3 Ways To Remain Competitive Against Google, The Content Creator

Tips for remain­ing com­pet­i­tive as Google builds tools and cre­ates con­tent to pro­vide a bet­ter user expe­ri­ence.

Lisa Lacy By Lisa Lacy. Join the discussion » 0 comments

As the search engine results pages (SERPs) changes and organ­ic results are increas­ing­ly replaced by paid con­tent, search mar­keters are fac­ing addi­tion­al com­pe­ti­tion from Google itself. That’s because, in its quest to pro­vide a bet­ter user expe­ri­ence, Google is build­ing tools and con­tent that are over­shad­ow­ing con­tent from brands and mar­keters.

While there was a time when a Google search result­ed in 10 blue links that were all organ­ic, now spon­sored con­tent like ads, Shop­ping results, Fea­tured Snip­pets, and Knowl­edge Cards are more or less can­ni­bal­iz­ing organ­ic results, accord­ing to Pete Mey­ers, mar­ket­ing sci­en­tist at Moz.

Some of these changes are being dri­ven by mobile – with small­er screens and high­er demand for con­cise answers – but they’re also being spurred by voice search, which has the poten­tial to dis­rupt Google’s entire ad mod­el, Mey­ers said recent­ly at Moz­con.

The chal­lenge with voice search and devices like Ama­zon Echo is that the SERP is gone, which is wor­ri­some to Google, Mey­ers said. To wit: a sports fan can sim­ply ask for a score and hear the answer rather than use or need curat­ed con­tent from Google.

Sim­ply put: mar­keters are fac­ing a lot more com­pe­ti­tion from Google itself as a result.

Google is no longer a con­tent cura­tor, it is a con­tent cre­ator,” Mey­ers said.

In oth­er words, con­sumers search for a ques­tion, like, “When is Nation­al Taco Day?” and Google deliv­ers an answer in the Quick Answers Box. Because con­sumers trust Google, that’s as far as they go.

Mey­ers also point­ed to music and sports, where Google itself is dom­i­nat­ing its own results in pro­vid­ing mega-video con­tent and pop­u­lat­ing the Knowl­edge Pan­el with its own infor­ma­tion, as well as by pro­vid­ing scores, sched­ules, and videos for games.

They’re build­ing tools and con­tent for a bet­ter expe­ri­ence and they’re dis­rupt­ing your con­tent,” Mey­ers said.

Not only that, in a search for “best movies of 1985” on a mobile device, Mey­ers points out that the col­ored box­es under the movies actu­al­ly coor­di­nate with each poster.

It’s not just results, they are rich­er and more inter­est­ing and more dis­rup­tive and less organ­ic,” Mey­ers said.

Anoth­er exam­ple of Google as con­tent cre­ator is in its cus­tom med­ical Knowl­edge Pan­els. That’s fresh con­tent Google cre­at­ed of its own voli­tion.

They did it once. They’ll do it again,” Mey­ers said. “This is incred­i­bly dis­rup­tive.”

Google is also, in a num­ber of instances, allow­ing con­sumers to per­form actions direct­ly from the Knowl­edge Pan­el, such as book­ing hotel rooms, as well as pay­ing to watch movies, lis­ten to music, or read books.

Google has trained us to look at [the Knowl­edge Pan­el] as unbi­ased infor­ma­tion and we’re start­ing to see paid infor­ma­tion pop up in there, which is incred­i­bly dis­rup­tive,” Mey­ers said.

App packs, too, are muscling in on organ­ic results, such as in search­es for jobs that result in apps from LinkedIn and Sna­ga­job. In fact, app packs can replace up to six organ­ic spots.

That’s mas­sive­ly dis­rup­tive and all of it is part of Google’s paid ecosys­tem,” Mey­ers said.

In fact, Mey­ers points to a future in which we could poten­tial­ly see no organ­ic results what­so­ev­er, such as a hypo­thet­i­cal search for “Juras­sic World” that brings up Shop­ping results, movie show times, and the abil­i­ty to watch the orig­i­nal Juras­sic Park via Google Play.

What’s inter­est­ing to me about this con­cept is that even though this is fake, every sin­gle one of these pieces exists today,” Mey­ers said. “The oth­er thing that’s inter­est­ing is that there are no AdWords, but it’s entire­ly paid, but it’s also a good user expe­ri­ence.”

So what’s a search mar­keter to do?

Here are Mey­ers’ best tips for remain­ing com­pet­i­tive.

1. Embrace A Dual Mentality

For the time being, mar­keters and SEOs have to more or less strad­dle two worlds and embrace a dual men­tal­i­ty in which they know what’s com­ing, but also that the SERP still mat­ters for now.

A good exam­ple of this is Mar­vel Stu­dios, which announced its Phase 3 plan last year, includ­ing the titles and release dates for every movie through 2019.

What is their tac­ti­cal SEO plan in 2019? No one knows what will hap­pen, but they’re build­ing links, they’re build­ing social, they’re build­ing men­tions and they’re get­ting arti­cles four years in advance of the prod­uct even exist­ing,” Mey­ers said. “This is how I want you to think.”

2. Provide The Best Answer

Since Google’s moti­va­tion remains to pro­vide the best user expe­ri­ence pos­si­ble, there’s an oppor­tu­ni­ty for brands and mar­keters to increase rank on a giv­en SERP thanks to fea­tures like Google’s Quick Answers Box, Mey­ers said. That sim­ply means pro­vid­ing what Google deems the best answer to a giv­en query in order to be fea­tured on that top­ic.

You can rewrite your con­tent to take over the box,” Mey­ers said. “If you’re ranked 5th in a query and want to be 1st, you can jump past 1st [into the Quick Answers Box] just by answer­ing the ques­tion bet­ter.”

3. Up Your Game: Add Value & Insight

Mar­keters can also fight back by build­ing deep con­tent that is updat­ed often and is “hard to replace with a lit­tle box,” Mey­ers said.

Brands should seek to add val­ue and insight, like Cred­it Kar­ma, which shows what a cred­it score is based on and what is action­able, which also makes Cred­it Kar­ma con­tent hard­er for Google to put in a box and replace, Mey­ers said.

Final­ly, Mey­ers rec­om­mends bring­ing your “A” game with rich, inter­ac­tive con­tent that, again, can’t eas­i­ly be replaced by a box.

What’s your take on changes in search and increased com­pe­ti­tion from Google itself?

Lisa Lacy

Written by Lisa Lacy

Lisa is a senior features writer for Inked. She also previously covered digital marketing for Incisive Media. Her background includes editorial positions at Dow Jones, the Financial Times, the Huffington Post, AOL, Amazon, Hearst, Martha Stewart Living and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

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