Search engine optimization, usually considered the backbone of any successful Internet marketing effort, is changing and evolving at a rate that even the most experienced SEO consultants couldn’t expect. There are a lot of reasons for that – including increased competition and a tighter focus on search marketing itself – but the biggest culprits are local and contextual search factors.
In other words, marketers are having to pay attention to the fact that Google (based on demand from its own users) is prioritizing search results within a person’s geographical area, and figuring things like search history into the mix.
How does that actually impact you in your efforts to achieve a high search ranking and bring targeted visitors to your website? Here are a few of the most pressing consequences:
SEO isn’t just about keywords anymore – Keywords still matter, particularly on page titles and heading tags, but they don’t carry the weight they once did. That’s because Google will place a lesser-optimized site in the front of the line if it’s in the same geographic area, especially for certain types of searches (like restaurants, hotels, etc.). Locations matter, and you need to treat locations as search keywords in their own right.
Neither is it just about the “best result” – Another interesting thing about search engine optimization in 2015 and beyond is that the “best result” for one searcher might not be the ideal fit for another. That’s because Google takes things like search history, screen size, and other contextual factors into consideration when displaying results. That means it’s getting better at matching users to topics, and not just search strings to keywords.
The best SEO campaigns are tightly-focused – The implications of these ideas are as clear as they are powerful: companies need to be smarter about figuring out who their real best prospects are. The more you can narrow in on the men and women who are most likely to buy from you, the easier time you’ll have optimizing your website for Google and getting them to come to you.
Search is changing, and it’s never going to be like it was in the past. For businesses that can adapt, and make the most of both local and contextual search, the sky is the limit. For those holding on to the old “keywords and links” formula, it’s going to be a long road ahead.