Search engine optimization (SEO) is a funny thing. Most of us have a love-hate relationship with it and struggle to not only understand how it works but stay abreast of the constant flux in “effective” tactics. In the world of digital marketing, keeping up simply isn’t good enough — the real goal should be to stay ahead of the curve, not on it.
Every single year, we hear that SEO is either dying, dead, or the worst possible investment you can make in your business. Then, you hear about a local business who is literally getting ALL their foot traffic from being found in the organic search results on Google. What gives? What’s the real story here?
The truth is that SEO is hard, and it’s always changing — the strategies and tactics that used to work have become completely obsolete. In a world where the search engines are concerned with relevancy above all else and have machines with the ability to decipher the context of our queries, it’s no longer about beating the algorithms.
2015 was a big year for the SEO haters. With Google’s acknowledgment of their RankBrain technology and the so-called Mobilegeddon, it’s true that SEO as we knew it no longer existed. Today? It’s a strategy that absolutely must be based on relevancy, value, user experience, and ultimately understanding the context behind the query. When someone poses a question, what content do they ACTUALLY want to find? It’s not an easy question to answer but Google’s machines are doing a phenomenal job of it.
SEO in 2019
With the development of machine learning and artificial intelligence, it’s now possible for human behavior to teach these machines what is relevant for specific search terms — and this is exactly what that RankBrain technology I mentioned above was designed to do.
For example, let’s say someone does a query for “best branding agency in Calgary”. Based on the search, the user is supplied with a list of what Google feels are the most relevant results. But remember — every single query is generating new data that’s being added into the mix for consideration when making decisions. Once a search happens, what web pages were ignored? Which ones were clicked on and then immediately left? Were there any that kept the user’s attention for more than three minutes? These are questions answered by human behavior that allow the machines to determine what content is the most relevant and desirable to the person performing the search.
Providing a great user experience (UX)
There are countless small tips and strategies we could go through, but we’re going to release what we believe to be three of the most important SEO strategies of 2019 later this week. But here’s the thing — all the tips and tricks in the world won’t help you if you’re not providing a fantastic user experience. That is by far the most important element of any modern SEO strategy.
But, that doesn’t exactly give you a clear path to success. User experience touches every single aspect of the interaction. If you ask me, I’d say the best place to start is with your content. If you aren’t delivering content that is relevant, valuable, and useful to the person conducting the search, you’re dead in the water. Nothing else is going to happen aside from them hitting the back button as quickly as possible, thus showing the powers that be that you are irrelevant, insignificant, and undeserving of a place on the SERP.
If you nail your content, it’s time to think about the next steps of continuing that positive experience and ultimately achieving that conversion — because that’s what all this is about. Right?