I started my career as a digital marketer in Atlanta back when SEO expert services weren’t a big deal at all. In fact, no jobs with anything SEO-related in the title even existed. And of course, back then SEO expert services didn’t require as much knowledge and skills as they require today.
Over the years, search engine optimization exploded; and it became harder and harder to succeed. However, today we are facing a massive shift in algorithms like never before due to the impact of artificial intelligence; in addition, new trends like voice search via devices with no screens (like Amazon Echo) lead to marketers talking about “SEO death” that is wildly confusing to the majority of business owners.
This post will walk you through how SEO expert services should look like today.
Is SEO Dead?
First of all, let’s establish that no matter how many scary articles you’ve read online, search engine optimization is not going anywhere. It’s not dead; it’s just transforming like it did so many times before – since my first day on the job as a digital marketer. And this is why it’s important to understand how SEO expert services should look like today and tomorrow.
What to Look for in SEO Expert Services
In my professional opinion, the biggest change the best search engine optimization consultants are facing today is artificial intelligence. To explain it simply, artificial intelligence is now running Google algorithm and is able to understand contexts and related search terms (among other things). With that in mind, here are key considerations as to what SEO expert services should provide today:
Shift from Keywords to Topic Clusters
Because artificial intelligence is able to understand keyword variations and related terms, you no longer need your SEO consultants to hand you a keyword list with a unique piece of content attached to every single keyword variation. Instead, your SEO consultants should suggest a shift from quantity to quality in your content strategy and advocate in-depth content format.
In other words, today’s SEO expert services should focus on producing very detailed and informative content, diligently covering one narrow topic at a time. These individual narrow topics should be a part of a topic cluster, a wider topic positioning your business as an expert on the subject.
Focus on Speed for User Experience
The majority of search traffic is mobile, and the trend continues growing. This means that any expert SEO services should be able to optimize your web properties for speed both, on desktop and mobile, with emphasis on mobile. If it means a well-optimized responsive layout for your site, it’s great. But today’s best search engine optimization consultants should be prepared to take further steps like equipping your site with valid AMP pages (Accelerated Mobile Pages) and structured data.
The importance of these SEO services is not a question. Google announced that in July 2018 they will officially make page speed a ranking factor in mobile search results. In addition, Google has launched a new Google Assistant’s Actions Directory that for now has around a million of auto-populated listings that can be claimed and edited, which brings me to the next point.
Expert SEO Services of Today Must Equip You for Voice Search
If you are not familiar with the subject of voice search, I have a few impactful facts to share.
Video: Why Speakable Markup and Voice Search Are Important
With these stats in mind, it’s important to understand that screen-free devices like Google Assistant and Alexa serve a single result per search!
If your SEO consultant needs guidelines for search speech, Google now offers this evaluation.
So it’s clear that expert SEO services of today absolutely cannot exclude voice search.
Critical Understanding of Your Search Niche
Let’s not omit the fact that the ultimate goal of SEO expert services is your business revenue. Period.
In the past days of on-page keyword optimization, I often saw SEO consultants going after general search terms rather than long tail variations that statistically had higher purchase intent and conversion rates behind them.
So what about now? If per keyword optimization is out of the picture, how are we targeting purchase intent behind any SEO efforts?
This is where critical understanding of your search niche (or service niche) was and is the key. It hasn’t changed and will never change. It’s about very deep understanding of your audience’s main pain points and successfully addressing their resolution with your products or services.
Going Beyond Search Engines
Artificial intelligence today takes into account hundreds of factors to evaluate billions of web pages on the Internet and decide which ones present the highest value to the end user. Lots of these factors go far beyond your content optimization to understand true quality and engagement with your expertise. The most frequently used example is traffic to your pages from other sources (beyond Google). For instance, traffic from social media. While robots cannot calculate real value of your content to human users, they understand that the more valuable the content is to the end user, the more shares and likes it will receive on social media, and the more visits from other traffic sources online. It means that quality and optimization of content for search is important just as much as optimization for cross-channel success.
Although the above points summarize key requirements to SEO expert services today, it’s not the full list of items you should be looking for. Everyone’s situation is different and will largely depend on your industry, technology, current state of SEO and web presence, available budget, and other factors. Request a free SEO audit here to find out more about your individual business needs and things to look for in SEO expert services today.