To be fair, I, too, write about interesting trends in search that I think will have varying degrees of impact to readers, with an emphasis on the word varying. So naturally, for those who are working with an agency, or search consultant, or in-house team or independently, there is always a pause with every major search development to try and determine its impact. While many seasoned search marketers have become somewhat numb to the latest Google product announcements, others may be over-analyzing the question "what does this mean to my search approach?"
So with this in mind, here are a few of the big topics that have changed SEM, along with why sustainable search practices will be the
best course for navigating the new world of real-time, personalized, Caffeine, and socially-influenced search, in addition to many other less significant developments over the last year:
Market research - If you don't know who you are trying to convert, or which type of user is most likely to convert, then your marketing efforts are off on a tangent from the get-go. Enterprise search campaigns may be best served by testing and thorough market research, as much as any other aspect of optimization. With increased personalization algorithms, rankings are becoming scrambled and ultimately geared toward users and their specific tastes and behaviors. Research and testing will get you a fraction of the way to knowing what Google knows about their users, but it ultimately creates a greater connection the audience you want to reach most. It's basic, but it's also worth getting right.
Content development - If you've done the right research, then content development is the next step. "Content" can be defined as applications, feeds, text, images, video, etc., with a direct correlation to visibility and traffic from search. As almost all types of online content have a significant onramp from search, addressing the user and right content approach will translate to effective search results in a personalized, real-time and social environment, as well as for those seeking to discover and find directly in search engines.
Good tech hygiene, and clean architecture - Beyond knowing your customer and content, having a cleanly accessible and marked-up home for your content is essential to search performance. This is a practically endless, ongoing process that requires constant attention, but again translates directly to the fundamentals of personalization and real-time search. Read more about some of these basic elements here, here, and here.
Domain equity, trust, and authority - Having a foundation of
trust and authority is also key for achieving long-term positive search performance. Investing and focusing your SEO efforts into a single domain or group of domains adds to the long-term search
benefits of your site, in a way that contributes to real-time, personalized and social visibility.
So again, while search may seem to be taking a few strange and uncharted turns, sticking with the basics remains a solid foundation for the long term.