Overcoming SEO Challenges in 2015
By Winston Burton
- Technology and measuring KPIs
- Adapting to Google’s ever-changing Search Engine Result Pages
- Optimizing with limited data
- Increase in mobile usage
- Stronger emphasis on quality and building relationships
- Increase in video usage
Let’s start with the problem of attribution. As marketers, we look at first click and last click. In first and last click attribution models, credit is only given to one referral source for each conversion. In fact, consumers may take several steps in the attribution process. Our analytics platforms need to find a better solution to more accurately attribute which channel should get the proper credit, as all offline and online media works together to enhance performance. Second, the layout and design of SERPs have vastly changed over the last few years. This is mainly driven by Google trying to create a better mobile experience and more consistent design across devices; Google pushing down the organic listings and continuing to dominate the web; keeping you in the Google Ecosystem; and driving more paid search ads. All of this is evident by:
- The removal of Carousel and implementation of the three local expanded listings and more paid search ads taking up more real estate in the SERPs
- The growth of Google’s “In-depth Articles,” which have been consuming more real estate
- The expansion of Knowledge Graph data, which is quickly answers questions so searchers have access to answers and stay on Google longer
- The myth of adding SSL to your websites to gain a “boost” in rankings
But wait, it gets better. Google has been focusing on quality more than ever before, which is also evident by the Penguin and Panda updates, which promote more high quality content, links and supposedly provide users with better Search Engine Results. Google Pigeon has also drastically changed the way that local results are derived. [pullquote cite=”Winston Burton” type=”left”]The layout and design of SERPs have vastly changed over the last few years. This is mainly driven by Google trying to create a better mobile experience and more consistent design across devices; Google pushing down the organic listings and continuing to dominate the web; keeping you in the Google Ecosystem; and driving more paid search ads. [/pullquote]Since keyword-level data has been lost through SSL, SEOs need to rely more on paid search keywords to gain insights into keyword-level performance from a conversion and click-through-rate perspective. Our technology platforms need to save more historical data from Google Webmaster Tools so we can make more informed decisions about our organic search keyword intent-driven strategy and synergies between paid and organic search. Then there is the rapid growth of mobile which, according to Nielson, has led to 74% of mobile users using a search engine during their everyday purchasing process, with 83% wanting to make a purchase that day and 55% within the hour. With mobile being the primary platform that people are using for search, in 2015 we need to optimize the mobile experience and our clients’ mobile websites from a conversion and usability perspective, as desktop usage is steadily declining. If you don’t have a mobile strategy that loads content fast, you will miss out on an opportunity to capture and maintain your target audience. With the massive growth of video marketing and YouTube processing more than 3 billion searches a month—and expected to surpass Google to become the largest search engine in the world in 2015—a strong presence in YouTube is vital for success in 2015. With Google no longer using Freebase and moving to WikiData, marketers need to feed information to WikiData so Google can get information to power the Knowledge Graph. Marketers also need to get more serious about attribution so as to accurately credit the proper channels, rely less on rankings tools that are not personalized, allow rankings based on locations and focus more on true KPIs like traffic and conversions to drive optimal results.
Winston joined Acronym in 2014 with over ten years in search marketing. Prior to joining Acronym, Winston was the VP of SEO at Havas Media, one of the world’s top ten global ad agencies. He started the SEO practice for Havas and built the practice to include Clients such as Choice Hotels, Fidelity, Exxon, Volvo and Marc Jacobs to name a few. Winston spearheaded SEO strategy including content marketing, mobile, link building, and all technical areas of SEO. Winston’s career also included the SEO Manager role at Rosetta and time at Zeta Interactive.