Business’ that want to be successful in the digital space know that they need to stand out if they are to increase traffic, market share and revenue. Traditionally, companies have hired experts who use data and analytics to help them achieve this goal and increase ROI from search engine optimisation (SEO).
However, this state of affairs has undergone a sea of change in recent times. Search engines, most importantly Google, are encrypting keywords and making changes to search algorithms, without divulging these changes to the public, of course, in their bid to reduce artificial manipulation or “gaming” of the system. Added to this, Google SSL search is now the default for Firefox, Chrome and Safari, which has reduced content insights because publisher analytic systems have lost a considerable amount of keyword data.
Regular SEO tactics, such as keywords in the title, URL and using backlinks to self-manipulate page rankings are therefore becoming increasingly futile. (And sometimes even dangerous – if you are found to be link spamming, you could have your site removed completely from a search engine’s index.) Many are looking on helplessly while their website’s rankings plummet. If the only data there is to work with are murky, ever-changing theories and outdated information, digitally savvy companies, webmasters and online marketers will start to see that SEO is the area over which they have the least control, and spend less time and money on it.
Of course, SEO is still something that needs to be done, but it’s become a basic requirement rather than a fruitful strategy. You need to do much more to stay relevant. Searchmetrics recently revealed that tweets, Pinterest shares, Google +’s and Facebook comments, shares and likes are the biggest contributors to higher rankings on search engine results. For this reason, it’s never been more important to have funny, entertaining or useful content, which is targeted at your users. Make sure you know who you’re writing for, and imagine what your ideal client would like to read. Quality, user-targeted content, links and social media will be, without a doubt, the most fruitful sources of referral traffic in 2013 and beyond, so it’s time to capitalise on them.