Digital marketing expert at NUVEW, helping businesses expand their online presence through custom website design and development & SEO.
Organic SEO Is Becoming More Important As Privacy Concerns Grow
When it comes to understanding their audience, marketers don’t like to guess. The industry has gained a variety of data collection tools in recent years, and many advertisers now rely heavily on user data to deliver highly personalized ads to a hand-picked audience.
But change is on the horizon as users ask more questions about how their online habits are tracked and shared. Some top sources of user data are being restricted or eliminated, and it could spell trouble for those who count on this data to understand their customers.
Fortunately, a time-tested and often cheaper option exists for organic SEO. Rather than pulling user-specific data from apps, marketers can use data from search engine queries to gain actionable details about their customers without the creepy, invasive feeling.
Let’s examine why data collection is changing and how organic SEO can provide a successful alternative to targeted ads.
In late April, Apple announced the release of iOS 14.5, its newest operating software for iPhones and iPads. After installing the update, users will see a pop-up window when opening apps, asking if they consent to have their online activities tracked to receive personalized ads. In the past, this data collection generally happened by default.
Stats are still rolling in on how many people have or will opt out of tracking, but the smart money is betting it will be a significant portion of Apple’s more than 100 million U.S. iPhone users. Google’s blog has warned that “app publishers may see a significant impact to their Google ad revenue.”
This comes after Google’s decision to eliminate third-party cookies — the digital files that track users’ activity across websites — in its Chrome web browser.
Instead, Google will offer advertisers data from pools of users in a system called Federated Learning of Cohorts, or FLoC. While this gives advertisers some alternative, it’s pretty telling that Google goes on to say the results will be “nearly as effective” as cookie-based ads.
The takeaway? Advertisers’ ability to track individual users is diminishing, likely by a lot. Google and Apple are behemoths in tech, and where they go, others are sure to follow.
Losing access to personalized data and the targeting opportunities it creates could leave many digital advertisers feeling blindsided.
SEO Can Help Turn the Tide
The underlying issue with third-party data collection is not a new one and has plagued social networks for some time. It’s a lack of control.
These platforms, and the ads you place on them, are controlled by private companies that can change their policies or user agreements at a moment’s notice. The money that companies spend on ads may give them a sense of ownership, but that isn’t really the case.
Organic SEO, on the other hand, gives companies greater control over their online presence and how they appear to users. Rather than app data and paid ads, SEO uses search engine data to discover what products and services users are looking for and helps connect them with the companies that offer what they need.
Most SEO tactics are implemented on a business’s own website. That increases control for the business and often results in lower overall costs since most SEO techniques can produce results for months or even years after initial setup. By contrast, even when ads are successful, they require continued investment.
How Do I Implement SEO on My Site?
If you’re new to SEO, its tactics can seem highly technical and overwhelming. But there are a few pillars of basic strategy that can help anyone figure out where to start.
• Keywords: When someone searches for your products or services online, what words do they use? Keywords are the answer to this question.
They are the terms or phrases that people connect with your business. They can also include your customers’ issues or problems, like “garage door won’t close.”
Through your own industry knowledge and a little research, you can easily find keywords to guide your strategy. Once you’ve built your list, you can target customers with serious buying intent by including your keywords naturally in website text, page titles, and blogs.
Then, when users search for these terms, Google will be more likely to display your website as the answer to their search. Avoid the urge to overuse keywords, a practice known as “keyword stuffing.” Both search engines and real users will react negatively to text that feels awkward or unnatural.
• Content: The right keywords can help draw your audience in, but your content is what keeps their interest. This can include menu pages, blogs, videos, a podcast, or nearly any medium that allows you to share information.
A little self-promotion is OK, but avoid treating every piece like a sales pitch. Focus instead on providing value to users with things like articles that offer tips and advice or a recorded chat session that answers common questions.
Covering the topics your customers care about will lead to more visitors, as well as natural opportunities to use your keywords.
• Links: Search engines tend to treat links between websites like a referral. When lots of other high-quality websites are linking to, or linked from, your website, the search engine gives your site greater authority, which can produce higher rankings in search results pages.
When creating new blogs or pages, look for opportunities to link to useful information, like industry groups or recent research, to create the links on your site.
You can also create opportunities for other sites to link to you by sharing the content you’ve created in social channels and newsletters, for example.
Shifting With the Times
Whatever the data collection landscape will look like in the future, it’s clear that marketers can’t rely on these metrics alone for reaching customers.
Change is inevitable, but we can take steps to prepare. Advertising will always have its place in the marketing landscape, but don’t let it prevent you from building a robust SEO strategy that offers long-term gains and a proven route to online success.
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