Search Marketing: What Happens When Everybody’s Website is Fixed?

What Happens When Everybody’s Website is Fixed?

Jono Alderson joined us a DigiConf to discuss what would happen if everybody’s website was fixed. Jono is a digital strategist, marketing technologist and full-stack developer. He manages special projects at Yoast, and was previously principal consultant at respected SEO agency Distilled.

For many years, SEO has been at the forefront of many digital marketing strategies. So, what would happen in a world where brands competed on the virtue of their products and how good of a fit there are for you personally?

If every brand was on a level playing field, who would survive? This concept isn’t as far-fetched as it may seem, and we need to start asking these questions now. 

Brands and the trust proxy

Consumers live in an information scarce world. It may seem like a bold claim in a world where we can access almost all of human knowledge with the touch of a button. However, people rarely have the time or the inclination to analyse the details of each product or service that they consider.

Therefore, audiences use brands as a proxy for information and trust. As consumers, we choose the brand that we think most closely matches our needs.

But what would happen if consumers had full transparency and didn’t have to rely on trust?

Google’s race towards omniscience

Google assesses user interactions, web performance, product reviews, the proximity of location, brand sentiment, and a myriad of other factors to assess whether a product or service is right for you. And as its understanding improves, it can ensure that only relevant results are shown.

For brands, this means that if Google deems your product or service not a good fit for a user, the consumer will never see your website, your product, your brand, or your messaging. 

Google is using this information to transform its services. When we search, we no longer get a list of links to choose from, we get the solutions to our problems right there. Google has extracted the information and we no longer need to physically click through to the website.

Google as the destination, not the journey

According to research: 

  • 70% of consumers begin their journeys by using a search engine to discover new products and services (Forrester, 2016)
  • 50% of Google searches no longer result in a click (Jumpshot/Sparktoro, 2019)

With this in mind, we need to stop thinking of Google as a search engine and start thinking about how we can help Google to discover our products and solutions. We do that by ensuring that our products and services are available in a format that Google can consume.

Talking Google’s language

So, what does happen if everyone’s website is fixed? You no longer control the narrative and have to compete on true fit. You have to earn your place on Google and play by Google’s own rules.

The way to do this, according to Jono, is to use the following platforms and plugins to make your content visible to Google. Firstly, describe your content using Schema.org’s language for describing things. This is the platform that Google uses in order to understand information and use it to power their voice searches and rich results.

If your website isn’t already on WordPress, then you should consider it. Jono points out that content on WordPress is already getting an advantage over sites hosted on other platforms. Google is using WordPress to spearhead change and alter the structure of the web. WordPress makes up nearly 40% of websites and uses Schema plug-ins to optimise content without the need for any coding.

The Yoast SEO plugin is one of the most widely used on WordPress. It helps you to optimise your content to be as search-engine-friendly as possible, making it easier for Google to recognise your content.

To hear from some of our other expert speakers, click here to view more DigiConf sessions.