A major theme in our centred around radical changes to user expectations of search, whether that’s answering queries with features that don’t require clicking through to a site, or creating feeds with content without being prompted by queries at all.
One of the leading developments being touted by Google is the Discover feed, an endless reel of stories tailored to users based on their search preferences and digital fingerprints.
In our predictions, we debated how this new way of serving content would change SEO, content, and outreach strategies. Search queries no longer happen in isolation; users search around a topic or product in multiple sessions across a longer time period. Search engines must then be able to recognise this journey and tailor the way content is served accordingly.
As we move away from a standard search engine results page (SERP) experience, brands are going to have to adapt their marketing to stay visible to users throughout this extended journey. The goal for brands is not a new one: to earn trust from users by appearing to be an authority in their field, and by appearing in content and news stories across the web.
Despite this goal not being new, the opportunities which come from nailing this strategy are now greater, as Google Discover will surface this content directly to the target audiences’ phone. What makes the cut on any one user’s feed depends solely on what content they’ve engaged with directly.
- Engagement is key
A key consideration for strategists is to maximise engagement with their brand and with their content. Whether this means ramping up social media promotion, email marketing or PR outreach, higher levels of engagement will bolster chances of inclusion on potential customers’ Discover page.
- Think outside the funnel
As the content reaching users via this feed is unlikely to be promotional, how brands advertise themselves is going to have to become even more veiled. Targeting long-tail keywords to generate interest may be too close to the line, so marketers will have to think about including the brand in conversations much further up the funnel. A focus on longer-than-long-tail search queries will attract a much wider audience, as well as catering for dedicated return customers.
- Influence remains strong
This hyper-personalisation of SERPs could intensify focus on creating personas to understand search journey. Such findings will impact major branches of digital strategy, such as outreach opportunities and advertising platforms. As content generated by news sites and blogs is likely to dominate Discover, this may also hand over more power to influencers, who specialise in hyper-personal marketing.
- Quality comes first, always
Encouraging digital marketers and brands to put valuable, quality content first is a value preserved by Google. All parties should be concerned with producing the best possible resources for users, and promoting them via quality links and authors from trustworthy platforms.