In the digital world there are two constants: the fact that search is changing and the need to be found. If you’re a business owner both should concern you. If you’re a consumer you really only need to know how to find what you want fast and get something done.
This apparent simplicity from the consumer point of view now opens up a universe of complexity. We have now reached the tipping point from where we used technology to do what we wanted to actually doing what we want using technology. The distinction is as important as it is fine. When we used technology to fulfil our needs we had to use whatever channels were available (desktop search, YouTube, phone search) and everything that needed to capture our attention eventually found its way in one or more of them.
When technology however is so smart, nuanced and ubiquitous as to become virtually invisible at the interface we no longer think in terms of channels. We may find a video we need on Google maps instead of YouTube. We may discover the service we need through an app rather than traditional search. And, even more pertinently, we may find what we ask for and do what we want without even being aware what app, service or channel our personal assistant used when we asked it. Google’s already experimenting with this as part of its ongoing efforts to stay ahead in search by better understanding how people use it.
What Must You Do To Win In Search?
This is a misleading subtitle and I am using it intentionally because I know that many webmasters and digital marketers still use that language. Search is not a zero-sum game where you need to win and someone else has to lose.
The best results in search are part of an on-going, viable, sustained attention-getting activity that will include content creation, on-page optimization, comments and comment-amplification in social media platforms, social media posting and off-page optimization, data density and entity building, semantic density and … the list goes on.
So, what are you to do now?
Well, for a start you have to understand the context and intent of your prospects. In order to then adequately meet that (which is an exercise in empathy) you need to at the very least do the following:
- Create semantic density across your website (use structured data or a structured approach to content, or both)
- Create semantic density across the web (are all the different contexts you appear in on the web interlinked, consistent and cross-referenced?)
- Define your core identity (which really needs you to define your core values)
- Define your voice
- Be consistent
None of this is really new. The 20 steps detailed in SEO Help actually cover them but the need to stop thinking in compartmentalized overtones has now become imperative.