In order to see where we are going and what is happening next with SEO, we need to understand where we started and where we’ve been. We used to have a single focus and a one-track mind and that was our obsession with keywords. We found ourselves spending countless hours researching, tracking, and applying hundreds of thousands of keywords to our websites. We did this not only on the webpages themselves, but wherever we could (or couldn’t) find the space to fit them. This included making the most of technical elements like titles tags and meta descriptions.
This was what we did. We loved it. We were obsessed with it. We did this as long as we possibly could, until it no longer worked. Everyone started doing it, and therefore the competition grew.
Where Is My Audience?
Have there been any changes to where they are and how they search? The answer is yes, because search engines have changed.
People are still searching, but they are finding other things. Sources like Yelp tend to show up for a location-based query, while Facebook, Twitter, and Glassdoor show up for brand-related queries. Those are huge websites and they are rewarded for all of the content and resources that they provide to users. News sites and other media pages tend to appear for any events or product reviews that you may be looking for. With YouTube being the second highest search engine on the internet today, more queries are performed on there on any given day than Bing and Yahoo combined.
The solution to the new landscape of SEO is pretty simple – Be Everywhere!
We live on the social web today, and a social audience trusts their peers, reviews, and news media more than they trust anything you could ever say about yourself on your website. You need to join existing communities and organically nurture your customers wherever they are. Don’t expect them to come to you. It’s great if they do, but go to where they are, and reach them on their terms.