On this new multichannel world, website positioning is not only for fans

I remember planning an e-commerce event last year and asking a colleague about his areas of interest. “How it all fits together,” he replied.

So I think of the last year in digital and marketing in general – a lot of brands try to make things fit together well.

As digital transformation accelerated, 2020 felt like a turning point. Perhaps the point where “digital” really became a redundant adjective in many marketing job titles and even business models.

This is also where more and more CMOs should understand how digital activities contribute to long-term brand building. In fact, this is one of the trends for Econsultancy founder Ashley Friedlein for 2021, the so-called “digital bothism”.

The idea is a pastiche of Mark Ritson’s concept of “Marketing Bothism,” the notion that marketers should have a Bothist mindset to balance long-term branding and short-term sales activation – qualitatively and quantitatively; Strategy and creativity; Segmentation / targeting and mass marketing; listen and lead change.

Omnichannel retail isn’t new, but channel balancing is more important than ever

Friedlein describes the opportunities in the digital as a Bothist and says that although “digital marketing is usually treated as … a short-term, measurable marketing tactic,” there are also many “long-term digital” approaches. In addition to data and a SaaS mindset, he cites SEO as an example: “SEO is mainly about reputation, quality, credibility and authority. SEO is a long-term investment, similar to building brand equity. “

The importance of the search

SEO is something I wanted to write about in the context of the pandemic. It’s a discipline that has been stereotypically misunderstood by management, viewed by some as a discreet step in creating or migrating a website, and only noticed when it goes horribly wrong. However, an encouraging number of marketing leaders and professionals have spoken about the importance of search over the past 12 months.

In an interview on The Drum, Russ Findlay, CMO of Hiscox Group, advises B2B marketers in 2021 to focus on the cost-effective ways to build your brand, including email capabilities, technical SEO, and “making sure your content -Pipeline is in a place you have “. am proud of it. “

Marketing Week columnist and econometrician Grace Kite writes of search data as “a gold mine for marketing strategy,” as does one of her youngest associates, Pascal Moyon, for Econsultancy. In addition, there is a real “who’s who” of analysts and consultants who have discussed the metric “Share of Search” as a substitute for “Share of Voice”. Using search data for measurement is different from SEO practice, I’ll admit, but everything points to the importance of the channel.

This is of course not exactly new, digital PR and SEO have been around for years. But it’s worth remembering that Google’s advertising revenue has grown from $ 28 billion to nearly $ 150 billion over the past decade. And any company that sells online can tell you how important it is to search.

Toys R Us dropped out in 2018 for many reasons (tired stores out of town, Amazon), and while poor SEO probably wasn’t a deciding factor, there are search bloggers referring to aspects of Toys R Us website as needing improvement in 2017- 18 (such as product images and website structure). In the end, the multichannel competitors Smyths and Argos took just as much market share as Amazon.

Any company that sells online can tell you how important it is to search.

Incidentally, it is no surprise that one of Smyths’ SEO specialists is described on the LinkedIn profile: “[implementing] Systems to ensure that all departments are SEO aware of all website content ”. It is precisely this organizational awareness of SEO that is vital in ecommerce businesses that is becoming more common in other sectors where online penetration is increasing.

At FMCG, there are companies that are re-calibrating their ecommerce product portfolios to better suit not only online buyer preferences, but the way buyers search on platforms like Amazon. In the pharmaceutical industry, I spoke to the owner of a performance marketing agency who said that some companies have developed great strategies over large consulting firms but recently realized they needed to work on their SEO and information architecture (all from help in the case of paywalls to the optimization of landing pages) in order to maximize online visibility.

Usability means trust

SEO was generally important in the pandemic when the store went online for obvious reasons, but also for certain use cases like “schema markup” to allow retailers to accurately display information including product availability (in stock / out of stock) and Shipping information in the search results.

There is also the potential for SEO and content architecture expertise to become even more important depending on how Google launches its Page Experience update. The update will start this month by considering aspects of page loading in search rankings (such as speed and layout). This reinforces the already rather explicit connection between UX and ranking, usability and availability.

As mentioned, if we get search engine results pages that highlight usable sites (with some sort of badge) we could be pretty bogged down. Great UX is a big part of consumer confidence, something that will be on the agenda when new demographics go online. Cheryl Calverley, CEO of Eve Sleep, said at last year’s Econsultancy Live: “The wise consumer will have very different expectations of this e-commerce space.”

And beyond customer trust, brands that get UX right naturally have a huge advantage when it comes to accessibility. Up to 40% of UK households have at least one disabled person – designing for these users is likely to bring additional benefits in terms of search visibility but also conversion for all users.

So SEO is more about credibility and authority, but also about what your customers want, not dark art.

There are, of course, some caveats here. What we are talking about is generally most relevant to generic searches. In branding, even if you have a crappy website, as a big brand, you’re likely to rank high in organic results, even though you may be suffering from poor conversion. As Helen Edwards put it so eloquently in a recent Marketing Week column: “Digital is a downstream discipline”. No brand will be successful through pure optimization or website experience.

But only a decade since Econsultancy launched its Jump Conference to enable the industry to grapple with this newfangled “joined-up marketing”, we’ve got to a point where “everything fits together”, through many online – and offline channels, is simply part of life. That’s why the all-encompassing concept of the customer experience caught the imagination. (Boring industry trivia: Jump was one of four events that eventually became the Festival of Marketing).

Taking the time to understand metatags, site structure, and performance – even canonicals and schemas – isn’t just for the enthusiast. SEO offers long-term value and, as Econsultancy’s Ashley Friedlein puts it in the contrarianism of Bothism, marketing is now “for both people and machines.”

Econsultancy offers e-learning, live learning online workshops and skill mapping in the areas of digital, marketing and e-commerce.

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