Organic search rank used to be the main concern of businesses seeking to be found online, but a lot has changed in the past few years.

Today’s digital environment of paid ads, maps, shopping options, reviews, and mobile-first commerce has changed how we see what we see, and with it, what drives business to businesses.

If organic rankings are your main focus today, you’re failing fast.


The simple answer is there is so much more to pay attention to than even five years ago that old-school SEO doesn’t cut it.

As mobile has surpassed desktop in search, local packs and knowledge cards have all but replaced the ordered list of blue links as the dominant form of search results. This has changed how you need to think about tracking your success in intelligent search.

Running a search engine is a business – and the Googles and Bings of the world are securing their future relevance by changing what they do to fit the habits of the next generation of consumers.

As Boomers age out of being the prime consumer market for online business and Millennials and Generation Z take over, trust in elements beyond the “organic stack” will come to be a market force that changes what it means to “rank.”

So, what does it take to rank in intelligent search?

1. Cultivate Rich Location-Specific Knowledge for Map Apps -

Map-based queries have risen as people search for specific items and products in map apps.

A natural consequence of a more mobile-savvy consumer base, location-specific searches are going to continue to rise. In fact, almost 40 percent of people say they perform searches only on their mobile device in the average day, according to Google.

Winning in intelligent search is increasingly about rich geo-specific information, like hours, menus, location-specific photos, service or delivery area, and more.

2. Generate & Respond to Reviews -

Not only are reviews used to help determine how a search engine should rank you, but for certain searches, having high ratings may soon be the only way to rank.

For example, if a consumer uses “best” in a map query, some digital services filter for only 4+ star results. If it proves useful to to satisfying searchers, it’s likely that the search engines will cement and expand this trend.

You’d better be cultivating reviews and managing digital relationships with customers now if you want to surface in future map queries.

3. Connect Your Inventory to Your Digital Presence -

Bridging the last mile for consumers looking for a specific item in the moment is going to be paramount.

Inventory data combined with map directions will drive foot traffic.

Consumer expectations are moving toward the day when “40-inch Samsung LED TV” won’t just return electronics stores that carry that item, but those that have it on the shelf in the moment.

4. Structure Your Data for Voice -

Today, more than 20 percent of queries are done via voice.

Consumer behavior is changing fast as voice search catches on across smartphone search and voice-first devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home.

In fact, Google predicts that by 2020, 50 percent of queries will come via voice. And there is often only one result spoken, leaving you with little choice but to structure and markup your content to remain relevant.

5. Integrate Your Digital Knowledge Across the Enterprise -

Until recently, it was plausible that you would silo key business data in certain departments. Now, however, the world is rapidly evolving, and to stay in front requires a rethink of that old practice. You need:

a. The insights that organic search provides into consumer research.
b. The details paid search provides on conversion.
c. The feedback and intent signals social provides across a wide range of locations.

These programs at a minimum need to work together and feed data to each other openly.

On top of this you need to gather internal digital knowledge (products, people, hours, locations, inventory, holiday hours, etc.) and ensure all marketing functions have instant access to it.

Finally, you need to ensure all programs and consumer touchpoints lead with the same messages. One voice, one brand.

The Future of Search Rankings: Trust + Rich Experiences

Source: Searchenginejournal

Peter Zmijewski is the founder and CEO at KeywordSpy.His expert knowledge on Internet Marketing practices and techniques has earned him the title “Internet Marketing Guru“ He is also an innovator, investor and entrepreneur widely recognized by the top players in the industry.