for your target audience has always been the best way to capture customers. That means creating compelling and relevant content that speaks directly to your target audience.
What can you do?
The changing face of SEO is just one of the trends that we've been tracking for 2014. If you're curious - see your Marketing future! Download my free eBook on more industry trends for the upcoming year. I predict... you'll like it.
Photo Credit funnls.com