The search landscape is expanding rapidly. People increasingly turn to various platforms for their search needs instead of relying solely on traditional Google searches.
In this evolving landscape, a brand’s visibility is crucial, as consumers are bombarded with messaging at every scroll, click, and swipe.
With recent developments like Search Generative Experience and Google’s Perspectives feeds, dominating the SERPs is a top priority for SEO professionals.
From Google’s familiar SERPs to the dynamic realms of TikTok and Instagram reels, each platform offers a unique opportunity for brands to share their stories.
However, just having a presence isn’t enough. It’s about crafting compelling, optimized, relevant content that resonates with your audience, aligns with your search strategies, and serves your business goals.
This article will explore how your brand can conquer the search universe by creating authentic, engaging, and valuable content that attracts and retains consumers’ attention.
1. Hone in on experience, expertise, authority and trustworthiness (E-E-A-T)
There can be as many discussions around emerging platforms for search as you like, but Google is still the head honcho when it comes to search.
Because of this, sending the correct signals to Google within your content remains of the highest importance. It just so happens that their E-E-A-T guidelines also reflect users’ needs from content, so they’re a great starting point.
E-E-A-T must be at the core of content strategy development. When choosing content topics, always assess whether your brand has direct experience or unique expertise. This ensures you produce content to inspire, educate, or entertain users.
Conducting gap analysis and keyword research helps you see how well-positioned your brand is to send these signals. From here, you’ll begin to:
- Understand where your brand lacks first-hand experience and where to fill an expertise gap.
- Strategize ways to develop trustworthiness with an audience and establish topical authority.
At this point, you can look to build relationships with content creators, conduct an internal search for topic experts, or even connect with subject matter experts who can fill the gaps.
While E-E-A-T is a Google consideration, it also reflects the thought process of users and audiences when they are searching.
Leveraging this step as almost a “right-to-rank” activity is a foundational stage for any content strategy.
2. Understand what content needs to be created and where to place it
Once you have established which topics you feel you are well-positioned to discuss, think of how to effectively discuss them.
This used to be relatively easy as the default was to create long-form, text-based content, typically as a blog or guide.
However, in 2023, your users are engaging with multiple content types, meaning you need to consider how to effectively satisfy the intent behind the search query.
The goal here is to understand what signals your users are giving us.
You will likely lean into video content if you recognize that content around a query is popular on YouTube and TikTok. Similarly, if you notice a trend on Pinterest, you will explore image content as a solution.
As Google Perspectives enters the conversation, I anticipate this step getting simpler, as you can leverage Google data to understand the types of queries that carry ample search volume.
After establishing what content users leverage Perspectives for, you can inspect content types and forms in further detail.
In the short term? Leverage tools like Glimpse – a Chrome extension that provides wider knowledge around trending topics – on Google Trends.
Look at the signals in the tool’s “Channels” feed. This lets you understand users’ expectations around content solutions for given keywords, hashtags and ideas.
This step has become crucial in my content strategy for brands. In the past, I primarily analyzed Google SERP features, People also ask questions, and competitors’ content.
Today, understanding where queries are most prominent lets me determine where content needs to be placed.
This step allows us to identify video content opportunities, creator-led considerations or reaffirm that Google is the go-to destination.
Overall, this approach ensures that your strategy reflects your users instead of shoe-horning content solutions around a Google-only approach.
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3. Platform-specific content customization
In the evolving search universe, different content platforms act like distinct planets – each with its own personality, audience, and algorithms.
For brands aiming to succeed and connect with their audience on these platforms, merely having a presence isn’t sufficient.
The content created must feel native to each platform, underscoring the importance of platform-specific content customization.
For example, if users are searching on TikTok, your content should align with the platform’s style (i.e., vertical, short-form videos) to resonate with the audience effectively.
Let’s explore how to ensure you’re working toward platform-specific content creation and customization.
Native content creation
Platforms are not mere distribution channels; they are unique stages.
Content shouldn’t be created once and distributed everywhere. Instead, it should be crafted or tailored to align with the platform’s nature.
Think of it like translating a message into different languages. The core message remains the same, but the delivery varies to cater to the specific audience and the solutions they crave on a specific platform.
Understand platform nuances
Each platform has its own set of rules and preferences.
From content duration and format to engagement metrics and peak activity times, myriads of factors can influence your content’s success.
Recognizing and respecting these nuances ensures that your content feels organic and relevant.
Users approach platforms with different mindsets. For instance, what a user seeks on a video-centric platform might differ from a community-driven forum.
Brands should be attuned to these expectations, ensuring content aligns with the audience’s intent and platform experience.
When brands do not achieve this, this can be a real turn-off for users.
Consistency in diversity
While the medium and method might change, your brand voice and core message should remain consistent.
This strengthens brand identity and ensures that while the delivery might vary, the essence is recognizable across platforms.
The search universe is ever-evolving. Platform preferences shift, algorithms get updated, and user behaviors most certainly change.
To truly dominate the content game, brands must stay informed and be ready to adapt their strategies based on platform-specific insights.
4. Future-proof your strategies
A successful content strategy isn’t limited to the present but looks ahead to the future.
By staying open to learning and ongoing content improvement, brands stay current with changing trends and tools, avoiding being stuck in outdated practices.
But it’s not only about knowing; it’s also about putting that knowledge into action.
The key lies in cultivating a strategy that is rooted yet flexible. As new platforms emerge and user preferences shift, brands should be agile enough to pivot without reinventing the wheel.
This agility is complemented by an eagerness to harness the latest technological advancements, whether that’s AI-driven analytics or immersive VR experiences, Google Perspectives or SGE.
However, even with these shifts, it’s crucial to prioritize the audience’s perspective.
Stay tuned with evolving search behaviors and consistently review analytics and feedback to gain valuable insights about current sentiments and future expectations.
While the future may be uncertain, you can be ready with scenario planning. Envision different paths for the search landscape and strategize how to position your brand in this evolving environment.
In doing so, you build a content strategy responsive to today’s digital rhythm and ready to dance to tomorrow’s tune.
5. Creator-led SEO: Foster collaborations and partnerships
“If content is king, experience is queen,” as I highlighted in a Search Engine Land article, “Why creator-led content marketing is the future of search.”
Partnerships and collaborations have emerged as powerful tools to amplify reach, diversify content offerings, and tap into new audiences – all while showcasing experience.
More than just a means to pool resources, strategic collaborations can:
- Bring a fresh perspective.
- Add credibility.
- Build trust among audiences
All this is vital for the other considerations we have covered above.
By aligning with influencers who share similar values and audiences with your brand, you can co-create content that offers diverse viewpoints while maintaining consistency in messaging.
These partnerships let you explore innovative content formats and platforms, reaching new audiences or re-engaging current ones.
Brands can benefit from these collaborations by expanding their online presence beyond just Google search results, ensuring a broader digital dominance.
Collaborations with influencers bring a human touch to a brand’s digital presence.
Authentic endorsements or shared content from trusted figures can significantly elevate brand perception and reach, particularly among younger audiences who value peer recommendations – E-E-A-T signals sent!
Furthermore, partnerships can pave the way for cross-promotion, where both parties benefit from shared audiences, leading to mutual growth.
This extends beyond content creation. Joint webinars, shared research reports, or collaborative events can deepen engagement and position both entities as thought leaders.
Navigating the new search universe: Enhancing your brand’s visibility beyond Google
Optimizing for search is no longer limited to traditional engines like Google. As consumers explore new platforms, we must adapt and refine our strategies.
Prioritizing expertise, trustworthiness, and genuine connections can help you stand out and build authority.
These considerations go beyond steps. They form a holistic approach to address changing user behaviors.
In a world where attention is precious, brands must move past visibility to connect and engage effectively. SEO in 2024 and beyond is all about building relationships.
Remember, adaptability is crucial. The digital world is ever-changing, with new platforms emerging and old ones fading.
You can navigate and excel in this vast and evolving search landscape by grounding your strategy in understanding and authenticity.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.