For Agencies SEO

Will Google Make Persona-Based SERPs? Interview with R2i

r2integrated is a leading technology-enabled digital marketing agency. Mike Tirone is r2i’s Digital Marketing Search Strategist, and Kara Alcamo is the Director of Search Marketing. At C3 (Conductor’s digital marketing conference in NYC this October 8-9), Mike and Kara will both lead sessions on search marketing tips, tricks & strategy. 

At R2i, you work closely with digital marketers from just about every size and vertical. What challenges, trends, and opportunities are you seeing in the industry right now?

Mike Tirone:

When it comes to digital, the trend is bigger, faster and more mobile. What I mean by that is the demands from the digital landscape are that users want bigger ideas, faster answers and on their mobile device.

Content is the main driver of the big idea boom. After Google encrypted organic keyword data nearly a year ago, the shift was made to be focused on categories, bigger concepts and expanding the idea of your site’s pages and overall messaging. The quality of content in turn improved.

Content is the main driver of the big idea boom.

Structured data markup is the avenue for getting your information in front of your users faster. By implementing detailed structured data onto your site’s pages, we’ve seen the click-through rate increase significantly. And that ties in the last part of mobile: by having more structured data, mobile users can access the data faster and more efficiently with applications such as Voice Search, Siri, Google Now, etc.

Kara Alcamo:

Personalization in my mind is the biggest thing. From personalized Coke cans to the hyper-viral ALS ice bucket challenge, the trend I’ve noticed across successful campaigns is that they’re heavily personalized. In both of those cases, they’re literally calling people out by name.

Today’s marketing technology allows us to bring more meaningful content to people at the right times. We are so far beyond just including a person’s name in the email salutation, for example, and getting into things like serving different banner images or different page content to different visitors based on their interests and histories.

Today’s marketing technology allows us to bring more meaningful content to people at the right times.

Adobe and Sitecore both come to mind as having this capability. Google already does this themselves with personalized search results, so it isn’t new, but the degree at which we as marketers can do it has improved.

coke personalized bottles

The implications of dynamic content on a site are clearly impactful to organic search, so as SEO experts we need to be prepared. I’m not talking just about making sure that you don’t run into issues regarding duplicate content or cloaking, but also how Google will react to these developments.

They already test site performance and delivery on various mobile devices, and show different results based on location and search history, so it isn’t a far stretch to think that Google may have different profiles to test what content is delivered by a site to various personas or profiles. They may then adjust their search results based on how relevant a site is to that profile/persona. This type of personalization technology isn’t widely adopted yet, but as with any technology I think it will become more accessible with time.

…It isn’t a far stretch to think that Google may have different profiles to test what content is delivered by a site to various personas or profiles. They may then adjust their search results based on how relevant a site is to that profile/persona.

Localization to me is just a subset of personalization, but that also has major implications. Things like iBeacons, for example, which can serve up ads or coupons for specific products as people shop in the store, are one taste of the hyperlocal, hyper personal style of marketing that could grow. Adoption rate or acceptance by consumers is a pretty big variable on that one though.

Mobile has been on the docket for a long time, but I have to say it. Mobile continues to grow and the approach to it is getting more refined. For example, how do your different personas interact on a mobile platform? Do they have different needs or asks on mobile versus desktop? Should you be setting different conversion or engagement points for people on mobile versus tablet or desktop?

Finally, predictive tools like Google Now, which use people’s history to serve up results before they even ask, are extremely interesting to me and also fall into that personalization realm. They can eliminate the need even to search for something, which of course is extremely relevant for search marketing professionals.

For example, Google Now can use your location and time of day to serve you restaurants near you that are open for dinner precisely at the time that you may be thinking about getting something to eat. How that impacts the way people interact with search remains to be seen, but it’s worth watching.

c3-search-marketing-conference

From right to left: Mike Tirone, Searchie, Chase Kreuter, Joe Taylor.

We’re excited you’re coming to C3! Why do you make the time to come to this marketing conference?

Mike Tirone:

I am going to C3 this year because it is by far the best conference for search marketing experts to gain relevant, hyper-focused and progressive insights on the industry as a whole all the way down to specific channels and tools.

Last year was my first time at C3, and I enjoyed the atmosphere, the knowledge transfer, the networking and overall excitement… so much so that I gushed in a blog post about it.

This year, I will be speaking about how to get big wins with some simple tips, tricks, advice and lessons learned. For all of the successes that we have at R2i, many have come after many rounds of testing or failures or client changes and some have become very vital for our team. Additionally, I will be speaking a lot on content and its relevance to not just SEO but the entire web presence.

At C3, I will be speaking about how to get big wins with some simple tips, tricks, advice and lessons learned. For all of the successes that we have at R2i, many have come after many rounds of testing or failures or client changes and some have become very vital for our team.

The importance of finding tactical ways to increase your ROI on SEO is simple: getting more bang for your buck. Everyone wants the number position on the search engine results page, but a lot of times they don’t understand why. They are not connecting the dots to see the value of ranking in the first position, they just know when it comes to SEO that they should be.

But we think holistically on behalf of our clients by having all of our strategies are focused on business goals. If we are not making our work leaner, more effective and more results-based, then we aren’t helping our clients succeed. Therefore by highlighting the tips on increasing your ROI from a channel like SEO, we provide marketers the ability to optimize their process and way of thinking, not just optimize their site for search engines.

Kara Alcamo:

This is actually my first time going to C3, but I have heard great things from everyone I know who has attended. I’m looking forward to connecting with other people in the industry and hearing what I anticipate will be some really insightful presentations.

Are there any resources (like blog posts, books or videos you love) that you’d like to recommend to our readers?

Mike Tirone:

I live and breathe by Moz’s Top 10, Google Webmaster Central blog, and anything coming from Search Engine Land. I also just scour Twitter to find really good insights from @randfish, @dannysullivan, @wilreynolds, @hubspot, @emarketer, @yext, @msweeny and obviously @conductor.

Kara Alcamo:

I’m a big fan of newsletters, actually. A few of my favorites are:

  • MediaPost Publications – They have a bunch that you can choose from, but I find they’re great for thinking beyond just search and can spark ideas based on what’s happening in other channels.
  • SearchCap from Search Engine Land – Gives you a recap of what happened in search every day. Super helpful.
  • Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Central Blog– Sign up for the newsletter to get the latest blog posts delivered to you. Quick and easy.
  •  Moz Blog – Again, just an easy way to get great content delivered to you.

Don’t miss out on the C3 2014 and its phenomenal community! Watch the video and see more of what you’ll learn at C3.

One Response to Will Google Make Persona-Based SERPs? Interview with R2i

  1. renlacerda21 says:

    Personalization, localization and Mobile. Kara got it to the T! I’m very excited and curious to see how dynamic content will develop and affect SEO in the next 5 to 10 years. Loved you both of you guys panels on C3!