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The future of seo in the uae

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Greg Jarboe's presentation of "The future of SEO in the UAE lies in the 'messy middle' of the purchase journey" to the New Media Academy on December 16, 2020.

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The future of seo in the uae

  1. 1. The future of SEO in the UAE lies in the ‘messy middle’ of the purchase journey Greg Jarboe President and co-founder of SEO-PR New Media Academy guest speaker 16 December 2020
  2. 2. I teach an 8-hour long virtual masterclass on SEO, but here’s what you need to learn in under an hour • Search reverses the classic model of communication published in 1948. • The old mass media model focused on: “Who says what in which channel to whom with what effect?” • The new search engine model focuses on: Who seeks what in which channel from whom with what effect?” • If you didn’t learn this at university, then it’s not your fault. • Most universities still don’t offer courses on SEO, although they should. • Here’s what you need to learn about SEO that I can teach in under an hour.
  3. 3. In 1998, I realized that search engines reversed Harold Lasswell’s classic model of communication Harold Lasswell’s classic model of communication via mass media (1948) Greg Jarboe’s model of information seeking via search engines (1998) Source: Greg Jarboe, Search Engine Journal, “The future of SEO lies in the ‘messy middle’ of the purchase journey,” 16 December 2020
  4. 4. If you hire search engine optimizers, then here’s what you need to know in order to manage them • Who: Identify your target audiences. • Seeks what: Use Google Trends to find what they are searching for. • In which channel: Focus on Google, which is a verb as well as a noun. • From whom: Google has more than 200 signals and many have over 50 variations within a single factor. • With what effect: Use Google Surveys or Google Forms as well as Google Analytics to measure your results. Source: Greg Jarboe, Search Engine Journal, “The future of SEO lies in the ‘messy middle’ of the purchase journey,” 16 December 2020
  5. 5. Your target audiences in the UAE and the rest of the world (except China) are using Google.com The UAE’s most-visited websites (SimilarWeb) as of January 2020 The world’s most-visited websites (SimilarWeb) as of October 2020 Sources: We Are Social and Hootsuite, Digital 2020, United Arab Emirates, January 2020, and Global October Snapshot Report, October 2020
  6. 6. To describe their target audiences, many marketers create fictional characters that are called ‘personas’ • If you rely solely on demographics to create your personas, then you can miss 69% of your potential consumers. • Demographics rarely tell the whole story. • Search intent – what consumers are looking for – is much more powerful. • For example, consider video games. • The data shows that only 31% of mobile searchers for video games are young men ages 18 to 34. • Target demographically and you’d miss 69% of mobile users who are expressing interest in buying the next big game. Source: Think with Google, “How search enables people to create a unique path to purchase,” January 2019
  7. 7. And different intent-based personas have unique consumer journeys across the video game category Sita, 34, spent 68 days and 80+ touchpoints (19 searches and 3 videos) Tom, 29, spent 28 days and 550+ touchpoints (14 searches and 4 videos) Source: Think with Google, “How search enables people to create a unique path to purchase,” January 2019
  8. 8. For those willing to look beyond the demographic stereotypes, the opportunities are immense • Power of now: The longer you have to wait for a product, the weaker the proposition becomes. • Social proof: Recommendations and reviews from others can be very persuasive. • Authority bias: Being swayed by a knowledgeable expert, authority on a subject, or trusted information source. • Power of free: A free gift with a purchase, even if unrelated, can be a powerful motivator. Source: Alistair Rennie and Jonny Protheroe, Think with Google, “How people decide what to buy lies in the ‘messy middle’ of the purchase journey,” July 2020
  9. 9. Find what your target audiences in the UAE and worldwide are searching for with Google Trends • Consumer search behavior has changed rapidly and unpredictably during the coronavirus pandemic. • That’s why conducting keyword research is now more important than ever to understand the latest shifts in consumer search intent. • I use several keyword research tools. • But, the first tool that I want to teach you how to use is Google Trends. • Launched in May 2005, I use this tool virtually every day to explain things that go bump in the night. Source: Google Trends, UAE, Search Interest in restaurants and COVID-19, 14 December 2020
  10. 10. Google Trends uses an anonymized sample of the billions of searches that Google handles per day • Google Trends provides access to a largely unfiltered sample of actual search requests made to Google. • While only a sample of searches are used in Google Trends, this is sufficient because Google handles billions of searches per day. • It’s anonymized (no one is personally identified), categorized (determining the topic for a search query), and aggregated (grouped together). • This allows Google to display interest in a particular topic from around the globe or down to city-level geography. Source: Google Trends, UAE, Search interest in Dubai Mall and Abu Dhabi Mall, 14 December 2020
  11. 11. Google Trends lets you compare search interest as far back as 2004 and up to 36 hours before it’s used Source: Google Trends, Worldwide, Search Interest in flights to Dubai and hotels in Dubai, 14 December 2020
  12. 12. Scroll down and you’ll see the interest by region and the top related queries for your search term Source: Google Trends, Worldwide, Search Interest in flights to Dubai and hotels in Dubai, 14 December 2020
  13. 13. Marketers often think of search as a lower-funnel channel, but consumer journeys are more complex • Marketers often think of search as a lower-funnel channel, but consumer journeys have become ever messier, resembling a chaotic scavenger hunt. • Elmo Lewis’ theoretical customer journey from Awareness and Interest to Desire and Action (AIDA) was created in 1898. • William Townsend introduced the funnel concept in 1924. • But, these late 19th Century and early 20th Century models don’t adequately explain 21st century behavior, which features switchbacks, hairpin bends, and dead ends. Source: Alistair Rennie and Jonny Protheroe, Think with Google, “How people decide what to buy lies in the ‘messy middle’ of the purchase journey,” July 2020
  14. 14. Between the purchase trigger at the top and the purchase itself at the bottom is the ‘messy middle’ • Google’s consumer insights team observed several hundred hours of shopping tasks, covering 310 different journeys across 31 categories. • In these tasks, shoppers were asked to research a product for which they were currently in-market. • Journeys were recorded using screen capture audio and video, while shoppers explained what they were doing. • Google’s consumer insights team made an initial attempt at describing what they’d seen on a Post-It Note. Source: Alistair Rennie and Jonny Protheroe, Think with Google, “How people decide what to buy lies in the ‘messy middle’ of the purchase journey,” July 2020
  15. 15. Through the research, an updated decision-making model began to take shape of the ‘messy middle’ • People look for information about a category’s products and brands, and then weigh all the options. • This equates to two different mental modes in the messy middle: exploration, an expansive activity, and evaluation, a reductive activity. • Whatever a person is doing, across a huge array of online sources, such as search engines, social media, and review sites, can be classified into one of these two mental modes. Source: Alistair Rennie and Jonny Protheroe, Think with Google, “How people decide what to buy lies in the ‘messy middle’ of the purchase journey,” July 2020
  16. 16. The consumer insights team used Google Trends data to find real-world evidence of their model • People use search to look for information about a particular thing. • But, because the amount of available information is so vast, searches are often modified with an additional word or phrase that describes what the searcher wants to know about the thing. • Google’s consumer insights team looked at seven main search modifiers: “ideas”, “best”, “difference between”, “cheap”, “deals”, “reviews”, and “discount codes”. • They found some have a more expansive, information-gathering intention, and others are more reductive and clarifying. Source: Alistair Rennie and Jonny Protheroe, Think with Google, “How people decide what to buy lies in the ‘messy middle’ of the purchase journey,” July 2020
  17. 17. Marketers can succeed in the messy middle by providing the content that consumers are seeking • Although the messy middle might seem a complicated place, it’s important to remember that to consumers it just feels like normal shopping. • So, the goal isn’t to force people to exit the loop shown in the model, but to provide them with the information and reassurance they need to make a decision. • Whether you’re a category giant or a challenger brand, the approach is the same: • Ensure brand presence so your product or service is strategically front of mind while your customers explore. • Employ behavioral science principles intelligently and responsibly to make your proposition compelling as consumers evaluate their options. • Close the gap between trigger and purchase so your existing and potential customers spend less time exposed to competitor brands. • Build flexible, empowered teams who can work cross-functionally to avoid traditional branding and performance silos that are likely to leave gaps in the messy middle. Source: Alistair Rennie and Jonny Protheroe, Think with Google, “How people decide what to buy lies in the ‘messy middle’ of the purchase journey,” July 2020
  18. 18. But, Google has over 200 signals and many of them have more than 50 variations within a single factor • SEO may seem like alchemy to the uninitiated, but there is a science to it. • Search Engine Land’s “Periodic Table of SEO Factors” arranges the 29 success factors that are foundational elements for creating a successful SEO strategy into 6 groups: Content, Architecture, HTML, Trust, Links, and Users. • On the upper right, you’ll also find 6 Toxins, which represent practices that can harm your SEO efforts and even get you penalized by the search engines. • Below that, you’ll see 4 Emerging Verticals that are growing in importance. Source: Search Engine Land, “Periodic Table Of SEO Factors 2019”
  19. 19. Use Google’s new Grow My Store tool to evaluate retail websites in our ever-changing environment • It doesn’t conduct a comprehensive SEO audit, but it does let you explore rising industry trends and compare your business to other retailers. • For example, I entered the URL for the Google Merchandise Store and saw that the website’s score was 69%, while industry’s score was 58%. • My report added, “Your website is ticking a lot of boxes when it comes to delivering a great customer experience, but we do have a few suggestions to bump it up to ‘Best in Class’.” Source: Google, Grow My Store
  20. 20. Grow My Store analyzes your retail website and offers tips to improve your customer experience • Grow My Store assesses your website’s customer experience and gives you tips on how to improve. • It generates personalized reports by looking for keywords related to customer experience topics within your website. • If the tool can find these keywords within 10 pages of the URL you provide, then you pass the relevant section. • The tool currently supports Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish sites. • More languages are in the pipeline. Source: Google, Grow My Store, 15 December 2020
  21. 21. Use Google Surveys/Google Forms and Google Analytics/Search Console to measure SEO results Brand lift Traffic Leads Keyword research My counter-intuitive model of information seeking via search engines enables you to measure each step of the purchase journey.
  22. 22. I’ve used this counter-intuitive approach to SEO to generate results for a wide variety of organizations • $2.5 million in ticket sales over 14 months for Southwest Airlines. • 450,000 unique visitors in 24 hours to The Christian Science Monitor’s site. • 36% increase in brand searches for the Better Homes and Gardens site. • 129,155 entries to the annual cover photo contest for Parents magazine. • Increase in brand lift, traffic, and leads for a new online Master’s program offered by Rutgers University. Source: SEO-PR’s Digital Marketing Case Studies
  23. 23. For example, I used Google Surveys before and after a campaign for Rutgers University last year • I found that the percentage of respondents who said they were “familiar with” Rutgers had increased from 13.8% pre-launch to 18.5% post- launch. • I also found that the percentage of respondents who said they were “very likely” to recommend Rutgers to a friend or colleague who was interested in getting an online Master’s degree from Rutgers had increased from 16.7% pre-launch to 19.0% post-launch. Source: Greg Jarboe, Search Engine Journal, “The future of SEO lies in the ‘messy middle’ of the purchase journey,” 16 December 2020
  24. 24. I also used Google’s Campaign URL Builder tool to track SEO and PR campaigns in Google Analytics • Using Google’s Campaign URL Builder tool, I found that: • Website SEO generated 3% of the new users, but 19% of the leads. • Press release SEO generated 1% of the new users, but 8% of the leads. • LinkedIn ads generated 81% of the new users, but 37% of the leads. • Google Ads generated 11% of the new users, but 18% of the leads. • So, I used the same metrics for SEO, Digital PR, and Digital Advertising – including pay-per-click ads. Source: Greg Jarboe, Search Engine Journal, “The future of SEO lies in the ‘messy middle’ of the purchase journey,” 16 December 2020
  25. 25. So, you now know what you need to know about SEO in order to manage search engine optimizers • Who: Identify your target audiences. • Seeks what: Use Google Trends to find what they are searching for. • In which channel: Focus on Google, which is a verb as well as a noun. • From whom: Google has more than 200 signals and many have over 50 variations within a single factor. • With what effect: Use Google Surveys or Google Forms as well as Google Analytics to measure your results. Source: Greg Jarboe, Search Engine Journal, “The future of SEO lies in the ‘messy middle’ of the purchase journey,” 16 December 2020

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