You can't automate everything: this year, let's focus on the fundamentals of SEO
Maria Camanes of digital agency Builtvisible tells marketers: don't get sidetracked by new technologies; traditional SEO is built on trustworthy, humanized content.
Marketers are at the mercy of their environment; they mustn't rely on technology alone / Dell via Unsplash
If you’ve been online in the last few months, you’ll have heard about the dawn of marketing's artificial intelligence (AI) era. You might have even dabbled with ChatGPT, and read a few of the thousands of articles about how robots are coming for our jobs.
Undoubtedly, there will be exciting automation opportunities out there for brands . However, while 2023 might be an exciting 'year of automation', it’s also going to be a tough year for many marketers globally due to external factors like inflation, the rising cost of living, and ongoing war in Ukraine.
What does that mean for SEO? Here are three things to focus on with your SEO strategy, ultimately ensuring that you can have impact where it counts: organic performance.
Don’t get distracted by the shiny new thing
We're constantly seeing new innovations, like the recent launch of ChatGPT, a natural language processing chatbot created by OpenAI. It's capable of generating human-like text and interacting with users in a conversational manner.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement about what tools like this mean for the future of SEO, but it’s more important than ever not to get distracted. We must understand that the majority of growth will still come from firm SEO foundations. Frankly, it doesn’t matter how efficient your automated copy is if your site speed is glacial, or the content you write is poor quality.
None of this is new. Making sure that your site is optimized for mobile performance is key to success. So is ensuring that you are providing an outstanding experience to users (through high-quality content that’s fulfilling user intent), and that your content is easily accessible for both users and search engines.
These will also help to optimize your site for experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-E-A-T). This is all about demonstrating website quality and making sure the content of your e-commerce site is in line with Google Search Quality Rater Guidelines (QRG).
Other key things to watch out for include avoiding low-value, spammy content from being indexed, in favor of rich, expert content, and making sure your site has strong technical 'health' e.g.: avoiding broken links or pages (which can lower trust in your website).
Staying one step ahead of the curve
User demand is heavily influenced by a multitude of elements that are entirely outside of our control as digital marketers. We are at the mercy of our environment, reacting to algorithm updates, shifts in search demand, and changes in the competitor landscape, search engine guidelines and search engine results pages.
With all the external headwinds, 2023 will be a challenging year. Having awareness of these factors and how they influence consumer demand is the first step to minimizing risk and maximizing growth.
No one has a crystal ball, but one way to predict the future is using tools like Mangools. Using this, you can retrieve historical search volumes data at scale for the last decade, then categorize fluctuation into groups and scale the impact of these factors. Perform this analysis across your core keyword set and you’ll be able to identify whether you need to adapt or pivot your wider strategy.
SEO success still requires buy-in from others
Organic search is all about consistency and momentum. Reducing your SEO activity might not have an immediate impact, but if you stop investing in this channel there’s a big risk of falling behind competitors.
Executing your SEO strategy will be fundamental for building momentum and growth in 2023. You won’t be able to do this alone; you’ll need an army across product, development, content, PR and senior leadership to affect change. Remember: the impact of changes is not always immediately reflected within rankings, so the sooner you convince others, the better.
Make sure you check in with internal stakeholders to establish what resources and budget may (or may not) be available and adjust your 2023 strategy from there. The C-suite is more interested in the bottom line; if automation is a large part of your strategy, focus on the efficiencies it’ll drive to get buy-in.
A few final thoughts
During the Covid-19 pandemic, we saw plenty of brands having to deal with reduced staff headcounts and limited development resource, presenting a window of opportunity for competitors and leaving some behind.
No one can say with any certainty what will happen in 2023. During times of uncertainty, it’s vital that you focus on what will provide more solid ROI. Increasing your speed and reactivity to changes in demand, focusing on the foundations of SEO, and getting your recommendations implemented will be key to success.
Content by The Drum Network member:
We're a specialist agency driving forward the boundaries of Organic Digital marketing. We deliver measurable impact on the organic digital performance of brands in highly competitive verticals. We're also proud to be an Drum Elite Agency, ranking in the top two for financial performance in the latest census.Find out more