Keeping Up with Technology; No Longer a Need for a Crystal Ball

Not so long ago marketeers would be looking towards the future and trying to predict the trends and technological advances which might affect the way…

…they had to attract the attention of and engage with target audiences.  Such ‘crystal ball gazing’ allowed them to plan and build strategies and identify what future actions they themselves would have to take to keep up with the changing times.

The speed with which technology is currently advancing means that we now speak less about long-term planning and instead simply ensure that our own evolution is as fast and constant as that of the tech.  Agility is the key to success, but in order to be agile we must still understand the obstacles we are preparing to encounter.

At RDZ PR we often speak about the importance of content (you may have noticed) and, whilst we will always favour quality over everything else, we know that we must understand the mechanics of the delivery medium and always ‘tweak’ to suit.  After all, what’s the point in writing something truly magnificent if no-one ever finds it to read in the first place?

Smartphones have perhaps seen the biggest technological development of the past decade, not only changing the way we communicate with other individuals but also entirely changing the way we obtain information.  Google searches are already more frequent on mobile devices and on desktops and, as we all know, there can often be frustrations involved in the layout of websites when presented on a hand-sized screen.

Mobile optimisation of websites is obviously already very much ‘a thing’.  Businesses and their Digital Marketing providers have been ensuring that their content is compatible with smartphones for some time now, understanding that if users stay longer the website will automatically rank higher (not to mention that the user experience will in itself be a far more pleasurable one).

The development of Google’s ‘Mobile First’ index may encourage even more rapid change.  Up until now the focus has always been to give desktop users the best and most relevant search results but now the tables have turned and the ranking of websites is based on their compatibility with mobile search.  How might this change things?  Well, SEO keywords will undoubtedly pivot more towards mobile and Google will detect cases where there is simply too much long-form content (which is generally poor for mobile search) and penalise the sites accordingly.  Understanding this will be key to hitting the right balance between informative content (which many potential customers and influencers will still want to be able to access) and mobile compatible, Google-friendly concise content.

Another big change already very much underway relates to the rapid growth of Voice search.  By 2020 the prediction is that Voice will account for 50% of the total number of searches and it is, therefore, not too difficult to see that it will easily surpass text searching in the very near future.  In a similar way to the mobile shift a re-adjustment of the way we think about keywords will no doubt be required.

Long-tail keywords will become the most valuable when it comes to Voice search optimisation.  That is to say that we need to think about conversational strings rather than stilted 2 or 3 word combinations.  For example, someone searching by Voice is more likely to say, ‘Which is the best Italian restaurant in Leicester?’, whereas someone on a regular text search may simply type ‘Italian Leicester’.  Another major difference is that the majority of Voice searches are knowledge questions; increasingly Who, Where, Why, When and How are the ways we request our information and successful optimisation of keywords will most definitely have to keep this is mind.

Do these technology advances mean that there is no longer a place for longer-form content anywhere?  We say an indefatigable ‘No!’.  Whilst the user may make the initial approach in a different way there will still be a need for high quality, accurate information from which an informed decision can be made (and let’s not forget the keyword benefits to rich text which will not simply disappear overnight).  The key to ensuring future success and maximising marketing efforts and spend is to be in the know and to ensure that you make yourself as easy as possible to engage with, regardless of how your audience choose to communicate.