Search has been the cornerstone of digital technology with breakthrough innovations transforming the way information is relayed and presented to users who are searching for anything from clothes to hi-tech gadgets all around the world.

Perhaps every advancement that has been made in the name of technology, has been done to improve the way information is accessed that is both relevant and easy to understand.

However, in recent time, traditional search and content strategies are being metamorphosed into more sophisticated paradigms where technology is becoming ever more personal in our daily lives.

Let us have a look at the various ways in which search technology is evolving and how new innovations are demanding digital marketers to look at content with a whole new perspective.

The rise of smart devices and SEO


Most of us are familiar with the term SEO. In fact, the word has been thrown out so loosely, that every other layman has some form of idea of what SEO is and most of them simply understand it as a technique to boost rankings on Google.

Search engine optimization, or SEO in short, is indeed a methodology that marketers utilize to boost their rankings in search engines such as Google. However, there is clearly much more to it than that.

Having a website that offers good content is indeed a subjective perspective as what makes a website good or bad is totally dependent on how your target audience views it. As such, SEO techniques have been rather crude whereby rankings have been determined based on something we like to call keywords.

These keywords are perhaps the backbone of the current SEO marketing strategy where companies and startups are in a never-ending race to find the keywords that will shoot their website right at the top.

However, such a technique fails to realize that it will result in a lot of irrelevant content.

The conventional keyword-rich content strategy


Content strategy has been mostly associated with understanding the target audience and then delivering content based on what they search for rather than why they search for it and what other alternatives they might be interested in.

This has largely been the trend and this probably explains why most are not able to find what they are looking for. This is because keyword-based search looks out for specific words that matches those in your ad.

For instance, if you have a clothing business and you wish to advertise your product on Google, you will have to start by creating an ad from the many tools that Google provides. Using these, you will firstly have to search for the specific keywords that are popular in your niche.

That is, whenever a user searches, he or she types in a query that contains certain keywords that belong to what he/she is looking for. So, for instance, if the user is looking for a black t-shirt, the keywords typed may include “cheap black t-shirts” or just “t-shirts”.

Thus, these words get recorded by google and are put on an auction whereby SEO specialists need to buy the keywords for their ads. The more competitive a keyword is, the more expensive it gets.

The keywords “t-shirts”, “black” and other related words are likely to form the advertising campaign for a business that sells black t-shirts.

Therefore, if your website has good quality content with the relevant keywords, it is likely that your website will pop up first when a user types in the query “black t-shirts”. This is how the present SEO roughly works.

However, Google seems to be moving away from this and is attempting to develop technologies that will bring more relevant content. This undoubtedly has major implications for content developers and SEO experts alike who have grown accustomed to this method of optimization.

Why is it so?

You may be wondering as to why Google is trying to innovate the whole process and what is wrong with the current search landscape.

Well, to begin with, Google has always been at the forefront of search engine technology and this is evident by the fact that Google is the primary search engine that most people use to search for information.

In addition, the digital space seems to be evolving at a pace faster than ever. This implies that the traditional content strategies may prove to be irrelevant given the vast amount of information available on different platforms.

That is, social media and smart technology that understand users’ needs have been growing exponentially. This implies that search engines need to evolve in order to take into account this outburst of sharable information that is providing ever more relevant and intuitive content.

Social media, for instance, has grown from just consisting of websites that allow us to chat with one another to a whole new stand-alone identity creation digital space where billions of users are active, sharing and delivering content that appeals to a certain group of audience.

The current SEO tools, however, fall short of the ability to monitor, analyze and produce insights that will allow marketers to understand their consumers on different platforms on a much deeper level.

As such, given the dominant position of Google in the search engine market along with the changing digital environment, the search engine giant has taken a leap forward to innovate the landscape even further in order to become more proactive rather than reactive.

A more integrated service


Instead of seeing social media, content, search engines and smart technologies as disparate, Google has been attempting to combine all of these to produce a one-stop shop for users who can easily find what they are looking for in a much more intuitive and convenient manner.

As such, technologies such as Google Now, Hummingbird and Google+ are leading the way in search and replacing the traditional tools with newer ones to monitor various metrics and hence allow for better content strategy.

In essence, all of these technologies can be combined into more sophisticated gadgets such as the Apple watch to deliver even more personalized content that will attract the customer in the most organic way possible.

To get a grasp on what is being said here, one needs to understand the basic idea of what these technologies involve.

Google Now, for instance, is a technology that is a personal digital assistant which allows you to use natural language to search for information. The technology is integrated with algorithms that will allow it to understand your behavior and as such produce relevant results.

Hummingbird, on the other hand, is a much more advanced form of algorithm that will not only analyze keywords of your search query to provide information, but will also analyze the context in which you are trying to search for something. This will result in a more intuitive experience as it will know exactly what you are looking for.

Similarly, Google+ has become a platform where users can build their own identity, thus allowing other Google technologies to understand you better.

Combining all these implies that SEO specialists will need to alter their strategy and come up with content that is more intuitive and focus more on the intent of the user for searching a particular thing.

Right now, SEO techniques rely largely upon the keywords that users type in their search queries. Although this reveals some insights as to what the trends are, it however, does not offer personalized content.

Results pop-up that are irrelevant and yet appear for a search query just because they either contain the keyword or a synonym that matches with the search query. As such, the user is inundated with billions of results most of which do not relate to what the user is searching for.

What does it mean for online marketing?

woman hand pressing online marketing icon on blue background with world map

All of this surely has huge implications for those who are playing in the field of online marketing. It means that they will have to let go of the traditional SEO tools and adapt to the ever-changing world of search engine technology.

Nevertheless, it seems that the online marketing community has been quite reluctant to accept such changes as is evident from their relentless pursuit to find alternatives that offer them the same conventional tools to carry out their SEO activities.

What these individuals need to realize is that the world of technology is changing and one cannot simply stick to the old. As users evolve and become more tech-savvy, it is likely that they will expect better content.

This implies that SEO specialists and content creators need to adapt to the changes as soon as possible in order to reach the users more effectively. This will not only keep them in the field, but will also help them understand their own target audience on a much deeper level.

Using the latest measurement tools and changing the way websites are optimized, marketers will able to improve customer retention which in turn, will boost their popularity among their target audience.

In the end, content strategy should not only revolve around the use of keywords but also around what the user really wants and how he or she will go about searching for it.

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