I’ve been doing search engine optimization since 1995 when Yahoo was the most popular search engine, so I’ve heard SEO proclaimed dead countless times during the past 20 years. But like the scene from Monty Python’s Holy Grail, SEO keeps insisting “I’m not dead yet!”
As long as people continue to use search engines, optimizing for that behavior will not go away. And last time I checked, people still search for information quite often.
The practice of search engine optimization has changed quite a bit during the past five years to adapt to how search engines themselves are evolving and how consumers’ online behavior has evolved. It has therefore become much more sophisticated during the past five years.
[Tweet “5 Factors That Have Influenced #SEO During The Past 5 Years”]
1) Social Media Influence On SEO
The rise of social media has had a great deal of influence on search engine visibility. Search engines are incorporating the signals created by people’s interaction with content (Liking, Tweeting/Retweeting, Sharing, and commenting) into their algorithms when determining how much visibility to give a given piece of content.
As a result, SEO professionals need to be fully versed in how social networks work in order to understand what signals are important, what kind of content tends to generate those signals, and be active enough on social sites to recognize opportunities to generate those types of signals.
2) Mobile’s Influence On SEO
Mobile search and geo-location are far more important aspects of search engine optimization than they were five years ago. For organizations that rely on local customers such as brick and mortar retail, optimizing their online presence for place-specific searches is crucial.
This requires SEO professionals ensure an online presence is optimized for the mobile experience so that customers are not lost due to a frustrating mobile experience.
It also requires an understanding of how to optimize local listing services such as Google’s My Business listings, Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc.
3) Video’s Influence On SEO
The demand for video content continues to grow, as well, so organizations are creating more video to satisfy that demand. YouTube is not only the go-to source for video content, it is also the second-largest search engine behind only Google.
In order for an organization’s video to be discovered on YouTube or Facebook or Periscope, it must be optimized. SEO professionals, therefore, need to understand the particulars and nuances of optimizing video content to not only be discovered but to be watched, because view time is an important factor in visibility.
4) Channel-Specific SEO
Channel-specific search engine optimization. There are also channel-specific types of searches people perform such as searching for products on Amazon or mobile apps at the Google Play Store or podcasts within iTunes.
That type of optimization requires specific knowledge of the factors that influence search visibility within those channels but also an understanding of the psychology and behavior of the people who use those channels.
5) Multi-Disciplinary SEO
The future of SEO is convergence. The best search optimizing professionals understand that SEO has become a multidisciplinary profession.
SEO requires skills and expertise that take into account the entire consumer experience, from search to site. Or from social to site. Or from mobile to site.
In addition to optimizing for the search phrases people use to find content, SEO will increasingly need to take into account the experience people have once they arrive at a site:
- Does it load quickly?
- Is the content relevant and compelling enough for them to consume it all?
- Is the content share-worthy and easy to share?
- Does it prompt them to take action?
SEO Within Context
SEO is not dead.
It is very much a viable marketing discipline. It is not being replaced but it cannot live in a silo.
The best search engine optimization is conducted within the context of an overall communications strategy and takes into account all the tactics employed in that strategy.
For example, we stress to our public relations clients that even offline activity such as being cited in a newspaper or magazine article or being interviewed on the radio or television can influence search results.
For that reason, we will specifically optimize content to be found after people use to search engines after seeing an interview with a client.
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