Ever since the world of business developed a familiarity with terms like digital marketing, e-commerce, online business, the business world sprinted into the rat race of ranking, to fix a spot on the first page of the search engine. Search Engine Optimization evolved as a whole new genre to optimize their digital strategy with specific and right-on-the-mark anchors, keywords and meta details.
All SEO-based strategies and digital marketing campaigns primarily revolved around one prime factor – ‘the mighty keyword’!
What made SEO an essential strategy for e-commerce, was the fact that it provided an equal opportunity to enhance a company’s ranking in the cyber sphere. It allowed the small and medium business enterprises, who could not possibly allocate a huge budget for exorbitant marketing and promotion strategies, to use highly relevant keywords to their advantage, to escalate their organic ranking.
However, while keywords continued to rule the SEO game for more than a decade, certain factors such as paid campaigns, sponsored ads, and the changing algorithms of the search engine to improve the user experience, have altogether cast a significant blow to the unrivaled supremacy of keyword and its efficacy for organic ranking.
Before hitting the bottom line with a final verdict about whether or not the organic keyword ranking is still beneficial and important for a promising digital strategy, let’s cast a look on where the tides are blowing.
SEO and Digital Marketing – Trends, Behaviors, and Statistics
- Google has efficiently maintained its supremacy in the online search market with over 100 billion global searches per month.
- More searches are being made through mobile devices than desktops and PCs.
- Around 48% of digital marketers have endorsed keyword strategy as an effective technique for organic ranking.
- Around 78% of markets accept relevant content as an essential component of present age SEO.
- The websites’ compatibility with mobile browsing has become an important factor in search engine listings. The technical ‘cops’ at Google have been penalizing websites with crashing errors and no responsive design or mobile browsing compatibility.
How Has SEO Changed?
Google is bringing about constant modifications in its operational algorithms, to decipher the online behavior of the user and provide them with the most relevant information they need, no matter what term, phrase or keyword they have entered in the search bar. In 2013, the launch of Google Hummingbird was evidence that Google is all set to control search optimizations, primarily based on not the keyword, but the user’s online behavior and intention for the search. This has significantly made things convenient at the users’ end and has enhanced the accuracy and relevance of search. Furthermore, it has also imposed a question mark on the efficacy of keywords for top-notch organic ranking.
- While initially your page ranking was primarily dependent on keywords, your page’s weight and authority is determined by 200+ metrics of Google Hummingbird, including outbound and inbound links, the quality and relevancy of content, website’s responsiveness to mobile and desktop browsing, social media strength and the ease of use. All these, along with a host of other metrics combined, determine your page rank and search engine visibility.
- Google identified it just in time how the increasing efficacy of keywords could backfire, and result in the accumulation of keyword-cluttered content spread all over the World Wide Web. It is not about the frequency anymore, but the skillful placement of long-tail and short-tail keywords, in the right spot in your content and graphics description.
- Google’s semantic approach to optimizing the searches based on an individual user’s online behavior, location and making smart and accurate interpretations of search words and phrases has decreased the dependability of page ranking on keywords and short and long tail phrases.
Looking Beyond Keywords
>_ Social Media Platforms
Social media platforms have evolved as a promising alternate for businesses to engage their customers and focus on direct conversions without having to worry about organic traffic or page ranking.
>_ Local Listings and Sponsored Ads
Google places the featured sponsored ads above the organic search results. So, even if you have anchored your site with the most accurate keyword, you can still be outranked by a competitor that has opted for a paid listing. Likewise, user location also the organic search results, and the local listings are more likely to escalate to the top of the page.
>_ Google’s Rich and Elaborate Search Results
Google is incessantly focusing on making search result more comprehensive and elaborate, circumscribing the entire searching intentions and objectives of the customers. If you search for a question, a tip or a tutorial, you are likely to find it on the search page itself sparing you the need to scroll and browse various websites options.
>_ Integrated Search Engine Applications
Google is also enhancing the user experience by integrating certain applications such as weather report, flight status, translator, currency converter, and calculator. This has reduced the need to visit different websites for such purposes.
Despite it all, Keywords are Still Significant!
Although the influx of groundbreaking modification in searching techniques, search engine algorithms and ranking metrics, has significantly declined the role of a keyword in organic search, they are still considered a strong component of an effective SEO strategy. However, the quest for search engine supremacy is now driven more on qualitative factors such as relevancy and interpretation of your site content, and how it connects with the searching patterns of your particular audience.
This implies that content still rules as the king and to increase engagement and connectivity with the audience, SEO experts and digital marketing specialists need to develop highly relevant content based on specific ideas, custom designed for their particular audience niche.
Content development will now be guided by how a customer perceives a general product or service, and on what patterns are they likely to search it on the World Wide Web. An integrated and all-inclusive marketing strategy, with the cumulated benefits of PPC, social media, content and SEO, is a smart approach to sustain your rank with the changing paradigms of ranking and search engine optimization.