Search Engine Optimization as we know it, is dead. When people think about SEO, they generally assume it is all about optimizing a website’s ranking for Google. While this type of strategy certainly worked in the past, it is quickly becoming much less relevant in today’s digital marketplace.
Nowadays, people are using all kinds of different platforms as their own personal search engine whether it be a social media platform like Pinterest or a video platform like YouTube. Because of this, it has completely changed the way website owners and marketers must address their optimization efforts. While a singular focus on Google might have sufficed in the past, that is simply no longer enough.
Nowadays, website owners must deploy a much more comprehensive marketing approach that encapsulates the new way consumers are actively using the Internet to find things they like or want. Below, we will be going over some of the primary factors that have contributed to the death of SEO as we know it and what you now need to do to achieve the same kind of success you might have in the past with a basic Google SEO implementation.
The Primary Factor Contributing To The Death Of Google SEO
1. Artificial Intelligence
Google is focusing so much on artificial intelligence which is leading to a decreased relevance in search engine traffic among all website owners. The fact is, Google directs 12% of all of its search clicks back to Alphabet-owned properties and Google now solves half of all searches without requiring a click. This is mainly because Google has deployed such efforts and resources towards developing its artificial intelligence to enhance the end-user experience. In fact, Google spent over $500 million just to purchase a London-based startup called DeepMind. This is only one of the major acquisitions they have made in recent years relative to artificial intelligence which is being used to make their search engines much more personalized and smarter.
Why Does This Matter?
The majority of people typically use search engines to get questions answered and to find products and services they might be interested in. Thus, those that are looking for answers are typically provided the answer in a short snippet or excerpt from Google without the user ever needing to click on a website link. This is likely why over 49% of all Google search traffic doesn’t actually result in a click . After all, why would a user that is looking for an answer need to click on a website that provides it when Google’s machine learning software correctly displays the answer they are looking for directly on the search results?
How Should You Combat This?
As a website owner or marketer, now is the time to transition from basic Google SEO to a much more comprehensive marketing mix that encompasses everything that consumers and web users are using to search for things and to find answers. Below, we will be going over some of the key strategies that you should look to utilize in your marketing mix to really drive more traffic and what matters the most for marketing success in the new age.
Tips To Drive More Traffic
1. A Focus On Video
For one, focusing more on video can yield excellent results because Google will not be able to leverage its A.I technology to answer queries based on your video. Instead, it will drive them towards clicking on your video. This will allow you to speak directly to and engage with your audience. Thus, by moving a lot of your content towards video, you should be able to minimize the negative impact that Google’s machine learning can have on your website traffic and you might even be able to leverage it to drive more clicks. YouTube is a platform that you should be aggressively pursuing regardless because getting videos to rank high within the search engines is much easier in comparison with written articles.
2. Don’t Focus Solely On Google
If you are making the mistake of solely focusing on Google, you need to stop right now. Google might have a large portion of the market share when it comes to search traffic, not everyone is using Google to find products, services, or even answers anymore. Nowadays, there are entire ecosystems that you could actively look to infiltrate such as Amazon and Microsoft. Many use Windows 10 PCs and use their A.I assistant Cortana and many use Amazon devices and their A.I assistant Alexa. Therefore, if you are not actively looking to optimize your content for these search engines, you are already missing out on a significant portion of Internet users. Along with this, a lot of users begin their Internet journey on their favorite social media platform whether it be Instagram, Pinterest, or even Facebook.
3. Focus On Engagement
The biggest things the newer versions of search engines are focusing on is pure engagement. The more engagement you are able to generate within various platforms and with your content, the higher you are going to rank on various platforms. Maximizing your engagement can yield tremendous results because search engines are constantly using their own machine learning software and algorithms to drive traffic to the websites and platforms with the most engagement. The more engagement you are able to generate, the more social proof or credibility in the eyes of search engines you have. Therefore, you want to look to maximize engagement in many ways. You can get your visitors to engage with your brand by building a community on YouTube. You can allow them to participate in new product launches or even product designs. You can hold contests or even public question and answer forums. Regardless of how you do it, engagement can drive traffic to your website.
4. Start A Podcast
Another excellent way to maximize traffic to your website would be to start a podcast. Podcasts are all the rage nowadays. After all, machine learning is not going to be able to provide the level of detail or provide the authority you can on a subject through a 30 minute to an hour-long podcast. Because of this, it is a great way to really create and distribute compelling content to your audience. Another good thing about a podcast is the fact that you can develop a personality on the podcast which can yield much more of an emotional connection and it can even help to maximize engagement with your website and brand.
5. You Can Leverage Leverage Twitter
Twitter is one of the best tools that you can leverage if you are looking to do anything from dominating the search engines to building up your brand’s reputation. When you search for a company or brand on Google, you are typically going to be presented with their Twitter handle/page near the top portion of the results. In fact, Google even integrates a carousel of Tweets made by the brand/company which can take up a large portion of the results page. To get this, you need to have an active Twitter account and develop a good amount of followers with good numbers in terms of engagement. You will want to engage with other Twitter users and really look to tweet out compelling content. You might even want to capitalize on popular hashtags and events that are going on to boost visibility and engagement. Even if you can’t generate the carousel, you can tell get single Tweets ranking highly within the search engines if you get the Tweet shared a lot or if it generates enough engagement. Google might even index your Tweet allowing you to leverage it long term whenever someone searches for the keyword or phrase.
Reasons You Need To Divert Attention Elsewhere
1. Selling Products
If you are a website or brand selling products, Google is no longer the King when it comes to searches. The fact is, Google might be the default search engine when it comes to searching for everything on the Internet, Amazon is quickly becoming the default search engine for products. Therefore, if you are selling a product or products, you will want to be actively pursuing Amazon SEO much more so than even Google. After all, you are targeting ready and willing buyers rather than Google traffic who might not necessarily be ready and willing to make a purchase. In fact, 90% of all product listing views are the direct result of a direct product search through Amazon’s search engine . Because Amazon makes direct compensation from organic clicks on their website, they have every incentive in the world to make it as easy as possible for a customer to purchase a product you are selling. Along with this, from the years 2015 to 2018, Amazon surpassed Google for product searches. This has ultimately made Amazon the default place for product search which is quickly taking over Google’s once dominated territory. Thus, if you are selling products at all, you will want to be focusing concerted efforts on ranking as high as possible within the Amazon search engines much more than Googles.
2. You’re Missing Out On 1/4 Of The Search Market
If you are not currently optimizing your website for Bing, you are missing out on around 1/4 of the entire search market. Bing is a very competitive search engine that is crucial for website owners to focus on largely because it presents such a good opportunity. Not only is Microsoft much more transparent about Bing’s respective ranking factors as outlined in their Webmaster guidelines, but it is a search engine where you should be able to compete much more effectively due to it having lower competition. Along with this, Windows still dominates the PC market. Because all Windows users have Cortana installed within the OS itself and because the default browser is a Microsoft offering, you would be missing out on the opportunity to rank well for the traffic that regularly uses Microsoft products and services.
3. Pinterest Is The Default Image Search Engine For Many
Pinterest is used by over 250 million people every single month and people that use Pinterest start the buying process 2 times sooner than other consumers. Therefore, if you are looking to sell products or services, Pinterest will yield excellent results. If you are not currently on Pinterest, you are already missing out on over 250 million users who likely don’t use Google the same way. It is currently the 4th most popular social media platform and it can even help you drive traffic via Google’s search engine. Essentially, Pinterest is visual SEO. Because images tend to convert traffic at a much higher rate than text, it is one of the best ways to drive significant amounts of traffic directly to your website. The better the quality of images you post, the more people you are going to be able to drive to your site. Another excellent thing about Pinterest is the ability for users to pin and save your content to come back for it later. Whereas, the same option using Google’s visual search is simply not there.
Overall, there are so many reasons you can no longer post 1,000 word heavily optimized articles targeting specific keywords and generate the results that you are looking for. Not only is Google’s search engine advancing and integrating machine learning which is stripping website owners from a lot of information based search clicks, but there are so many other search engines and social media platforms that are driving web traffic in very large amounts. Because of this, your digital focus should shift from solely implementing Google SEO to coming up with a much more comprehensive marketing mix featuring everything from heavily trafficked social media platforms to e-marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. By having a well laid out and well-executed comprehensive marketing approach, you will be able to drive more website and buying traffic to your website than ever before and lessen the negative impact Google’s machine learning can have on your organic traffic.