Future-Proof Your SEO Career in a Mobile World

My last posts for both ClickZ and Search Engine Watch discuss how the increasing influence of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) on web content is driving the development of other SEO techniques and processes. Today, the evolution of organic search and the adaptive flexibility of SEO are highly evident via the progressive influence of mobile on the modern tech landscape.

The Mobile App Market’s Impact on SEO

In their natural incarnation, mobile apps are an alternative to the traditional search engine. Apps provide a direct link to a brand’s digital app assets. They are also the outcome of customer optimization and personalization initiatives.

The mobile app market has exploded with millions of apps being developed and fielded across all industries active in online marketing. New vertical search engines on Google Play and Apple iTunes have arisen to support Android and iOS platforms. Therefore, ranking on the first page in a relevant search query is still important.

Most SEO teams are aware that they need to accommodate these changes and work with app developers to embed and integrate quality practices that are able to address the technical needs of SEO. App store optimization (ASO) was designed to adapt to SEO practices. Additionally, traditional search engines have responded to the loss of advertising revenue with methods like mobile app indexing and deep linking. These tactics allow search engines to index app and content practices with published deep links and target relevant content deep within the app. As a result, search engines can include mobile apps in standard search queries.

Not all browsers support deep linking, but these do:

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer, version 6 or later
  • Firefox for Windows and Macintosh
  • Safari for Macintosh

Currently, a combination of browser restrictions and a requirement to enable JavaScript limits the availability of deep linking. However, this will obviously change over time.

The Reality of Search Engine Evolution

SEO professionals must have an agile mindset to keep up with both customer needs and the search engine’s ability to be responsive to those needs. Discoverability of relevant content that produces customer lead generation and revenue remains the bottom line, and it’s important to do what it takes to make this happen. Here are a few examples that demonstrate this:

1. Google Knowledge Graph

Real estate on device displays is driving adaptations for organic search. The maturing information in Google’s Knowledge Graph will eventually reduce the number of organic search results presented in reply to a search query. We’re consistently seeing this in Direct or Quick Answers results.

The logic is simple. If Google’s Knowledge Graph knows the right answer with a high degree of certainty, only that result will be provided. What’s the point of providing additional search results that confirm the same truth? Not only does it makes sense and save many square inches of device display real estate, but customers are also protected from a data overload. The interesting wrinkle will be to see if the people doing the search query have enough trust in the search engine to accept this one answer at face value. Of course, Google is testing this.

2. The Internet of Things

The platform of choice for VR and AR technology is the mobile app. I’ve covered this in a prior blog post, which aligns with the customer-centric marketing frenzy.

From the IoT point of view, AR- and VR-supported devices, such as head-mounted visors, and wearables continue the trend of minimizing the number of returned organic search results.

3. Google Mobile Primary Ads

The reality of the new mobile ad format is that the ad will take up half the screen and push organic results below the fold. The jury is still out on the effectiveness of primary ads on mobile devices. But speculating just a bit, if they catch on and the customer likes them, how will organic listings compete in results?

The Organic Search Professional’s Response

The mandate of organic search is to adapt and evolve, and social media search engines, paid search, mobile app search engines, and vertical retail search engines are currently here to stay. Because it is the bedrock of online marketing, the SEO skill set will always be in demand. In addition, the ever-evolving nature of the search engine industry demands that search marketers make a continuous effort to expand, diversify, and improve their proficiency.

Looking to the future, how will Google, Apple, Microsoft, and global engines require a change in practice? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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