The most important tool in an online marketer’s kit is web data; the one who wins is the one who has the best and most data about their potential customers. Facebook and Twitter have made noteworthy advances in giving marketers tools to enable them target their audience by leveraging first party data. Google is following suit with their customer matching abilities. But what does this mean for SEO experts?
The purpose of organic search through Google and other search engines was to offer quality, unbiased and relevant results for a consumer’s query. This is powered by a host of algorithmic and manual editorial efforts which organize, assemble and curate the organic content to provide results to the searcher.
This leaves the SEO expert facing a major dilemma. With marketers pushing personalized web experiences and able to understand and provide what the audience really wants, does SEO retain any significance? Advancements in technology and data continue to provide even more targeting options which bring higher ROI for business owners, usurping some of the power that organic search held for a long time.
Paradoxically, it is the same organic search results which give search engines credible, relevant and trustworthy options that they can make money from.
As an SEO practitioner going into the future, it’s important to think about how to apply the data driven model in order to leverage it for SEO benefit, rather than risk obsolescence.
This will happen by embracing the following:
- Understand how you can create customized, addressable/targeted web experiences on any scale, resulting in high rankings and essentially performing better than standard results would
- Search engines also have a part to play: they must provide tools to enable audience targeting in organic search similar to what Facebook and Twitter have placed in the hands of social media marketers.
- These tools should effectively dictate how and when results of organic search will be delivered to the audiences. Think of it like Customer Match in paid advertising.
Data driven principles are already applicable in many areas, and using the same for SEO is a sure way to deal with particular audience segments, in order to improve ROI from SEO efforts. The bottom line is that, going forward; brands will need to have a first-party data access for SEO in order to change with the times and offer true value. Only in this way will organic search remain relevant, amidst changes by social platforms and other techniques that include consumer targeting.