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2017 Prediction: SEO and Content Become Customer-First Marketing

Focus on creating value for the customer in 2017 and good things will happen.

The future of great marketing isn’t just SEO or content. It’s putting your customer’s needs first. And you have direct access to your customers’ intent through search engines, like Google, where your customers express their problems and desires every day.

Here are 3 marketing trends you’ll see in 2017:

1. Your Customer is the Algorithm

For a long time, the SEO industry has been focused on technical optimizations – in other words, it has been focused on the search engine crawler rather than the person viewing the content.

Instead of trying to play to win at search marketing, we should play to win our customers. It’s a goal Google shares: Google is trying to make its algorithms a mirror image of the heart, mind, soul, and needs of a customer.

Instead of trying to play to win at search marketing, we should play to win our customers.

The big trend in 2017 will be a shift in mentality at top organizations, where the entire digital strategy (not just SEO/Content) will be focused on understanding who their customer is, what they want, and using the data from search engines to better understand customer intent.

By making content your customer needs – content that solves their problems – you will win the algorithm of the future.

2. Content & SEO Teams Become One

Companies will create a unified team focused on a customer-first strategy.

We are starting to see this happen at progressive companies (like Intuit & Uber), and it’s the org structure of the future. 

Great content without consideration for search demand won’t be found — so it just isn’t great content. On the flip side, the ROI is minimal when you’re creating content that ranks but is off-message or off-brand.

If you’re still creating content just for SEO, you’re doing it wrong. You need content that is artistic, creative, brand-driven, and optimized for long-term returns.

If you’re still creating content just for SEO, you’re doing it wrong.

Unifying your teams will help your company create content that inspires and meets the needs of your customers.

3. Customers over Content. Content Over Keywords.

Don’t optimize for keywords. Optimize your content for your customers.

Keywords are a way to understand your customer’s intent, however, focus on giving them what they want vs. jamming the keywords on the pages. Your keyword strategy is an element for how your content is performing vs. the main focus of your strategy.

If you create customer value in your marketing, you will win in the long term.

Want to see more marketing trends in 2017? Download our research study — we surveyed 387 marketing executives on their plans for 2017.

  • Michael Bouso

    The more I think about it, the more I happen to agree. Finding the keyword is becoming less about discovering opportunities and more about using the language that your customers use. The optimizations have to be there, but it seems that Google is getting better at filtering out content that’s only devoted to rank (at the expense of the customer). Depending on the vertical Google itself is providing content itself on top of the search results (either by snippets or from it’s own tools).

  • Interesting post Seth,

    Hope you do not mind me giving my take on 2017 SEO predictions?

    1. Knowledge Graph: Search Snippets dominating Google.
    2. Mobile First: Of course mobile has been discussed for a very long time in SEO. But up until now it has been a case of “your site is either mobile friendly or not” – a true or false scenario. However, there is now going to be different levels of mobile friendliness meaning you can be more mobile friendly than the next person….essentially the same way desktop ranking works.
    3. Selling: As mobile continues to dominate, structuring our site for selling on mobile is going to chance. Most people still by on desktop, but as mobile users skyrocket, people are going to need to adapt their sites to sell on the more complex mobile platform.
    4. Voice Search: Continuing with mobiles, more people are searching things on Google using “Voice Search” through their mobile phones (speaking to their phone). The way we look for data on Search Engines using voice search is different to the way we search for data while typing. Essentially we are going to have to change the way we add content on our articles so they they both rank for mobile & typing searches.

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