3 Things to Know About How SEO is Changing

Search engine optimization – or, SEO – is changing dramatically and in a number of ways. Some are always asking if SEO is dead. Others have long said declaratively that indeed, SEO is dead.

SEO and the search results haystack.

Help readers find that needle in the search engine results haystack.

In reality, SEO does still exist as a way of making web sites accessible and more friendly to readers and search engines. There are certainly things you can do to help your idea or business be more visible via search engines. It just isn’t as expensive as it used to be.

And, that’s a good thing.

1. Search Engine Algorithms Are Smarter. Much Smarter.

In the past, SEO was about tricking search engines by including lots of keywords used in ways that were only search engine friendly and not reader friendly. That resulted in less than engaging content. But, people got found, and it worked for a time.

Now we know that Google’s search engine algorithms utilize artificial intelligence in ways that help search engine results closely mimic how a human brain would search and process the information. That means your content can again be geared toward the reader. As it should be. So, from now on, one of the best SEO practices you can use is to first determine what is important to your audience.

2. Multimedia and Images Are Increasingly Important.

Why? If for no other reason, they are more engaging. Some time ago, Facebook saw engagement increase by 65% once they made their Timeline feature more image-oriented. That’s a pretty telling phenomenon.

The results of more engaging content means more quality traffic and greater potential for sharing and links. And, that will help boost your search engine ranking.

But, the key to images being search engine friendly is to include alt texts – what does the image depict? How does it help tell your story? And, don’t forget those filenames. There are things you can do to help with file organization just as much as SEO.

3.  Fresh, Indexable Content.

In addition to the applicability of content to a specific topic, search engines are now looking for a broader scope of relevance – and content that is fresh is considered more relevant than older, stale content. So, keep those web sites and virtual tours up-to-date.

And, if that content is fresh, then you need to be letting search engines know that its been updated. Sitemaps are the key to seeing that content gets indexed and that search results keep up with your fresh content.

How All of This SEO Stuff Applies to Whitepoint Smart Tours

Because Whitepoint smart tours are available to include in web sites and specifically in WordPress sites, we’ve worked to make sure that Whitepoint helps make scape content search engine friendly.

For example, all scapes are indexable by search engines with a sitemap generated on our servers. By its very nature, Whitepoint helps content creators mix text with engaging, interactive images – while keeping it all up-to-date as easily as possible.

And, in the end, creating content that is engaging and delivers what your audience wants is the best SEO strategy.

Matthew White

Matthew White blogs on all things related to virtual tours, mobile touring, and tour apps as well as how they relate to web design, SEO, and content marketing. There is also of course helpful information on using Whitepoint - the framework for smarter virtual touring and mobile-friendly tours.

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Photo Tours as Part of a Content Marketing Strategy (Part 1)

Content marketing is rapidly taking the place of traditional strategies for marketing and PR.

Frank Gehry's New York is not only a compelling sight, it makes for a compelling image.

Made you look. This photo of Frank Gehry’s New York is a compelling image. But, it was merely taken on a trip to New York with an old Canon digital camera.

And, content doesn’t just mean text.

Every blogger – including this one – would like to think that web audiences are hanging on every word. In reality, they’re paying less and less attention to the words.

Marketing now hinges on the content being generated – including images, videos, and microblogging.

Altogether, it becomes difficult to discern product marketing from content marketing.

Compelling Content Marketing

Read any of David Meerman Scott‘s books, and you’ll be reminded that images are just as, if not more, important than text. In fact, an article  – Photographs as Compelling Content Marketing – from a few years ago on his blog drives the point home well.

Content marketing is changing the rules of marketing and PR.

A real life David Meerman Scott book really sitting on this blogger’s desk. Photo taken with a smartphone.

Interestingly, since that blog article, the quality of the photos looks to matter less and less. Instagram and Pinterest  bathe the user in streams of pictures. Users scan them for stuff that they care about – not to check white balance.

Still, everyone wants their product or place to be presented in the best possible fashion, and it should be. It is important to remember though that users are increasingly suspicious of stock photography.

And, even contracted photography that looks a little too polished can yield the same user response.

“Authentic” Versus “Professional”

Where’s the happy medium? In content marketing, it’s probably best to consider how authentic the photo is rather than how professional.

Think about the way that you as a consumer discern between photos taken for an eBay listing, for example. Wouldn’t you rather see the item itself rather than an image taken from another web site? What about when you’re looking for a place to stay on vacation? Somehow, you will likely trust an image taken by a fellow traveler than one that has carefully caught birds flying over the resort’s beach and into the sunset.

That doesn’t mean an authentic photo has to look crappy. It just means that you should focus on authentic photos taken competently. You don’t have to hire an Ansel Adams clone.

What You Do With the Images

The image lists of old no longer do the trick. Way back in the day, if an image list included thumbnails, it was really considered cutting edge.

Surprisingly, many marketers and small business owners are today still taking a similar approach. But, with the rise of content marketing, this does not meet user expectations. In reality, you’ve now got seconds to capture that user’s attention. If that much. A list of links that might include a thumbnail just won’t cut it.

And, we’re already seeing that just having photos isn’t enough. They of course have to be relevant, but we’re seeing that users want to interact with them somehow. Think tagging. Photos, more and more, have to do something. And, they’re going to need to do that thing they do on a mobile device.

In Part 2 of “Photo Tours and Content Marketing,” we’ll look at how photo tours, online galleries, and slideshows can be more compelling as part of a content marketing effort.

Matthew White

Matthew White blogs on all things related to virtual tours, mobile touring, and tour apps as well as how they relate to web design, SEO, and content marketing. There is also of course helpful information on using Whitepoint - the framework for smarter virtual touring and mobile-friendly tours.

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