As brands contend with the ever-changing nature of the search landscape, the hunt for visibility is at the core of the current trends in both organic and paid search marketing. These are my picks for the top three search marketing trends that brands need to be aware of – and what they mean for your business.
- Google’s getting to the root of which sites best serve users
When it comes to search engine optimization, Google has enhanced its ability to understand not only a site’s design but a site’s content, and it relies on this information when it comes to positioning sites in search rankings. Google’s knowledge allows it to see how websites factor into a searcher’s journey and to know which sites leave users looking elsewhere. Sites that successfully satisfy searchers’ needs are being given priority over those with more superficial content that leave the searcher wanting more.
The Takeaway: For your business’ site, really think about how you keep your customers coming back. Provide value for the return need and not just the immediate need. Take the time to develop good content with purpose. Creating content for content’s sake – an all-too-common practice – will lead to a poor overall experience. Search engines and users consider your site a critical brand experience. Develop and publish content that extends the experience your brand wishes to provide.
- Distinguishing a brand requires content optimized for both search and social
It certainly is not a new trend that brands benefit from making themselves visible via a variety of online social media platforms. Your content only becomes valuable when it gets discovered, and on today’s Internet, content needs to travel well across search and social. (Case in point: Google recently announcing that tweets will start showing up in its search results.) It’s important to keep current with how the features available to help make connections using social media are continually being enhanced. In the vast sea of socially-shared content, developing creative methods for a brand to talk to its audience in unique ways is the key to earning visibility.
The Takeaway: Social media provides brands opportunities to tailor their messaging to their audiences and the type of interactions happening on that site. By tailoring this message to each social media entity, brands also expand the visibility of their content by using variations of possible customer search queries. Looking at Twitter, for example, writing tweets to be consumed by that short and sweet audience and digested on the search results page is necessary to be most effective.
- Pay-per-click advertising needs to be part of a unified, omni-channel brand experience and not a standalone endeavor
Search advertising will maintain its position as a revenue-driving medium for brands that use it strategically. Brands that fully integrate their various online and offline marketing channels will see the most success by boosting their visibility across the board. Smart targeting allows budgets to be optimized, freeing up resources that can be reallocated into developing content that helps brands reach for new audiences.
The Takeaway: Create content that works in-sync with your search advertising to provide your audience with a uniform experience, cross-multiplying your content effectiveness from ads to website to social.
The common thread weaving through these trends is the need to meet consumers’ current desires and expectations. Search engines are under enormous pressure to consistently provide the best and most relevant results. Whether your business is B2C or B2B, it serves both search engines and searchers well to become more discerning. Those seeking out products or services are looking for results that answer their needs and can be their resource throughout their journey. The brands that take that into account while developing content will be the ones who will succeed in search marketing.
Across industries, we see brands that are dedicating resources toward consumer satisfaction within their web presence, creating new user expectations that extend into the search space. Brands are going beyond the traditional parameters of a webpage to provide a new level of quality, informative content. Once that content exists, the task is to increase visibility. Search engines, social outlets, and search advertising are enabling a higher level of visibility for truly effective content. Now it’s up to brands to utilize that opportunity.