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Why SEO strategies should move on from using a “tick-box” approach

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Even with the increasing focus on content strategies, there is still a tendency to leave SEO out of the conversation until far too late, which means a lack of integration and a myriad of lost opportunities. 

All too often when brands think about SEO it’s done as a tick-box exercise rather than as part of a truly strategic and joined-up strategy which considers the use case, and the experience for the audience. Too many sites are slow and hard to read on mobile, or have awful product pages – crammed with keywords and difficult to read – that lose out on sales.

Of course, it will come as no surprise to hear that we believe search needs to be at the heart of media plans. We also believe that the advent of connected technology is going to make the need for an evolution in digital marketing practices and SEO strategy even more acute. 

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As technology evolves, and consumers adopt intelligent devices designed to address – even predict – their needs, innovation and intelligence will be needed in search marketing, too.

And yet we’re still yet to crack mobile. When Google announced it would reward mobile-friendly sites last year, people spoke of “Mobile-geddon”. But Google is – and always has been – in the business of rewarding sites which deliver a good experience, no matter the device. 

This is also evident in the development of Google “Place Actions” being added to search results. This allows a user to make an order, book an appointment or make a reservation for a restaurant directly from Google Search and Maps. It could change the role of websites as much as Google Maps did when it first removed the need to visit a site to find out where a business was located. 

More than ever, then, it’s time to change our mindset. As connected tech expands – and its adoption will be rapid – the effort we have expended in the mobile space will pale in comparison to that needed when we consider the array of tech we may soon find in our fridges, our cars, our homes and on our bodies. 

People expect to interact with information in natural ways – and not necessarily through typing, as was evident at CES this year, where an increase in voice recognition and gesture control technology was evident. Ultimately this is because technology does not exist in and for itself but rather to remove pain points from people’s daily lives. 

As companies look to sell products with intuitive design, those in the business of marketing need to think smarter and obsess about this, too.  

So let’s ensure SEO forms part of an overall strategy which involves all stakeholders and keeps in mind at all times the experience of the end user. It has always been those sites that offer a great experience which really succeed. 

SEO should be a cornerstone of any company’s online business strategy, especially as three-quarters of online browsers find what they’re looking for on the first page of search results, and don’t bother scrolling any further. As such, here are some basic steps that a SME can take on the journey to mastering SEO.

Eoin O’Neill is SEO director at Tug.

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