The online marketing world got to learn a whole lot, again, at MozCon -day two-, from insights into changes of the Google search algorithm to what direction we need to go as marketers of the future.
Google's artificial intelligence
On MozCon day 1 Rand Fishkin, hero of the SEO geeks, managed to tell us that only about 3% of all searches results in a search page with 10 blue links. Search is changing, that we know. But Google's mission still remains to provide the best possible answer in a fast way to every query.
In 2013, Google announced the Hummingbird update. The first hint of an 'intelligent' search algorithm and the start of what we call the “semantic web”. In April 2015 the Rank Brain update was launched, a technology based on machine learning. If you want to know the height of the Space Needle tower in Seattle, Google understands your question and gives you a direct answer. Want to know the size of the building in meters? Google understands your question!
Google's search algorithm is no longer a static given, it has become a learning algorithm. Dr. Pete Meyers from Moz even called it "deep learning. is a part of “machine learning” which tries to model the connections in our brains going from input to output in an intelligent way.
Exact search results are dying a slow death and as SEO professionals we must be prepared. The time has come to focus on concepts. People ask a question in a thousand different ways. And so our keyword research should also focus on concepts. But how do you do that? Briefly, you collect a list of possible keywords that you then group into clusters. Based on these clusters you then generate the ideal sentences. In our previous example, for example, this would result into: "What is the Space Needle?", "Height of the Space Needle" and "The Space Needle has ... floors". These phrases can then perfectly form an answer that consists of all-natural, human language and yet is optimized for the different concepts we distinguished.
Content that converts
Joanna Wiebe of copyhackers then took over the stage to illustrate the power of copywriting and succeeded wonderfully to convince me. Download her slides with some interesting examples on de site van Moz. What we learned from yet another fantastic MozCon session is that people DO read on the Internet. So if they do not read your content, this means it is probably boring. You are competing with only a very small number of powerful messages that stand out among the rest.
Does your message come down to "win time and money ", well, it'll just be easier to be ignored.
All too often we are distracted by our competitors and what they say. The question is not only how we "win" the attention of our target, but rather how we "retain" that attention. People DO read online, but not if content is dull and dry. The solution is not necessarily that difficult. Stop vague, commercial language and be specific. Vague words come across as irrelevant, voiceless and insecure. Make your message very clearly ABOUT your customer, not about yourself. Connect the dots for your client and write text that visualizes, giving the word to your imagination. Do this consistently across all touchpoints where your customers come into contact with you throughout the customer journey.
Marketing for real people
Ross Simmonds already said it at day one, Wil Reynolds and Rebekah Cancino confirmed on day two. As a marketer, it is all too easy to lapse into patterns and keep repeating those patterns. Well, that is, until the day that you find that your method no longer works. Think of the way we do keyword research and how we create content. Search engines are evolving and content marketing in the meanwhile has evolved to some sort of content chaos. Online marketing is more than this one expensive keyword used by an average of (usually) 2600 people. How many searches with search volume 10 precede that single keyword that you are putting all your energy into?
Source: Wil Reynolds
The time has come to go back to basics. To look at our customers and really see them as the people they are. People are not machines that make clean rational decisions. Your target audience is more than ‘female between 25 and 60’. Interact with your customers and understand their intentions. Only by experimenting and looking beyond keyword research, reach and search algorithms, our methods will remain innovative. Customer first. Always. We cannot emphasize it enough. It's what makes an online user experience strong, it is what we as marketers strive for, it is where we want to go with our online marketing strategy. But it is also one of the major pitfalls. Perform your marketing efforts for people, not for algorithms.
Unchain the inner marketing superhero within you
Today's message for us marketers was this: experiment, reinvent yourself time and time again, get your hands dirty, do not be afraid to add some chaos to your marketing, get to know your customers and build trust by creating personal, relevant and honest experiences. Wil Reynolds compared confidence with a sheet of paper. Every negative experience is a new wrinkle in the sheet. Consider the reputation marketing I talked about from MozCon day one! and avoid that any wrinkles are formed. The reason is as simple as this: have you ever managed to turn a creased sheet of paper into a wrinkle-free one again?
-Blogpost 4 will be published soon-