3 evolving trends signal a new era in SEO

Reprinted from South Florida Business Journal.

Today, Google owns well over 90 percent of organic search. While that may be diminished by blockchain someday, few can dispute it is impacting our daily lives and businesses.

Organizations that take their SEO strategies seriously, particularly those who depend on their website presence for sales leads or e-commerce, need to heed the changing SEO landscape to increase sales and revenue.

Mobile first is really first

Anyone who didn’t believe in “mobile first” since Google told us of its changing algorithm in 2015 needs to believe it now. Joan Sparks, director of marketing for Americas at Tyco Retail Solutions in Boca Raton, says the influence of mobile and smartphones on back-to-school retail sales was proven this fall. She cited Adobe Digital Insights reports that smartphones accounted for more than 45 percent of e-commerce visits during the back-to-school season, and over 49 percent over Labor Day weekend.

While the majority of those visits end up on desktop, $14.5 billion in sales were reported on smartphones, and Adobe says those numbers are most likely harbingers of the holiday season.

The organic competition for those visits was so intense that big-box stores increased their paid search budgets to steal share. And many did successfully.

What’s more, over 40 percent of consumers want to complete purchases on their smartphones, making this an opportunity few businesses can ignore.

Voice search will grow really fast

People talk to their phones these days; now many also talk to Amazon Alexa, Apple HomePod, Google Assistant, Microsoft’s Cortana and Samsung’s Bixby. All businesses need to understand the impact this has on being first in search. Making search terms less formal and more conversational is key. Ways to do this include using “long-tail” keywords. If your business is looking for customers in a geographic area, spending more time on local SEO can increase search volume dramatically.

Gartner says that 30 percent of all searches will be done without a screen by 2020. Others say nearly 50 percent of all searches will be voice searches by 2020. Businesses do not want to ignore those numbers or their fast growth.

Blockchain is a looming time bomb

It has been said that blockchain will be as impactful as the Internet was in the ’90s. Whether or not that is true, the one thing that blockchain does is eliminate what is referred to as the middleman. This is possible because of the transparency – and therefore trust – blockchain offers. That means the consumer will transact directly with the website without needing a trusted search engine such as Google.

Beyond currency, blockchain is having an impact on businesses. IBM is offering blockchain solutions for enterprise. Walmart is tracking its produce on blockchain to reduce E. coli. And there are global signs that it is being adopted for other uses. Dubai now does all land transactions on blockchain.

It only took the internet half a generation to change all of our lives. Blockchain may not replace the internet, but it can change how we use it.

So, while our first jobs as marketers and business leaders are to fully adopt mobile first and then voice search, we should keep learning about blockchain to keep our competitive advantage.

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