SEO pioneer and Moz co-founder Rand Fishkin was recently asked about the future of SEO and how SEO agencies and marketers should adjust to these changes. Rands says that SEO has changed to the point that the traditional SEO focus on generic related keywords for your products and services is becoming obsolete because of how Google now displays search results.
See below for highlights from Rand’s thoughts on the changing SEO landscape:
There is definitely this problem in the SEO space where the amount of opportunity in SEO (is lessened), because of Google entering all these business sectors and taking away of a lot of the clicks and trying to solve the searchers’ query before they ever click.
This means that you just don’t have as much opportunity to earn search clicks from this search engine anymore.
Branded Search Queries
How can we overcome that? I think the answer in SEO is pretty clear, which is the one thing that Google is not taking away from us, branded search queries. If somebody searches for StatBid or they search for Moz or they search for the North Face, that is a searcher telling Google to take me to this companies website. That’s a very very powerful undeniable signal that they want to reach your site. You’re getting 90% plus click-through rates on those.
If you can increase the number of people searching for your brand instead of drawing a smaller and smaller percentage of the people who search for outdoor jackets, because Google’s placing all these ads above the fold and trying to say these are the best outdoor jackets and having an instant answer and a featured snippet and all this type of stuff, yeah that’s that’s a big win.
Combining Classic SEO with New Stuff
I think for CMO’s and for marketing departments it’s going to be a combination of classic skill sets in SEO. First, how do we rank? How do we make sure that our site is technically optimized? How do we make sure that we’re doing good keyword research and keyword targeting? How do we create good content around all these things and solve searchers problems?
Then I think it’s also going to be some new forms of marketing that SEO’s are not generally familiar with, at least not historically. Those are things like creative that draws attention and eyeballs and interest. I think it’s a lot of storytelling. Great brands are built on the back of great storytelling and that is traditionally a big weak spot for SEO.
SEO Teams Need to Get Retooled
So yeah, I think there’s going to be a combination of new and old. That could mean that some (SEO & marketing) teams need to get retooled or new people need to be added. It could mean that agencies will have to upgrade those practices and I’ve already seen some agencies in the SEO world start to do that. I think serving existing demand is going to long-term not be as exciting as creating more demand.