The rise of the internet from a small network to global dominance has been quick and impressive. Only 300,000 computers were connected to the internet in 1990, compared to an incredible 300 million only ten years later.
Since then, having re-emerged from the dot-com bubble bursting, and expanding beyond our computer screens to mobile devices, the internet has become a huge industry, with many industries and jobs associated with it.
One such industry is SEO - a branch of digital marketing that is concerned with making websites more visible in search engines through promoting links. As the internet continues to develop, SEO is changing, and this is good news for young marketers looking to break into the industry.
How is SEO changing?
Across various industries, technology is focusing on automation in order to improve our experiences as users. This means ‘smart’ appliances that have a greater range of functionality, and in terms of digital media, content that is more relevant and interesting.
Many tech companies are now focusing on this concept, which is referred to as the ‘user experience’ (or UX), including Google, who are using UX to help rank search engine results.
This is a huge game changer for digital marketing, as SEO strategies must focus on quality over quantity. At the moment, many marketers produce a considerable amount of content without assessing whether users engage with it. In fact, 45% of marketers don’t evaluate their analytics for quality or accuracy.
As UX switches the focus of SEO from pumping out a huge number of links, to prioritising relevant, engaging content, marketers need to think differently about their strategies.
How does this benefit young marketers?
For trainee marketers, this switch in focus is great news, as it means that you can prepare yourself for the future of SEO by learning the right skills now.
In the future, digital marketing professionals will need to have an extensive skill set that includes technical know-how and an understanding of how and why users engage with digital media.
From a technical standpoint, research suggests that users dislike websites that don’t load quickly, and would rather close the page than wait. Marketers, therefore, will need to know how to optimise load times, as well as provide quality content.
In 2016, Google announced an AI system for processing search results called RankBrain, which makes automated connections, improving the relevancy of search results for individual users.
SEO specialists will therefore need to understand how users engage with digital content, by considering factors like the different entry points to a website (not just the homepage), and where users prefer to land on a particular website.
Technologies like RankBrain, and the shift of focus towards users and the user experience, will have a huge impact on SEO and digital marketing techniques. As a trainee marketer, it is important that you understand these developments, and equip yourselves with the tools to take advantage of this changing marketplace.