What’s in Store for SEO in 2017?

As the times change, so too does the face of SEO. In 2017 we saw the rise of better content marketing, changes in how Google displays search results, but what changes will we see in 2018? In this article we are here to break down a few new SEO trends and what we think it means for the future of SEO.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasingly being used in a number of different technological applications. With a new year just underway, what new applications could AI have in the world of SEO and content marketing?

What is AI?

Artificial Intelligence can be difficult to define, but it is really just a branch of computer science that attempts to build machines that are capable of intelligent behavior, including learning. AI includes machine learning, smart robotics, autonomous vehicles, and much more. Machine learning, which happens to be the area that is most heavily invested in, focuses on programming computers to learn to prevent the need to reprogram them in the future.

One of the most common types of AI being used today are virtual personal assistants such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home.

How Will AI Help with Content Marketing and SEO?

Marketers benefit from AI, too. The advancements made in search, programmatic, and social targeting have helped marketers for years, but now, marketers are looking toward more dynamic options. Now, dynamic creative messaging solutions are helping marketers tailor messages not only to past behaviors but also to the psychological profiles of different consumers in the marketplace. These solutions help marketers consolidate data, analyze user activity, and optimize messaging across all channels by making predictions.

How Should SEO’s Approach AI?

In 2018, AI will continue to disrupt how SEO’s and advertisers do their jobs. Google’s algorithm will continue to adjust search rankings based on smarter Rank Brain improvements. For SEO’s, it is important to learn how to turn AI into an opportunity.

  1. Don’t let the hype over AI become a distraction to learning about how you can properly use AI to tell your audience about your brand’s products and services.
  2. Remember that AI requires data to learn, which means that you will need to provide the AI with data. A small data set makes it harder for algorithms and AI to help your business. More content (videos, images, graphs, articles, and whitepapers) is going to continue to feed the SEO pieces of the algorithm.
  3. Understand how AI can benefit the searcher, and build your AI to benefit your customers. Find what is currently ranking well and develop a better result that will benefit the searchers UX. Providing the best answers and solutions will generate more page views, comments, likes, shares, tweets, and pins… the holy grail of additional AI data that helps win better rankings.
  4. Remember that the relationship between a company and its customers is built on trust, so you will need to think in terms of optimizing for AI communication that doesn’t feel invasive to your customers.
  5. Don’t forget that AI should be used to help you achieve goals. AI shouldn’t be a goal in and of itself. You will always need humans to help direct Google’s AI (Yes, SEO is not dead) because what is especially useful in addition to humans is often forward-thinking analysis or pop culture driven… making old or past data counter-intuitive.

Influencers

Movie stars, athletes, and many other celebrities have earned millions of dollars by promoting products and services. By this definition, influencers have been around since the dawn of advertising. However, a new breed of SEO influencers may be more important now than ever before.

With social media use higher than ever, it makes sense that influencers within a certain market or industry are getting paid for their influence. Backlinks, article mentions, featured articles, guest posts, tweets are going to be more beneficial for content marketers and off-page SEO than your traditional celebrity. Creating multiple partnerships with grassroots influencers is not only better for SEO, but is considered a fairly inexpensive way to reach a large audience and earn more social media exposure over a longer period of time.

Who Are Influencers?

Influencers are people that others listen to online. There are a few different kinds of influencers, however, so let’s take a look.

  • Traditional Expert
    • A Traditional Expert is someone who is an expert in a specific field. A scientist, doctor, or other professionals with credibility in his or her field of choice would be considered a Traditional Expert Influencer.
  • Traditional Celebrity
    • Celebrities are the original influencers. These can be actors, singers, models, or TV personalities. Since a celebrity’s name is well-known, they are a great resource for marketing but (for SEO purposes) are only worth as much as their online audience engagement.
  • Digital Top-Tier Influencer
    • A Digital Top-Tier Influencer is someone who became famous through social media. Within their platforms, they typically have a large reach and a large following.
  • Digital Mid-Tier Influencer
    • People who have a growing social media following are called Digital Mid-Tier Influencers. These people will have a smaller reach than a Digital Top-Tier Influencer, but they still have the ability to reach a large audience.
  • Digital Micro-Influencer
    • A Digital Micro-Influencer is someone who has a niche social media audience where they have a strong following in that niche. While they may not be able to reach millions of people like a celebrity could, they are well-respected in their niche, and people listen to them.

Why Are Influencers Important?

Influencers are able to promote products or services and have other people listen to their opinions. A partnership with an influencer can help a company reach more people who otherwise may never learn about its products or services. In 2018, brands are expected to consider more long-term relationships with Top-Tier Influencers, while companies step back from using Micro-Influencers that have a smaller reach.

Even though influencer reach doesn’t guarantee any ROI, it is a great way to get a broader level of reach and engagement. To help increase the chances of ROI, you will always need to continue to create content and use paid amplification.

By 2020, it is projected that the influencer marketing space will exceed $5 billion, and due to changes in the algorithms on the main platforms, influencer created content should be integrated with owned, earned, and paid amplification strategies to optimize for top performance in 2018.

Personalization

As the internet has continued to develop, targeting and personalization have become more and more accurate. Creating marketing messages that are customer-centric and delivered to the intended audience at just the right time can be difficult, but the advancements in targeting and personalization have made it easier for marketers to create effective content that, in turn, brings new customers.

Properly Profiling Customers

While technology makes it fairly easy to gather certain data about our customers, there is always a chance for failure and room for improvement. Improved customer profiling can help a company better understand its customers and what will make them react.

Marketers can capitalize on customer profiling by creating ads with the exact products that consumers were looking at. Paring that information with a notice of limited stock or a sale notification can lead to increased sales. And creating new, unique profiling opportunities, such as online quizzes, not only provide engagement, but they also allow marketers to refine customer data better. Opt-in forms can also help marketers deliver personalized content that customers want directly to them.

For help with any marketing need, contact Rank Fuse at 913-703-7265. Rank Fuse has experts in on-page SEO, off-page SEO, content marketing, and PPC management.