We are used to SEO consisting of a clearly defined technical process: We make a broad analysis of keywords that match our target audience, we prioritize them, and we include them in our page accurate and with enough content. We also optimize the page so that it is readable and indexable, and we design navigation so that our contents are easily searchable.
And it is true, part of the SEO – technical SEO – consists of all that, but many times we overlook the essence of SEO today, and this post tries to open the mind in that strategic and practical sense.
Google has more than 200 factors that change more than 500 times a year. And the question we must ask ourselves is, what is it that really counts to make our SEO strategy really work?
It all comes down to the moment when a user searches for something in Google, begins to access different pages looking for an answer, until they stay where they are. Google knows which site has solved its problem when it detects that the user does not return to the results page to search inside another page.
And, if before competing with the other pages optimizing our site to obtain the highest ranking based on many factors, today the market has discounted that competitive advantage: almost all your competition will be sufficiently optimized and your keywords rightly chosen. So, if we cannot win in the technical SEO that they teach us so much, how do we win in that competition?
With the advent of artificial intelligence, content writers from around the world may have difficulty keeping up with their robotic manipulations. The highly advanced software could already generate a creative content based on the behavior of the viewer. This can be attributed to new developments in machine learning.
There are already many platforms for creating content. And you can also find an SEO agency in every corner. It is simply a matter of tuning these diverse platforms to produce better content at a lower cost. Although this could be bad news for content writers, agencies that require a lot of content can generate their material using Artificial Intelligence instead of hiring writers or creative copywriters.
Now Google really understand your words
First, Google understands the content. You know what you are talking about and what topics you are dealing with, how original and natural the content is, and you can interpret the content through semantic neural networks (Google RankBrain). This means that if we write the article “Apple iOS News”, if all our visitors end their search on our page instead of continuing to search in others, a user will search for “Novelties of the iphone operating system”, even without including the Keywords that contains the title (iOS and Apple), may appear in the first results. Keywords are important, but they are not everything.
And second, Google knows what is wanted. If we search for “LCD vs QLED” Google knows that we are in the research phase. If we introduce “Better QLED TVs”, we understand that we are in the exploration phase. And the query “Samsung QE55Q6F” will show results with a purchase intention. In summary, know our intention to search (Search Intent).
We said that our final goal is to solve the query of a user. Therefore, knowing that Google knows how to interpret our content semantically and accurately interprets a user’s search intention, it is clear that the task of SEO ceases to be technically in essence to become the task of identifying search intentions and achieving to solve them in a real and practical way, regardless of both the form and the content.
The Content (guided by the Customer Journey) is the King
Getting the SEO to be effective to position yourself in the top positions of Google is to really know the customer’s journey, the so-called Customer Journey.
Identifying those search intentions that our user goes through before buying our product allows us to design pages that respond exactly to the query raised in Google. If we build a blog about blockchain, it is useful, first and foremost, to ask ourselves what series of questions a user will pose from the beginning, and what the best way to answer them sequentially is.
In this case, one would ask what the blockchain is at the conceptual level, immediately afterwards it will want to know what it is for and what types there are. The road can be bifurcated according to your interests: will the user invest in cryptocurrencies? Want to know more about smart contracts and how to program them? Or will you want to know what upcoming local events are close to you on the subject?
A good SEO strategy should consider each page thinking about the intention to search, know who is targeted and in which phase the user is in a conversion process. In addition, the key to good SEO will be to anticipate the next step that the user foresees in order to satisfy all the search intentions. This way we avoid that the user must leave our page and make the query in Google and visit the competition.
This logic is already rooted in Content Marketing (or Inbound Marketing), and that is why SEO lacks sense without a good content strategy that feeds it.
In addition, once we foresee the following search intentions of our user, as in the case of the blockchain blog, in the content itself we will incorporate links when we mention key aspects to point to other pages of our site, thus feeding the curiosity of different profiles of user or interests. What it’s known as internal link building.
So far it is clear that the Content is the King. But, what if the text is too small on a mobile device? What if the page is too slow? What if I have to do too many clicks? Then we will not be offering an adequate user experience.
The sticky content will be more important
How often do you find yourself reading articles on the internet? The time you spend watching videos to learn something is probably much more than the time you spend reading an article. Let’s be honest here; it is easier to capture a concept using a video tutorial. Therefore, creative writers are very important to produce an attractive written material that makes readers stick to the material of the page, where you can include images, infographics or gif mode animations. This can even be associated with the reduction of the user’s attention capacity.
SEO is also User Experience (UX)
Let’s never forget, an effective SEO is to solve the search intention of our user, and much of the success lies in offering a simple and intuitive interface, and easy to use through interactions that allow the user to do what he wants. : browse, search, jump, share, buy.
How do we manage to design good experiences? While there are specific patterns and theory on how to design interfaces, always have to validate in each case and, again, the only way to do that is to be as close to the user as possible to know their experience and optimize the design to achieve the greater satisfaction in a dynamic of continuous improvement.
Where is SEO going?
Mobile applications are rapidly taking time and user control in general. Social networks are driving this new revolution in the way we see SEO and content. The content within a mobile application cannot be indexed by a search engine. Therefore, the development of new strategies to keep up with trends in SEO is of vital importance. Messaging applications such as Facebook and WhatsApp could even work in conjunction with search engines to create a completely new field for SEO experts.
The demand for well-written content will continue to increase. SEO will continue to be the important factor in digital marketing, but its impact could decrease when we compare the quality of the written material itself.
Moreover, SEO has received the impact of voice recognition services, which have more and more users.
Since the appearance of Siri (the iPhone voice recognition), the numbers have only increased, and we can now speak of up to 50% more iPhone users who use these services. And Google Trends also shows an important growth in the number of keywords used for this new type of searches.
How to position for voice searches
Voice search on mobile devices will change important aspects of SEO positioning. We are no longer talking about phrases formed by keywords that users enter the search engine of Google, but of ‘conversations’ that the user maintains with their devices.
We are increasingly accustomed to communicate in a more natural way with our mobile devices. Therefore, working our SEO with short-tail-keywords (short-tail keywords) is no longer the best option. This does not mean that the search for keywords has died, on the contrary, but now these keywords should be used within a more natural message, within the conversation.
Users who search by voice need an immediate and direct response. And, of course, Google gives it to them. Now your mission is to be among those results.
Work on SEO based on user questions
It is logical to think that when a user makes a query by voice, he does it by means of what are known as ‘quests-answers’. This is one of the keys that companies must take into account when positioning. Questions that begin with ‘what’, ‘how much’, ‘where’ … are the most common among voice searches, since users often use voice recognition for day-to-day consultations.
The old text searches ‘best 4-star hotels in Miami, go to the ‘question searches’: ‘What are the best four-star hotels in Miami?’ Then, your keywords should be governed by these types of questions, adapting the content to offer more direct and concise answers.
Seven-word voice searches are the best results in terms of clicks and it seems that searches will be even more specific in the future.
Including questions and their answers within your content will be a way for Google to understand that you are the correct result of the user’s search. The ideal will be to cover both types of searches: the classic ones by text and the new ones by voice.
Adapt SEO to content and search format
As you already know, Google not only offers web results (or in text), but also images, videos … That’s why it’s important that you also work with this other type of content thinking about SEO (and voice search).
For example, if a user verbally asks Google ‘Images of luxury hotels in Miami, the search engine will show you photographs directly. There you should also be if you have correctly worked your SEO positioning for the images on your website.
The same goes for Google Videos. Have you worked with video marketing for your hotel? A good badly positioned video is no guarantee of anything. Therefore, if you have made the investment, make sure that your potential guests will find your video among their searches.
At this point it is very important that you work correctly on your SEO on YouTube. Think that this network is already part of Google and that if you are well positioned internally on YouTube, you will also be on Google.
The overall vision of SEO
We see how SEO has evolved from being a purely technical task to encompassing an entire activity that depends on:
- Solid content marketing strategy,
- Successful design of the user experience,
- Complete understanding of our users and
- Create an accurate navigation sequence (or information architecture) that responds at all times to the search intentions based on the profile and interests of the users.
It has always been said that SEO is a long-distance race, and today more than ever it offers a fascinating path that forces the organization to put the user -or its client- at the center of the organization.
Methodologies such as Lean Startup or Agile work closely with customers to adequately identify their needs, validate any changes or novelties with them, and optimize the resources invested to generate maximum value in the shortest time possible.