Let me set the scene…

I was at a conference recently with quite a big SEO leader. He’s made millions from SEO for himself and for clients in the last 20 years. He speaks at conferences regularly and champions SEO. At a recent meet, someone ran up to him with a camera in his face and said: “Is it true...is it true that SEO is dead?”

I laughed and thought here we go, yet another year of asking that question!

The SEO leader stood there for a few seconds in silence. He was thinking about his response a lot deeper than I expected. To my surprise he said: "Yes, yes. SEO is dead".

There was no explanation. Nothing else to be said. He quietly walked off.

In the last month, Google has been very volatile. Traffic is tanking for many brands and Google are fighting with the likes of TikTok, Amazon, Skyscanner and even YouTube. We saw that Google started to boost these channels visibility (because if you can’t beat em, join em right?), but in reality Google has a big job on its hands to satisfy the user.

One person on Twitter recently described Google like a small town high street. You know those high streets with shops that are for the necessities, but not the ones you actually want? Is Google getting that bad?

Although the SEO industry has been going through a turmoil time recently, we've been able to deliver exceptional results for our clients. My SEO team gave the board an update a few days ago, and it blew me away. They showed that 80% of our clients website traffic is UP YoY from organic search. 🔥 And that's no easy feat considering my points above.

So how have we managed to achieve such results? We've been prioritising 8 key SEO tactics for our clients, and they're all revealed in the article below. Apply the same principles to your brand, and see the results for yourselves! Let's get into it👇

1. Content marketing will be key to driving SEO success

Introducing…content marketing. Ok, content marketing isn’t new, but in my opinion it will be the number 1 execution tactic and strategy for SEO. We’re all battling for attention right now, and it’s no longer just on Google SERPs. We want attention on TikTok, Amazon and Instagram SERPs too.

Is TikTok a search engine? Is Amazon a search engine? Hell yes they are! And the way to win on these platforms is content marketing optimised for SEO and user intent. An amazing case study we’ve done across Google, GIPHY, Pinterest and TikTok can be found at the bottom of this post for inspiration. We started executing content across channels realistic to where people search for our clients, and 80% of them are up YoY because of it.

2. Optimise Google for conversions

Google will become a conversion channel — users will make their buying decisions away from Google. If they can buy through the channel they’ve been researching on, they will (e.g TikTok or Amazon). But if they can’t, they will head to Google to buy.

That’s where PPC will win. Organic will become more about getting that sale, beating other retailers who sell the same or similar products. Even if it’s Amazon, remember 90% of people go to Amazon knowing what they want already. It’s very rare for people to go Amazon to search, to explore. So be ready for Amazon to be Google's biggest competitor soon and PPC will face that challenge.

3. Product first SEO

Product and brand SEO will be key. We've been optimising less for category keywords but for products. Think black dresses, Xbox controller and even Ugg Tasmans. Generic search will be less advantageous. We recommend going niche and product specific with your keywords - it will pay dividends.

4. Links into less generic but category, product specific pages

The fight for links is going to get even more competitive. It will be less about where the links are coming from (yes quality and relevance still matters) but more about where the links are pointing to. On average, 70% of links point to a brand's homepage. Homepage links are great and all, but the value is going to be in category links, product links and even deeper than that… links to bottom of the funnel blogs with internal links that pass commercial value. E.g blog content on iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Pro Max comparison content.

5. Internal links are QUEEN

Focus on internal links in your content and see your site traffic go up. You can do this really well with strong cluster content with links pointing to key commercial pages. We focused on this in the last 12 months for our US automotive client and saw traffic go from 448K monthly visits to 897K. See the link to traffic correlation.

6. Price, delivery and returns features in the SERPS

Google has started to show price, delivery and returns features in SERPs, giving a big opportunity for eCommerce brands.

(a) Discount Code Rich Results - Google recently enabled the ability for discount codes to appear in search results for organic listings. Allowing for more space in the SERP & visibility for coupons/discounts this can be managed in Merchant Center within Marketing > Promotions.

(b) Seller Rating Rich Results - Seller rating rich results recently launched in the US on mobile & tablet for sites with eligibility. This rating is different to structured data and can show up for pages that don't have product markup – making your pages stand out more.

(c) Shipping Detail Rich Results - Primarily based on your Merchant Center settings, Google can display delivery pricing as a rich result. This figure can change based on searcher location, with the rich result itself either being a pricing figure or a day range.

(d) Returns Policy Rich Results - Much like the shipping details rich result, returns policies can appear for your pages. This data is available in GSC, with it being a more commonly used attribute compared to shipping details based on my experience (likely due to accuracy).

7. Local SEO will dominate in 2024 onwards

Local SEO will be huge in 2024 and beyond. No channel can execute local SEO better than Google. Instagram has a great feature where you can explore places and TikTok has started rolling out travel guides too.

However, the results in SERPs for 'near me' keywords don’t yet exist. And therefore local SEO is going to be huge for the SEO industry on Google moving forward. Get optimising for Google maps and local keywords.

8. Brand and user experience to stand out on the SERPs

User experience and brand experience will be what sets you apart here. Is your website faster than your competitors? Does it deliver a better experience? We’re seeing technical wins like site speed have a bigger impact than usual lately because the user just wants a better experience. Dial in on Technical SEO to get your site in tip top shape.

Inspiration - a case study which drove 500% increase in site traffic through cross channel content marketing

It's not just TikTok. Oh No!

At Rise at Seven, we're executing multi channel content marketing campaigns (YouTube, Pinterest, Google, TikTok, Giphy, Insta and more) to help our clients be more discoverable, realistic to how people now search.

Let me explain (using a case study that achieved 10.7million views, 500%+ increase in site traffic and 200%+ increase in new users)... 👇

Who and why

We have a client in the travel space, selling UK holidays (think lodges, hot tubs, beach resorts). ☀️👙⛱️

We've worked with them for 4 years and got them to one of the highest positions ever on Google. 📈

But the user buying journey isn't that simple.

Users don't just go to Google, find your site and book ❌

Their holiday buying journey includes over 100+ touchpoints at each stage. Well we wanted to be more discoverable at the very earliest stage 👈🏼 of the buying journey as possible.

Here's how:

The strategy

📱We found that when families decide to go away (mum, dad, kids, aunties, uncle, nan) a whatsapp group is formed. In that whatsapp they decide on where, when, and who (especially who's driving). The most common form of content shared in this group is gifs - that's right!

Sliding into the weekend gifs, Friday feeling, auntie jane getting slashed on day one gifs.

So at the early stage of the buying journey before users have even decided on the location, we spotted Gifs and giphy to be where we could be more discoverable

🗺️ We then found that before they've decided on location, a decision is made based on local area.

🚲Things to do itineraries
🥘 Places to eat
🧒 Kids activities
🚶🏽‍♀️ Walking distance
🚗 Parking options
👴🏼 Local chippy for grandad

AND inspirational/information searches for that are HUGE on Pinterest.

The execution

So for awareness:

We created 300 pieces of video content and turned them into gifs (sliding into the weekend, sunburn memes, seagull gifs, hot tub moments and more)
We then created over 100 location itinerary pins on Pinterest, all with links back to site for conversion content

The results:

✅ GIFs racked up 10.7m views (all branded) making them more discoverable at the most earliest stage of the journey possible being shared to thousands
✅ Pinterest drove 601% increase in traffic from Pinterest to site:
✅ 210% increase in new users
✅ 525% increase in conversions

We are now executing on TikTok SEO - where they rank position 1 for most Newquay P1 terms.

We work in marketing, and we are in the battle of attention.

Attention doesn't just live in SERPS on Google, but on all platforms people are searching.

Know the user, know the journey, create content, optimise and convert.
If you want to know your user journey, what channels and what content formats you should be creating to steal attention - speak to our strategy team.