Businesses have long recognised the power SEO has on their bottom line and no more so during seasonal peaks such as Christmas. But as the year is drawing to an end, what will 2015 bring? What is the future of SEO?
Search becoming more customer-centric:
2014 saw Google become increasingly focused on the end-user and in response we have seen search become much more integrated and customer-centric and next year, this is only set to increase. Previously paid for and organic search were seen as two different disciplines with natural listings on the left and paid on the right. However the search engine results page (SERP) has become more and more fragmented with a variety of results, such as videos, images and PLAs as well as paid ads and organic results. Marketers and Ecommerce people are therefore recognising that there are multiple ways into this user experience. This means search is being increasingly looked at in customer-centric way, rather than a channel-specific way.
Another aspect, which will gain momentum and importance in 2015, is internationalisation. As businesses continue to grow and expand overseas, their SEO must be adapted to suit a new market. Deploying a new site and organising a catalogue of terms is only one part of the puzzle. You need to ensure that your content is localised in terms of currency and language. Businesses need to also understand the region, its not good enough to create a localised website and believe that it will suffice. Understand the culture of the region, traditions and trends.
In addition, remember keywords such as ‘party dresses’ and ‘Christmas jumpers’ may have large search volume in the UK, however may not hold as much resonance in other countries, such as France or Germany for example. Taking a cue from leading retailers such as Topshop and BooHoo, who have tailored their eCommerce site for different regions, trends, languages and currencies
Retail has seen some dramatic shifts in customer behaviour over the past couple of years and subsequently online shopping has undergone some radical changes. We’ve seen mobile, PLAs, omnichannel, responsive sites and apps and many retailers are working with antiquated platforms that don’t easily allow them to add these new features and they are getting left behind by their competitors.
A number of retailers re-platformed their ecommerce site in 2014 to position themselves for future online growth and in 2015 we will see even more retailers follow this trend. However, re-platforming can be a disaster for page-rank if a company gets it wrong, so not only do businesses need to update their infrastructure but also take the opportunity to embed SEO capabilities and practices within their technology.
The changing role of SEO:
The role of SEO is continuously evolving, becoming less technical and more creative as new technologies emerge that automate much of the “grunt-work”. SEO has also become more integrated within a company’s fabric, helping to define buying and merchandising strategy. In turn, retailers are increasingly bringing the role of SEO in-house as it plays a more strategic and central role within the business.