BY JESSICA RIDGWAY | OB WEB EDITOR
More than fifty people interested or involved in search engine marketing gathered at a SEMPDX seminar Tuesday to hear how the world of search engine optimization (SEO) is changing. Content marketing is on the rise, consumers now face multiple decisions when it comes to shopping, and Google is moving more aggressively into the SEO space, changing the way consumers and businesses utilize search engines, social media and online content.
Speaker Joe Griffin, co-CEO of the digital marketing firm iAcquire, shared his predictions for the future of SEO as it continues to evolve.
- Organic search is becoming a marketing tool. Griffin cited a Google ZMOT study identifying online search engines as the top platform for how consumers shop. According to the study, when 3,000 shoppers, both online and offline, were presented multiple channels to base shopping decisions from (TV ads, print media, word-of-mouth, online), “3,000 of the 3,000 online shoppers visited an online search engine and visited more than once.”
- SEO will be used as market research tool. For example, brands are understanding and using search engines to research their audience. “Organic search is a channel that touches every marketing medium,” said Griffin.
- Links: Search engines are moving away from analyzing website popularity (and other metrics) based on how many pages link to that site.
- In its place, “People Pagerank,” as Griffin calls it, or digital authorship is on the rise. Google Authorship through Google+ allows a person to link content (video, images, written) they have published on a specific domain (like OregonBusiness.com) to their own Google+ profile, which serves as a “digital signature” for searchable content.
- Google has patented “AgentRank,” which is a ranking system based on where a digital author’s content has branched out on the web. According to Griffin, Google has announced that AgentRank could be used in the future to show only the “most important” authors first in search engine result pages.
- Google is becoming the next data aggregator; they now collect information from multiple public databases, Griffin uses flight searches as an example—instead of clicking multiple airline websites to find flights to Phoenix, just ask Google. This will aid consumers efficiently, but may be a problem for SEO.
- Online reviews will matter more in 2014. Google Places now collects business reviews. Griffin describes it as “scraping reviews” from Yelp, SuperPages, YellowPages, etc., acting like a “review aggregator,” which could negatively impact a businesses’ reputation or remove a business entirely from a search engine results page.
- Today Google can track your location and personalize your search results based on your preferences and search history. Their next move? Griffin predicts a world where Google will stream personalized information directly to you, possibly through Google Glass, depending on your location and connections.