2016 – The SEO Year to Come

I was just rereading this post – 5 Essential SEO Techniques To Master In 2015 and reflecting on what the year to come may hold for the SEO industry.

There’s a key quote on this article which needs to be remembered and frequently gets lost in the more advanced technical based conversations the SEO industry loves to get involved in:

“Search engine optimization should be a part of a website for its lifetime, continuously improving its ability to make a brand (and its content) be more visible and to create a better experience for users.”

SEO is essentially about improving accessibility and refining relevance – matching a business / enterprises goals (reasons for existence) with an audience to whom those are goals are relevant. As the industry matures this is more important than ever, and is at the heart of relevant content creation matched with structural accessibility being the fundamental principles for SEO in 2016.

My personal view is that 2016 will also continue to see further growth in video optimisation both within Google (utilising YouTube  placement) and within YouTube itself. With investment in both and short and long form video content growing exponentially there will be even more focus on ensuring syndication and visibility in terms of holding marketing budgets to account.

 

Google Smart Goals

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An interesting development – Smart Goals for integration between GA and Adwords.

It’s not explained well by the Google at all but essentially it means they will give smaller advertisers something to optimise against when there is no active conversion point. Quite a canny move considering that for many small businesses the barrier to ongoing Adwords usage (and PPC across the board) is a lack of certainty about when the activity is actually driving outside of visit / session data.

Read the full article on Google Smart Goals

Why digital strategy equals customer experience

An organisation’s digital strategy ultimately needs to come back to customer experience and the journey from awareness to advocacy, RSPCA’s former digital chief claims.

Speaking at the Chief Digital Officer Forum in Sydney this month, former RSPCA chief digital officer and now head of marketing and digital for Smartclinics, Christian Bowman, pointed to the raft of synergies between customer experience strategy and digital strategy.

For example, both are data and sales driven, and need to be driven by the user experience, he said.

“Whether it’s the research side, observation side, design phase or advocacy, both are one and the same thing,” he said. Bowman also noted customer journey mapping is increasingly being used in the digital space to help understand the program of work needed to be undertaken inside an organisation.

In addition, customer and digital teams are analytics obsessed, technology enabled and great communicators, he said.

One of the challenges around digital strategy, however, has been where it should reside within an organisation and who takes leadership responsibility for it.

“I’m sure many have been through that battle of where digital strategy should sit in terms of different departments, such as the planning department, technology or in marketing,” Bowman said.

“Some organisations have brought in a chief digital officer to remove this noise and to attain leadership around developing a transformation strategy and really, to get some work done.”

But there is a risk there are too many chiefs in the boardroom, Bowman said.

“There’s the CIO, CEO, CFO, CMO, CDO – but someone behind the scenes has an important part to play in terms of where the adoption of technology is going,” he said. “Rather than a battle, let’s focus on what we can learn from each other.”

“And ultimately it comes down to customer experience – from awareness to advocacy.”

In a separate panel debate during the event, Bowman in fact suggested chief digital officers would eventually make themselves redundant as digital is naturally diffused back into every aspect of the business.

In the meantime, though, there is still plenty of work to be done on getting organisations attuned to what digital means for their business. Bowman pointed to the misalignment between company vision and the purpose for digital as another major barrier to digital transformation success, something he again brought back to customer values.

“If your organisation is not customer centric, or have a purpose that doesn’t align to where your market is heading, you’re going to run into barriers,” he said.

“If you want to change your approach and adoption of digital, you will need to ensure that purpose and vision is in line. That’s a real challenge if you don’t have an executive advocating for digital strategy. But if you can get a clear customer-focused vision, as well as a vision for the future…then you have something to work towards. And if you get that right, all decision making can be relevant.”

Read the full article