Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has been such a significant element of marketing and content strategy over the last few years, and understandably so. We need our websites, video and collateral to show up in front of our audience as frequently as they are searching for it, to build brand awareness and get those precious conversions.
But are we getting too accustomed to ‘the way we have always done it’, and failing to pay attention to how our customers are searching now? The whole scene is changing right underneath us.
As a professional copywriter and marketer, I wanted to bring some of these SEO changes to light to ensure that you are evolving alongside your audience, so that your organisation has the right approach to driving the results you deserve.
Searching, Searching, Searching.
One of the most essential things to consider first and foremost is that SEARCH itself is changing. We commonly think of SEO as “Search Engine” only, but it’s time to re-focus on just ‘search’ as a stand-alone element now.
Previously, the strategy was to produce content that was catered to straightforward engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. But the way people are now starting to search is changing the entire landscape. Everywhere you look, your customer is taking advantage of new technology such as Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, voice communication and audible files. This means that your audience’s concept of “search” is organically shifting toward what suits their needs better.
Is your business taking notice?
Platforms such as YouTube, Amazon, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Play and Apple iTunes are hot on Google’s heels for the most popular way for people to find the content they want. This was initially a strange thing for me to understand, as I (like most Marketers) was under the impression that everyone just ‘Googled’ everything. However, this is definitely not the case anymore.
YouTube is absolutely massive for people looking for intriguing content, which is served up in the very popular video format. Our audiences love searching for ‘how to’ videos and the like, in order to better inform them about purchasing decisions. Similarly, Amazon provides a tonne of product-specific information from a range of items from a variety of different suppliers, providing a single platform where people feel comfortable to find all that they need comfortably.
I probably don’t have to tell you how many people now default straight to Facebook or LinkedIn today for articles, news and anything else they want on demand. These social media platforms are slowly but surely becoming predominate players in servicing people’s desires right where they are actively looking.
Google Play and Apple iTunes are also popular because they are delivering content right to our smart devices in the form of eBooks, podcasts, eZines, music and so on. This means people are looking directly to these wide range of platforms for whatever they need on the go.
The point is, if SEO is part of your organisation’s plan (which it should be), then you can no longer solely focus on pleasing Google, as your customers are dispersing all over the digital landscape now.
Optimisation, However, Remains As Crucial As Ever
This is the element of SEO that remains the same. As content creators, we must always be structuring and delivering materials to the above popular engines in a way that they are able to locate, understand and distribute it to our audience segments at the right times to engage interest and encourage behaviour consistent with our call to action message.
Fortunately, most of the factors each platform’s algorithm considers when ranking searches are similar, as they are all designed for maximum user convenience and service. So, as long as you are doing the basics correctly, your content will appear in front of people searching for corresponding key words.
SEO Is Still Alive: Organic Content Is Still King
I have heard a few people say “SEO is dead now. It’s all about the adwords and paid boosted posts.”
If you’re thinking this, you’re making a critical mistake. Organic content SEO is still absolutely essential and is actually becoming more important than ever before.
It’s easy to BELIEVE the above statement about paid adverts, as these platforms jam our content right at the top of our customer's search results, then feed us pages of tracking statistics as proof; but take a second to think about the reality.
For one, people are starting to ignore the paid adverts on the top of Google searches now, and downloading advert blockers to get around it altogether, which means that organic elements of your content are the only part of your approach actually getting seen. It makes sense after all- customers are turning away from heavy selling campaigns that force them to think a certain way, and favouring content that presents information and empowers them to make their own decisions. Organic traffic meets this demand perfectly, and is therefore more trusted by people.
How To Get With The SEO Times: The Three Steps
Here are three easy steps that will help you maintain a smart, consistent SEO practise which delivers reliable results now and into the future.
(1) YOUR WEBSITE
I always say in my Digital Marketing classes: “Your website is the only digital asset that you truly own, and it needs to be fighting strongly for you at all times.”
When your business uses other platforms like social media, you are ‘leasing’ that space and therefore have to play by their rules. However, your website is your property and your rules, so setting it up to be SEO compliant will ensure that your ideal ‘home base’ is being shown to your audience most frequently.
Things like a quick load time, mobile responsiveness, being safe and secure, well-coded, and of course, filled with relevant, highly engaging and informative content that maximises user experience are all very important for keeping your website a search favourite. After all, as a copywriter, I would know!
Just ensure that everything on each page offers a great experience, so that search engines and portals are rewarding you with higher rankings and visitors for people to enjoy.
(2) FOCUS ON YOUR AUDIENCE
It’s so surprising that I need to keep telling Marketers and Copywriters this over and over again: it starts and ends with your audience. Customer, customer, customer!
Remember, you are producing content solely for them, so why do organisations always seem to forget this? They frequently write for the audience to take heed of their content, but that’s not how it works- it’s the wrong way around. What does work is listening to them and then producing information that answers their needs. See the difference?
Take the time to dive into the Internet and research what topics your segments are discussing at the moment, when they are looking, where they are searching, and what they actually want. Build your content around this. When you truly understand how your ideal audience relates to your topics, and what kinds of questions they need answers for, you have the knowledge you need to create titles, subject lines, and body content that will be relevant for a wide variety of different contexts.
(3) ENGINE DIVERSIFICATION
As mentioned above, your customers’ attention is spread over many platforms, so it’s time to let go of the way you ‘have always done it’ and perhaps consider where your customer actually is. Take the time to create podcasts for Apple and Google users as a way to communicate to them on the go, or perhaps create video content for YouTube out of the information from your blogs to reach the people who may not like reading but love video.
You don’t have to panic! Start small, with short videos or podcasts as an experiment, and if they start to find success, expand in those areas. If your customers are responding, then it’s worth spending more resources in those mediums.
The same SEO rules apply, such as writing appealing titles, using the right key words and filling the video descriptions with the right information for YouTube’s algorithm to find and serve your videos to the right people.
What SEO Changes Do You Need To Make?
I hope this quick summary helped you better appreciate SEO’s changing face and then take a fresh new look at the way your organisation is currently doing things. Perhaps you just need to refresh your methods to continue to improve on your digital results.
What do you think? Leave your comments, below and join the conversation!
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You’re time poor and spread thin, and writing isn’t your expertise. So, focus on what really matters, while we take care of all of your copywriting and content marketing needs!
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