Using SEO to Build a Marketing Strategy for the Future

Jim Yu, co-founder and CEO of BrightEdge

Due to its durability amid turbulent economic circumstances, SEO took off in 2021. And a vast majority of marketers (89%) anticipate even more SEO investment this year, according to BrightEdge research. This SEO growth highlights the increasing importance of the customer experience (CX). And budgets confirm the heightened importance of consumer loyalty, with CX spending projected to reach $641 billion by the end of 2022. As marketers review these trends and approach the final quarter of 2022, some may wonder how much of a role SEO should play in their strategy moving forward.

To determine the importance of SEO in 2022 and beyond, marketers should consider the predictions that industry leaders posited prior to this year’s economic uncertainties. At the top of this year, industry leaders predicted that marketing teams would prioritize SEO tailored to improving CX and omnichannel SEO strategies that optimize visual formats like audio and video. Experts also anticipated that marketers would focus on ROI-demonstrating business metrics and implement more AI and machine learning (ML) technologies this year.

If these predictions pan out, the rest of 2022’s SEO strategies will be CX-focused, contain omnichannel interactions and include sophisticated data collection.

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1. Combining CX and SEO

Page experience rankings are an even bigger component of SEO strategy than at the start of the year. Since rollout in March 2022, page experience rankings — determined by Google’s Core Web Vitals — finalize the content that mobile and desktop users see on search engine results pages (SERPs). Google engineers decipher multiple streams of information to determine the CX quality of a website’s content. These measurements include mobile-friendliness and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), which measures the amount of unexpected movement that occurs while scrolling a page. A page with a high CLS score will have a lower-quality CX. Pages with improper loading protocols now regularly appear at the bottom of the rankings as a result.

Core Web Vitals like CLS provides search marketers with the information they need to make smart content decisions. If marketers notice that their page’s laggy loading diminishes organic performance, they can pivot spending to improve their CX and web performance. Marketers who carve out time to adequately address CX and SEO issues will see better performance in 2023 — but only if they are aware of the buggy performance and improper loading. It’s imperative that marketers seek out a platform to flag and address these issues intuitively.

At the beginning of 2022, there were significant developments in query-less searching, including enhancements and further rollouts of the Google Discover tool. This tool provides mobile users with a native dashboard of articles based on their interests and browsing history. Search marketers looking to score content placement on Google Discover must follow the age-old principles of expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness (EAT). Importantly, Google Discover differs from many other search functions in that it frequently features older articles. As a result, new and existing web content can profit from CX and SEO optimization. Savvy search marketers will take advantage of this feature by optimizing all web content, new and old.

2. SEO across platforms

In 2021, Google released the Multitask Uniform Model (MUM) implementation, which adds to the language processing abilities of AI Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT). This platform helps conversationalize and add context to search results by creating intelligent connections between multiple search hits for more than 70 languages.

MUM transformed the SEO landscape in 2022 by analyzing data from textual and non-textual sources. In other words, it elevated the importance of content like video and audio. But how can marketers apply modern SEO protocols to their non-textual content?

Search marketers are trying to figure out how to use current SEO protocols for non-textual content. To accomplish this, marketers should increase their adoption of AI- and ML-enabled technologies, allowing these tools to provide insight into prime keywords and industry trends. Search marketers can retroactively implement these insights to decide which pieces of non-textual content perform the best on multiple platforms.

MUM’s language-based search will also improve the traction of semantic SEO, which uses search language to anticipate a user’s intent or frame of reference. Content marketers can use this search language to put customized content in front of customers at the correct times, leading to desired business outcomes.

3. More and more metrics

Going into 2022, there was an increase in data collection as marketers sought insights into which campaigns were performing best and which type of content their target market preferred. This data also proves marketing efforts’ ROI, which is helpful when justifying marketing spending to executives — especially amid recession concerns and record layoffs.

Collecting more data will again lead to the need for AI adoption. AI- and ML-driven tools can uncover market opportunities by analyzing the organization’s market and providing important information such as potential website traffic, revenue gain and other KPIs. This information helps marketers prove their value and retain marketing budgets.

SEO marketing in 2023 and beyond

Search engines are evolving, and SEO must do the same. Successful SEO evolution will rely on AI and ML tools, along with more sophisticated use of MUM and Google Discover. The more complex SEO becomes, the more marketers must rely on the right tools that allow them — and the sales teams they support — to create the most seamless customer journey possible.

Many marketing tools come and go, but search remains in the growth stage through every economic uncertainty. No matter how high the inflation is, consumers will always use search to find answers, and because of this, marketers must align their efforts with the SEO market. Those marketers who don’t use valuable business insights and don’t adopt modern tools like AI and ML will find their SEO and overall marketing strategies far behind in 2023.

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