Many people out there often question why SEO is either dead or dying and the truth is SEO simply evolved. You see, with rapid growth toward social media and new trends in consumer behaviour online, major search engines face unfamiliar challenges. Businesses replying on search results in order to generate revenue must be mindful of emerging trends and embrace a social media marketing as to avoid taking an unexpected hit in SERP (Search Engine Results Page) rankings.
Although Google is still the dominating force in search-engine traffic, organic reach has decreased as consumers’ frame of mind have shifted over time. Organic reach is the number of people shown you’re post through unpaid distribution, which has been down because users are searching through other platforms.
Consumers have become more aware of the differences between sponsored listings and organic listings and have arguably formed cynical views that have lead towards avoiding clicking on paid ads altogether regardless that paid ads can often be an excellent source of the information. Due to competition rising for many keywords, driving up the prices on ads and causing a frenzy of mixed information in organic-search results, users have begun trending toward internet searches, where they can confirm and mirror their peer groups’ opinions and decisions.
Social Media have posed the largest threat to search engine market share as they improve search options that mirror the opinions and behaviours of people they actually know and respect. This trust in the results populated from what people search has been something Google has been slow to adapt. Consumers are more likely to care what their friends’ favourite restaurant is than what restaurant is on the first page that comes up on a local Google search.
In the generation of Millenials Googling, SnapChating and Instagramming mobile apps and niche social networks are taking market share. We enjoy doing everything on our mobile devices, such as playing games, finding dates, to ordering take-out online. Consumer traffic online is splitting into niches at the speed in which reality-star couples split up. With more competition online, app developers have seen great success in appealing to specific niches exclusively.
This affects SEO by giving tech-savvy users a much more targeted search option. Instead of searching Google for the best restaurants in locally and being swamped with an abundance of results to filter, users can search an application completely dedicated to detailed lists of the best establishments, with review peer ratings, and make a more educated, simpler decision such as Yelp.
Similarly, a consumer who in the past may have searched for the latest fashion trends on Google can search Pinterest. Therefore, as a marketer or business owner, it is more important to know where your customer is looking for your product, than to rely solely on your product appearing at the top of Google.
Google lacks the incorporation of social proof, which Social Media networks contain. Sure, Google attempted to catch up by rolling out the Google Plus social network, and forced on users, the feature never could deliver benefits to users enough to justify using a second social network.
Social proof is one of the biggest driving factors in consumers’ decisions today and there is just no way to force or fake that. Until Google figures out a different way to out-appeal social media site such as Facebook and give users a platform to socialize with more appeal and features, Google may end up being a tool just for factual research, like hardcover encyclopedias. The take away here is that customers now have many other options of where to search, that it is important that businesses, which traditionally relied fully on SEO generate leads and gain sales, be mindful of where their customers are heading and avoid getting left behind.
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