Xcede's Digital Recruitment division has been specialising in placing SEO professionals into leading in-house and agencies for over seven years. SEO approaches vary from industry to industry and with an ever-changing market it is important to keep up-to-date with developments. Our SEO specialist met up with SEO Guru Omi Sido to hear his thoughts on how search engine optimisation has developed, and key factors that effecting the industry.
Which industries do you feel have the most advanced approach to SEO, and why?
In my own experience industries (or rather companies) that are doing business internationally. In that matter, I see industries like travel and tourism heavily investing in SEO and digital marketing in general. One of the reasons would be the competitiveness mindset you need to have in order to be successful on the international scene. The other reason would be the broader vision you would need to have when dealing with people from different parts of the world - different cultures, customs and social behaviour. You truly need to understand and apply the building blocks of SEO.
How do you feel technology will change this market in the coming years?
In short, the search will shift to more conversational queries. Why? The main two reasons are the current 'mobile evolution' and the so-called Internet of Things (IoT). Smart appliances will be able to interpret and answer voice queries so the need to go to a website will entirely disappear. We already see Google and Amazon Alexa occupying this niche. I am not saying that the need of SEO will disappear. Instead of optimising to be found in the SERPS I believe we will be optimising to be found by the IoT algorithms. Of course, we may only guess what that optimisation may be but I am pretty sure that will include a lot of personalisation and localisation (we already see that with mobile optimisation).
What do you feel are the key differences in the approach to SEO across certain industries such as fashion, automotive and travel?
I cannot really go into the specifics as I haven't done enough SEO within the Fashion and the Automotive industry, but one thing to understand is that the one-size-fits-all approach is never a good thing. Not even within the same industry. High-end fashion company like Gucci will probably have a slightly different SEO (and PR and Social Media) strategy than an inexpensive company like Primark.
How does SEO interact with other marketing channels to generate the best results in these industries?
To truly answer this question I would probably need to write a whole book. Many marketers make the mistake of thinking of SEO within a silo. They couldn't be more wrong. Almost every other marketing channel and SEO share the same goal. Let me give you two examples:
SEO and PR - the common goal here will be delivering information about your brand to your target audience and expanding the reach of your company.
SEO and Social Media - both are aimed at increased brand awareness. Social Media can fuel SEO and SEO on the other side can fuel Social Media. Let me just remind you that when searching for a business by a brand name you will most likely see on page one a list of that business website and a list of its most active social channels.
How does the approach to SEO change when looking to attract a male or female customer?
Interesting question I may say. Let's first agree that each gender has a different way of processing information, dealing with problems, and spending free time. Understanding the best practices in SEO for your target market means intimately knowing what your customers do online. From my experience, a man looking for information sees this as his only mission. Men are always looking for the most direct path to the finish line. On the other hand, a woman looking for an answer will scroll down the page and will read all the information presented in order to solve a problem. Men are more about download speed and women are more about ease of use. As I said earlier you really need to know your clientele in order to be able to cater for both genders.
Do you feel SEO enhances the customer experience as effectively online as it does in store?
I've always had the strange feeling in my head that people do not truly understand the meaning of the term SEO. Many people think that we optimise solely for the search engines. But then search engines don't buy our products, people do. I've been telling my clients for a very long time now to optimise for customers and not page rank. Through SEO research we should able to identify who our audience is and what makes our company unique (in a way brings value) to our niche. When the right crowd comes to the right website the customer experience can only be positive.
How do you feel brands using newer and more advanced technologies in their products effects SEO for you?
If you are not adapting you are losing in the SEO game. SEO has never been for the slow and non-adventurous business people anyway.
Where do you think SEO will be in 2 years’ time?
Two years is an eternity in Internet time! To answer this question, I would have to be Nostradamus or look at trends. As my name is Omi I think in 2 years’ time we will no longer optimise for keywords but rather the search engines will deliver semantically optimised and extremely optimised content that is relevant only for YOU. In a way, your digital identity will define your digital experience. I know, it sounds a lot like Facebook.....
Overall, Omi's insight highlights that SEO not only differs between industries, but by technology, country, gender and platform. It is crucial to have an understanding of SEO and to be able to apply the building blocks of it whether you are a company or an individual trying to break into the field, especially if it’s a particular industry – the key is understanding the different audiences and how to appeal to them.