Search engine optimization strategies appear to constantly change shape. It's very easy for marketers to get bogged down in the mindset that search engine algorithms are the most important aspect of developing a digital marketing plan. However, that's not always the best approach figuring out which keywords will be the most effective to drive traffic to a company's website. Increasingly, Google and Yahoo are rewarding those that take user experience into account (1), enabling buyers in their search for information by using terms that are relevant and to the point.
Keeping marketers on their toes
This year, evolutions in SEO continue, with the online marketing currents changing in favor of strategies that support a more organic approach. What this likely means is that marketers will have to consider the ways in which buyers seek out content through the various search engines.
Think about the Web before search engines. Buyers had to know the precise website address if they wanted to avoid seeing a 404 error message until the end of time. Search engines evolved to solve this problem and provide users with a more agile way to find information. It rapidly became competitive space for companies that provide similar solutions, which meant there had to be a way to separate trustworthy, relevant and authoritative sites from the rest. In many cases, the companies that focus on the needs of their audience have been able to perform well, and this should remain the case in 2015.
At the same time, a couple of the key considerations of Google's Hummingbird algorithm that will play a more important role in SEO for 2015 are semantic search and natural language processing.
A high-level approach to keywords
What does semantic search mean for a business and its marketing strategy? In the broadest terms, it signifies that companies will have to look at the connection between content topics, keywords, variations of search terms and the intentions of buyers using search engines (2). It's a complicated scenario that marketers find themselves involved in. A company must be able use its keywords and content to reflect its brand. This also involves building domain authority through the content published on the website.
One way that companies can move toward a semantic search approach is by taking a holistic view of all the content they've ever posted. Instead of looking at the keywords used on an individual page, marketers can understand the large-scale trends on their domain to recognize where they've established authority and if they need more content on a specific issue. It's possible to post about similar topics as long as the quality remains at a high level and users find the content useful.