“SIRI, where can I find organic mushrooms?”
You’ve all seen the commercials for SIRI and are aware that smartphones are getting smarter. They perform on command and search for our answers. I’m just waiting for them to actually run my errands.
Search Marketing is fast becoming Answer Marketing (hey, did I just coin a new term?) and Google’s latest round of changes supports my theory. Google plans to deliver facts and information to questions asked—and reliable and trusted sources will be their selected choices. DING DING! Time to become the Answer Man or Answer Lady.
I recently wrote a post called “How to Turn Questions into Answers” and have been ranting about this for a few years now, as you can clearly see in this 2010 video. If that isn’t enough motivation to re-think your web content towards providing answers to questions, then the recent changes to Google’s search results should be.
What does that mean for you as a company? The Wall Street Journal recently reported on Google’s shift to semantic search. While Google’s position is that this is better for the searcher, who else benefits and who gets hurt?
Google is a search engine company and search results is their free service. Being the best search solution has to be a core goal for them. The search marketing game is to find ways to keep up with Google’s changes in order to have your website show up when someone searches with relevant terms—those keywords you hear about.
Google doesn’t make money directly from someone searching, nor do they make money from those who beat the ranking system. They make money from companies who advertise. Both search and data are being refined in a way that forces the advertising model. They are even suppressing that free data you used to get in their free analytics programs, which I reviewed in a recent post. It really doesn’t matter what Google’s intentions are—all that matters to small to mid-sized companies with small to miniscule budgets is how to get found.
Turning the search game upside down and inside out means that whatever you were doing to get found may not be enough anymore. And all that money going to SEO companies? Well, good luck with that. The continual refinement of results by Google will more than likely create a stronger need to move toward advertising, and the more advertising that is needed, the more expensive it will be as companies compete for keywords.
You might be thinking that I’m getting off topic, but I haven’t. The point is that if Google is going to be searching for Answers to Questions, then wouldn’t it make sense for you to rethink your web content to offer the Answers to those Questions?
Over the coming months, start using Google search to ask the questions that your prospective clients might be asking and review the results. Where do you come up—if at all? And in the meantime, to get a little ahead of your competitors with deeper pocketed marketing budgets, start re-crafting your website and online content to be the answers to those questions that Google would be proud to deliver.
Mardy Sitzer is a certified inbound marketing professional and president of Bumblebee Design & Marketing. Since 1993, Mardy has been delivering creative and innovative marketing solutions. An avid reader of all things internet and marketing, she also writes blogs, articles, and web content for industry magazines as well as for Bumblebee’s clients. She is an adjunct professor at Fordham University and instructor at Rutgers University teaching social media for business. Follow her on Twitter or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.