To the casual observer, a Google search engine results page (SERP) might not seem too exciting. But to digital marketers, SERPs are the battlegrounds of competing companies trying to outrank their rivals. Within the marketing industry, search engine optimization expertise has been on the rise. Companies are realizing the power of building their websites accordingly to have the greatest reach to potential customers.
That is exactly why 1,500 digital marketers gathered in Seattle last week at Mozcon. Hosted by Moz, a company specializing in SEO expertise, the conference was dominated by experts providing insights on where the industry was headed. Here are some high points from the conference:
- Disrupt Yourself – To quote Facebook’s handbook given to new employees: “If we don’t create the thing that kills Facebook, someone else will.” Nothing lasts forever on the internet, and it’s up to you to challenge yourself to stay relevant. Our CMO, Matt Klein, talks about this as well in his last post on True North.
- Hyper-Target Audiences – The cat is out of the bag that advertising on social media works, and marketers are getting really good at it. No longer are people simply being targeted by their gender or geographic location. Now marketers can target people who eat at Olive Garden or who attend Taylor Swift concerts. Companies are finding more and more success in locating their precise target markets and hitting them hard.
- Personalize Everything – Marketers realize they can be more effective if they create customized experiences for different users. As Cara Harshman put it, “The one-size-fits-all web is dead.” In order to have higher conversion rates, look for companies to personalize everything from user experiences to email nurture campaigns with dynamic content.
- SERP Landscapes are Changing – Gone are the days of 10 organic results showing up on the SERP with nothing else. Google is creating different vehicles to surface results. Between knowledge cards, news results, video players and of course paid advertising, the real estate assigned to organic results on a Google SERP is shrinking.
- Optimize for the Future –Aside from being a rock star in the SEO world (and who wouldn’t be with his killer beard), Moz founder Rand Fishkin, has been studying the Google search algorithm his whole career. According to him, Google is shifting from focusing on inputs such as keywords and user experience to outputs like click through rate and social amplification. In other words, your website’s backend SEO will remain relevant, but user engagement will begin to drive more and more traffic.
- (Quality) Content is King – No surprise here. The need for high-quality content has never been more important in terms of SEO. Many of the speakers at Mozcon discussed this topic, and the biggest takeaway was having a strategy for your content. Are you developing content with a target audience in mind, with specific channels to amplify, in a way that will actively engage, with key performance indicators to define success? Or are you just throwing something up on a page to check a box?
I won’t say that these points are absolutely necessary in order to have success in the digital space, but you should be raising an eyebrow if your organization is moving in the opposite direction. Don’t get too comfortable either, as the rules are changing all the time – probably faster than I can grow a beard like Rand.