Is there any better opportunity to assess one’s goals than the beginning of a new year? Even when you step outside the norm of personal New Years Resolutions, it’s a perfect opportunity for the less-diligent to gain both perspective in hindsight while creating forward-thinking strategies. Then again, some might argue that you should have been on top of your new year strategy long before the ball dropped. That said, what sort of Automotive SEO strategy are you planning to enact (or might already have in place) for 2019? What tactics will you be employing to maximize SERP rankings, increase your conversions and drive up revenue?
Let’s take a look at some of the recommended areas of focus so that you can see just how well-aligned (or out of alignment) your strategies are.
Meeting the Expectations of Your Audience
It’s the iron rule of marketing: know your audience. Aside from being the inside track to establishing your voice and tone, the direction of your approach and nature of content to ensure the best possible ROI, it conveys a sense of respect for the consumers that you’re looking to gain the attention of.
And in 2019, the inevitable evolution of this idea is more important than ever. Why? Because just as important as the considerations listed above is an understanding of how your approach will be translated across the vast landscape of digital marketing. For example, what platforms are preferred (and used most frequently) by your target demographic? If choosing from text, images, video or podcast which format of content are they most responsive to? What search methodology do they use?
While Google has yet to engineer an algorithmic crystal ball, the act of anticipating the expectations of your audience is not entirely unlike foresight. Look beyond your preoccupation with keywords. Even before the first keystroke of a Google inquiry it’s imperative to understand what a customer might be looking for, and know that you’ve already created optimized content that will be immediately accessible and meet (if not exceed) their expectations. With that in mind, let’s pretend a prospective customer has found you, and revisit those questions again.
Are you offering quality content that answers their query? Does it reflect the ideal tone, and is it prepared with the right voice for the intended audience? Is it presented in the right format for that audience to consume? Does the format compliment your brand identity? Is it reflective of current trends?
And even if that content is perfectly composed, it offers little value to those customers who are looking elsewhere for answers; and it does even less for potential customers who might not be actively looking. Prospective clients that may not necessarily know what they are looking for will be enthralled if you’ve already answered their questions and are can be found easily. The best content in the world will need to be seen in order to be relevant, and increasing that visibility will look better to the all-seeing eye of Google and other search engines.
“But what about keywords?” Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten. Simply put, evolve your mindset to meet the audience’s expectations. They expect thorough answers from well-informed resources. So anticipate the follow-up questions, understand where the rabbit hole of that initial search will lead to, and format your keyword strategy accordingly. If you can answer the initial question but none of the follow-ups it will come back to bite you.
Growth Outside of Google
It’s all-too-common for us to refer to the “All-Seeing Eye of Google”, visualizing it as a Tolkien-esque Sauron as depicted in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ franchise. And while Google remains the undisputed ruler of all things SEO, the simple fact is any strategy should be expanded to consider other influences.
The strongest brands are utilizing a multi-faceted approach, recognizing that (in order to be found) quality content exist where people might be searching for it. This means optimizing content within app stores, podcast syndication and increasing the overall visibility of your brand.
It also means recognizing the growing role of voice search (in home assistants like Alexa) or other audio-only devices. Ultimately, there is an ever-growing variety of platforms that a message can be shared upon, but one must be conscious of the manner in which the search experience is changing and adjust accordingly.
Refocusing on Quality
Above, we touched on the importance of creating content that meets the expectations of consumers. But in doing so, we are doing more than advocating on behalf of the customer, we are continuing the lessons learned from Google’s 2018 updates to their search algorithm. And while that algorithm is being continually tuned and refined, it provides the course of which we are currently staying.
Because superior quality content with immersive depth has been proven to exponentially improve search rankings. The days of lazy keyword stuffing within ineffectively superficial ramblings are done. Content needs to pull the reader in, answer their questions, solve their problems, move them, motivate them and help to form a lasting connection.
Esteem, Valuation & Optimization
E-A-T- guidelines (Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness) play a role in anyone’s rankings by Google’s algorithm and are a major focus in 2019. The gauntlet being thrown down is to say, “Okay. You’ve prepared great content, optimized for the audience. You’re visible in all the right places. You’ve SEO’d the hell out of it.” The question that remains is whether or not you’ve asserted yourself as an authority.
Think of it in these terms: who would you go to for advice, a well-established authority or an untested loudmouth? Gaining the esteem of consumers, peers, industry publications and trusted resources adds to your valuation in the all-seeing eye of Google.
Such support can be shown in the form of general engagement, link sharing, and strategic tagging as well as an increased presence in trusted blogs and online resources designed to offer core topic expertise. Only in doing so are you truly optimizing your presence.
Just the Beginning
Make no mistake, this is far from being a comprehensive listing. That said, it touches on many of the road markers you’ll need in order to measure your progress between now and the next ball drop. Assess your progress by these standards and you’ll already be positioning yourself for greater success in the year to come. Disregard them and…well, do so at your own risk.
The ultimate takeaway is that your success in 2019, in terms of digital marketing initiatives, will be based largely on where you already are. If you haven’t already established yourself as a top-ranking authority, a focus on engaging, and thoughtfully-engineered content is imperative in order to do so. And if you’ve already defined yourself by these standards, stay the course, but keep a constant ear to the ever-changing expectations of your audience with a willingness to adapt.