SEO is constantly changing. It's changing because Google wants to improve the user experience. This past January, a core algorithm update was quietly implemented. It's now March and people are still not quite sure what this update did and how it's going to alter the SEO landscape.

It made me think about how SEO has changed and how it will continue to change going forward. I approached Scott Cohen, the CEO of 180Fusion, to talk about this issue.

AJ: Thank you for taking time out of your schedule to speak to me. Before we launch into SEO, could you tell my readers about what 180Fusion does?

Cohen: 180Fusion is the leader in performance driven digital marketing that specializes in helping companies increase sales by driving online traffic in a profitable way. The platform and services support all aspects of SEO/ SEM, including local SEO, content marketing, PPC, and Enterprise SEO campaigns. Our goal is to help our clients go from being "in business" to "succeeding in business online."

AJ: To start with, what do you think is the general trend hitting SEO today?

Cohen: I think the trend is exactly the same as it has been for some years. Google wants its results to reflect relativity and genuine popularity. First of all, if you are not opting for completely white hat SEO techniques, you are making a massive mistake. Even if you are using grey hat techniques, Google is going to catch up with you one day.

But genuine popularity is the key. If you can produce content that people actually want to read, as opposed to just generating a link, then you are going to achieve incredible success.

AJ: You mentioned relativity. What do you mean when you say 'relative'?

Cohen: Relativity has changed. Previously, it was about making sure that you are being ranked for the right keywords. Google has made it practically impossible not to rank in the correct category because their technology has come so far.

Relativity is about laser targeting your audience through using long-tail keywords. Over half of searchers are using search strings that are more than four words to get the right results.

It goes further than simply using long-tail keywords. Local SEO has become prominent because of Google's habit of providing personalized search results. This means that two people can search for entirely the same thing, but get two sets of results based on their geographical location. There's also the potential for hyperlocal SEO to become a thing as Google's algorithms become more accurate.

AJ: Moving on to the mobile revolution, this can be quite confusing for people who are new to the SEO arena. How would you make sense of this?

Cohen: I would say the newcomer to the field needs to keep in mind that they absolutely have to be optimized for mobile searches. The customer experience is the most important thing here. Take this statistic as an example: 55% of customers would pay more for a guaranteed good experience.

You can give them that good experience without them having to pay more. Responsive design is a must because it impacts the user experience directly. It's why Google has used the Mobilegeddon thing to penalize websites that don't cater to mobile users.

You should go even further in catering to mobile users by creating content specifically to them. This is what I mean by relativity in SEO. The way people access the Internet is changing.

AJ: What would you say the state of content marketing is?

Cohen: The state of content marketing is always an interesting subject because there are always groups who say that it's dying or already dead. I smile because every year content marketing is stronger than ever before. As the saying goes, content is king because users crave good quality content. Despite the importance of social media, there's still room for long-form content.

If you are answering commonly asked questions and directly addressing the issues of users, you are going to win in the SEO race.

Google has said many times that it wants companies to cater directly to the needs of users not SEO. Companies that have heeded these words have been rewarded by Google. By creating relevant content on a consistent basis that customers actually want to read, they have seen their rankings skyrocket.

It can take some time to build up a solid content marketing base, but when you do you are in a great position for success.

AJ: I would like to thank you for taking the time to speak to my readers today about the direction SEO is moving in.

Published on: Mar 14, 2016