In 2015, Google projects it will receive more than 12 billion search queries a month in the US alone. 12 billion! That number has doubled in just 7 short years, up from 6 billion in 2008. And as you probably know, the majority of these searches happen on a mobile phone. Google recently reported (May 2015), there are now more mobile searches than Desktop searches in the US. There is no denying that natural search or SEO has become an intensely complex space, particularly as search engines are really becoming “answer engines.”
How are marketers to respond to all of this user intent, and interact with consumers in a meaningful way? The mission remains the same: Create engaging mobile-first sites, optimize on every search engine, consider more than just search engines (i.e., the Yelp app) and deliver content that not only resonates with the individual user’s unique situation, but also converts that user from an interested party to a purchasing consumer.
We should all be asking these questions: Who is that user? How are we reaching them? And, are we answering their questions efficiently and with added value? The reality is that if we’re not, the competition probably is.
So, how does this work in practice? Well, the main driver of SEO is CONTENT. Content is an integral and essential component of any SEO campaign, as it establishes topics and themes aligned with a brand while also providing mobile and desktop consumers with an experience that should ultimately drive them to take a desired action. Content can and should include a good search engine strategy, a good local strategy and a good user experience. Content can include voice search answers, typed search answers and social search answers.
Let’s take mobile searchers as an example. They could be searching for a location, or searching for a location and sharing that info with a friend, or searching for a location while watching a video about your business. Is their experience mobile-first, locally driven, and confirmed by social influence?
Let’s take a look at how a content focused SEO strategy plays out in three critical categories:
Google has really sounded the horn on how important they think mobile is, so having an adaptive and/or responsive mobile-first web strategy is critical for your SEO on every platform. Since the majority of searches are done on mobile, the user experience should be as seamless and valuable as possible for the consumer on the receiving end. Also, with recent Google updates to Natural Mobile search rankings, it behooves any business to strongly consider mobile user experience or face penalties from Google for not doing so.
Make sure you’re on the map on every search engine – Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. It’s important to optimize your local site management and content feed for mobile search, desktop search and apps like YELP. The YELP app is basically another search engine! When someone searches for “Jenny Craig in Mission Valley San Diego,” it’s important for the local page to pop-up in the results. Nothing is more frustrating than being redirected to a store locator or a large business’ main site.
Also, develop a micro-strategy for creating and optimizing local content. Are other local sites linking to you? Do you have neighborhood pages? Do you have zip code pages? These are all things to consider and prioritize.
Social has more and more impact on a brand’s overall SEO, and it will only grow as the search engines learn how to crawl and index social media providers.
For example, Google is now indexing Twitter results and real time tweets, related to search queries. This can have a far reaching impact on brand reputation, as live content can be indexed and influence users. Facebook is testing its own in-app content search engine, a possible threat to Google. Bottom line, SEO is not just page optimization, its content, app, and page adaptation based on user device, location, and need.