With Google having a bad case of frequent hiccups, websites are see-sawing up and down in their search rankings. Business owners, caught between a rock and a hard place, are asking themselves whether SEO really can be a winning strategy in these difficult economic times.
By analyzing the process, the methodology and the sequence of involving SEO in business development, I hope to showcase the role that search engine optimization has, even in the context of frequent algorithm changes at Google and other engines, proving there will always be financial justification for SEO.
A Quick Look At Recent Shifts
It’s very likely that 2012 is the year many SEOs will look back upon as the Dark Days of their specialty. Online ecosystems changed dramatically. Reputations plummeted; shenanigans were exposed and punished; and worse, even perfectly white-hat techniques and tactics seemed to get penalized at random.
No one could understand what was happening or why.
This trend looks all set to continue (even accelerating) in the years to come. And so, it has become important to try and predict where Google is most likely to be in 2015. Quick fixes are doomed. Sure, they will help you scramble back up briefly. But in the long run, that simply won’t be enough.
It has never been more important to gaze into your crystal ball and visualize the future! There are still many good reasons to invest in SEO.
The Coming Humanness Of Technology
Google’s brilliant engineers are looking for ways to make their algorithms “think like people.” And that’s why any SEO strategy that looks to the past for learning lessons is destined to fail miserably.
The changes that are coming are irreversible, and transformational.
But this doesn’t mean we can ignore the past completely. Historical search volumes and trends continue to tell us a lot about demand. Human beings are creatures of habit. People have been consistent in their behavior, attitudes and desires — for decades, even centuries. By observing trends since 2004 in evergreen niches, you can reliably predict what’s coming… ahead of time.
And that will guide your content marketing strategy.
SEO Data Is Powerful
The role of content marketing isn’t merely to publish more content, but to attract real business to your company through it. A content production calendar that serves the predictable demand of your market will have an impact for many years to come. And that’s where tying in technology to human nature creates explosive results.
But, many business owners underestimate the value of SEO data and fail to analyze it thoroughly. SEO is no longer a cost — it is an investment. There’s a fountain of knowledge hidden within search data that can help you uncover lucrative niches and tap into areas of high demand. When you map the needs of your market and target whatever your audience already wants, you will be able to:
- Seize new opportunities
- Run effective campaigns
- Spot rich niches with high-profit potential
- Launch new products or services successfully
The data can also help limit your risk while entering new markets and segments by identifying areas of low demand, or extremely high competition.
How Can SEO Give Your Business An Edge?
The trouble, however, is that business owners carry a very different perception about SEO. Many believe in the myth and misinformation about SEO being only about consultants selling first-page rankings, building large collections of links, or fixing title tags and inserting the right keywords into their content.
That’s not what SEO is any longer. It has evolved. So what will the future look like?
I predict that audience building and Author Rank will become important elements of an SEO campaign.
Content marketing that ensures a larger reach (more readers), deeper impact (solving problems by matching visitor intent), and greater longevity (your business remains evergreen) can only be rooted in a better understanding of SEO data.
Small businesses are well-positioned to turn around quickly and incorporate changes swiftly. This speed can help new players reach market domination overnight, even with limited budgets.
A week invested in writing a great article after first researching and analyzing search volumes, trends and competition, going through Web analytics to find the best keywords that convert well, and running Adwords tests to compare conversion rates among different keywords, will practically guarantee incredible results from your content marketing.
When that article is also informative (without being a sales pitch), adopts the right tone of voice for your specific readers, offers solutions to their biggest problems (through correctly anticipating visitor intent), and delivers value while simultaneously ranking well on an authority domain in your niche, it will:
- Attract your ideal prospects in droves
- Get you more followers on social networks like Twitter and Google+
- Brand you as the go-to-guy for their needs
That’s how smart SEO can become your biggest business planning advantage in the shaky, uncertain Google-universe of 2013 and beyond — a scary, nerve-wracking environment where the tactically-minded SEO consultant of yesteryear will fade away, leaving only strategic, future-oriented experts as The Last Man Standing!
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Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.