The author’s views are entirely their own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.
The digital landscape is evolving quickly, and businesses must adjust their marketing techniques to maintain a competitive edge. You need to be able to transform how you operate your business and engage with your customers.
If you’re aiming for long-term success, you should learn how to future-proof your brand. This is no longer an option but a necessity. You’ll need to adopt a forward-thinking and strategic plan to be ready for the future to maintain your market share and remain relevant in the ever-changing search landscape.
SEO has become an essential building block to securing your brand’s future. Customers have turned to search engines to discover products and services, empowering brands to improve their online visibility, organic rankings, and the ability to attract and retain customers.
So, how can you make sure that you future-proof your brand?
Let’s explore how SEO can help your business establish credibility and authority, setting yourself up for growth and prosperity. Learn how to equip your brand for the future while leaving a lasting impression on your target audience.
The role of SEO in ensuring the long-term success of brands
SEO plays a big role in ensuring your website reaches your target audience. I like to compare SEO to a compass guiding brands in the right direction. Imagine it being a secret ingredient that will help your business to survive and thrive online.
So, how exactly does SEO do this?
It does the magic of making your brand visible to the right audience. Imagine having your business on a main street with heavy human traffic and selling a product everyone needs. You are nearly guaranteed daily sales. This is the same thing SEO does for your business.
According to Brian Njogu, the founder of SmartProfitsHub:
“SEO is about building a foundation for your business that will help you attract new customers, grow your online presence, and achieve your goals.”
SEO is not about appearing in search engine results. It’s about appearing on the first page and attracting valuable traffic.
Here’s an example: You are planning a lunch date, and you search for the “best restaurant in London.” You will most likely click on the top results on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). This is how SEO helps businesses attain the top slots on the SERPs, helping them earn more clicks and visibility.
The best thing about SEO is that it’s a long-term investment. You will still experience results years after implementation. This means getting a steady traffic flow to your website without straining your marketing budget.
SEO also brings about brand credibility. When your website ranks high on the SERPs, your brand becomes more credible and authoritative. Who wouldn’t want that?
For your SEO to work, you don’t need just an SEO strategy. You also need the right mindset and commitment to play the long-term game.
8 Steps to future-proof your brand with SEO
Every business owner’s dream is to have a business that will last and run in the foreseeable future. But, the ever-changing digital landscape makes it difficult to promise this. Here is where SEO comes in. It has the potential to offer success now while setting your business up to thrive in the future.
Let’s look at the steps you can take in future-proofing your brand with SEO.
1. Understand the evolving SEO landscape
SEO is evolving, and techniques that used to work may no longer work. To keep on track, it would help if you understood the latest SEO trends and know how they affect your brand.
User intent optimization is one of the best techniques you can adapt for your brand. It involves selecting keywords that match the user’s search intent and answering their questions with relevant content.
The best SEO practice for this is searching your query on Google and seeing how it interprets the intent.
The image below shows the intent of the keyword “premium pet food,” which is commercial.
The mobile-first indexing is another Google practice that you should be aware of. It ensures your website is responsive on smartphones while saving traffic that comes on mobile. You’ll want to ensure that the navigation of your website is smooth on mobile. Also, ensure all buttons are easy to click, the text is readable, and the images load correctly. Research by Statista shows that mobile online usage has increased significantly, so you should make your website mobile-responsive.
To keep up with SEO’s evolving landscape, you must keep track of the ever-changing algorithms or risk losing your rankings overnight.
You must also understand user behavior to keep up with the competition.
Machine learning and AI have also had a great influence on search engine algorithms. This technology analyzes how users interact with content to deliver relevant results. Search engines are built in a way in which they learn user behaviors and serve up what they need. This is why learning how they work will help you secure a future for your brand.
2. Conduct a comprehensive SEO audit
When future-proofing your business, it is important to understand your position, strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities to stand a chance against your competition.
Every successful SEO journey demands a thorough self-assessment. It would be best to understand what is working, what isn’t, and what needs improvement. Think of it as a digital health check-up. For example, identifying your high-performing keywords will help you create relevant content that resonates with your audience, and you can do this with Moz’s Keyword Explorer.
You should also check your SEO technical health. Even if you have quality content on your website, your SEO technical health needs to be checked, as it will affect your performance and ranking.
Use tools like Screaming Frog and Site Bulb to check your technical SEO health, Google Search Console to check your website’s performance, and Moz Pro to identify common on-page issues. Using tools will help you identify your website’s SEO technical health, keyword performance, and traffic.
The screenshot below shows a website performance on Google Search Console.
In your SEO strategy, be sure to conduct a thorough competitor analysis. This will help you examine your competitor’s SEO strategies, keyword choices, backlinks, and content tactics. Use this information to build a better strategy to help you outrank your competitors and secure your brand’s future.
3. Establish a solid SEO foundation
Establishing a strong SEO foundation is a sure way to future-proof your brand for SEO. You should identify target keywords, optimize your pages, and craft content that resonates with your target audience.
Picture the keywords you choose as the pillar of your SEO strategy. Relevant keywords will help you understand your audience and what they seek. You should work with keywords with a decent search volume and that match with the searchers’ intent. This is where all the gold is buried.
The image below shows a keyword I researched via Moz’s Keyword Explorer tool. These keyword metrics can help you to understand how difficult it may be to rank for a keyword, as well as how you might like to prioritize it.
According to Louis Smith, the founder of Louis Smith E-commerce SEO:
“An effective Keyword research process is the foundation of organic growth campaigns, driving the discovery and attraction of a larger audience. It unveils the language and intent of your target audience, guiding you to create content that resonates and enhances visibility in search engine results.”
You also need to work on your on-page optimization. Once you’ve completed your keyword research, you should optimize your meta descriptions and titles with your chosen primary and secondary keywords. Let them act like breadcrumbs for search engines.
Having high-quality content is a gateway to future-proofing your brand. It makes your visitors stick around much longer and get the urge to share it with their connections. This helps increase traffic and conversions. Quality content on your website will bring you closer to future-proofing your brand. Great content acts like a digital feast that keeps your audience returning for more. When writing your content, address your audience’s needs by answering their questions. Optimize it by using relevant keywords and distributing them naturally in your content.
Different audiences love to consume content differently. Therefore, feel free to experiment with a variety of content formats like videos, infographics and podcasts to reach a bigger audience.
Also, you should have a strategic internal linking strategy in place throughout your content. This will help search engine crawlers navigate and index your web pages effectively while also providing greater context to your web pages.
Having user-friendly URLs improves user experience, leading to improved SEO, so make sure to think thoroughly about the URLs you are publishing. Lastly, pay attention to your site structure. A website with a good structure helps visitors navigate your website easily. This helps them to engage with your content more, increasing the dwell time.
4. Adapt to algorithm updates and industry changes
To survive in the digital landscape, you must keep up with algorithm updates and industrial shifts. Algorithms reshape the way search engines crawl, index, and rank search results. Website owners are, therefore, forced to adapt to these changes.
So, how can you survive these sudden changes?
To survive algorithm updates, you should stay informed, continue learning, and become flexible in your SEO approach. Join communities or have a network that can provide valuable insights into new algorithm updates.
When new algorithm updates are released, adapt quickly and look at them as opportunities for growth. Algorithm penalties can be a big blow. Think of them as being given a second chance to fix what is broken. To sort out the penalties, you’ll need to analyze the issue causing the penalty, fix it accordingly, and appeal for reconsideration. Imagine them as a ticket to getting back on track.
Search engine algorithms will keep on evolving. Therefore, your SEO strategy should be flexible, with room for the potential of new algorithm updates. You can only keep up with algorithms by continuously learning, adapting to change, and understanding user behavior and new trends.
5. Build a strong backlink profile
To successfully future-proof your brand, having a strong backlink profile is vital. It acts as a vouch of confidence by other users, and having one helps you rank and build digital credibility. This will help you now and in the future. I like to compare backlinks to positive online recommendations that influence your search rankings and Domain Authority. Your website becomes more credible and trustworthy with a great backlink profile.
Keep in mind — not all backlinks are good. Good backlinks are from trusted sources and are relevant to your content. On the other hand, bad links can be from spammy websites or perhaps are irrelevant to your content and are not worth paying attention to.
You need relevant, high-quality backlinks to future-proof your brand for SEO. Here are ways you can acquire backlinks for your brand:
Write guest posts for reputable brands.
Write high-quality content that others may want to reference.
Network with influencers, bloggers, and industry leaders — this can lead to opportunities for collaboration.
Reach out to websites to explore link building opportunities.
Share your content with communities. If people like it, they will share it with their network, which could possibly lead to more backlinks.
Always inspect your backlink profile and remove any bad backlinks. Moz Link Explorer is a great tool to explore and track the health of your profile. Google Search Console is a free tool that can also help you see an overview of your website’s backlinks.
6. Leverage user experience for SEO success
A great SEO strategy that aims to optimize user experience (UX) is key to securing a digital future for your brand. Great user experience influences search engine rankings and how users interact with your website.
A well-designed and user-friendly website will attract visitors and encourage them to interact with your content and stay longer on your website. When your website’s user experience and SEO are in harmony, they can help you boost your SEO rankings.
Having a user-friendly website design is the secret recipe to enriching your user experience. The design should be clean, have straightforward navigation, and have a reasonable font size to foster user satisfaction.
Also, you should consider having a responsive design to cater to user browsing using different devices. Taking this approach will boost engagement and lead to longer dwell times.
Never underestimate your website’s loading speed. A website that loads fast and can be accessed on mobile is vital in determining how well you rank. Today, speed and mobile friendliness are ranking factors that Google uses to rank websites.
To optimize for seed, you should:
Optimize your images
Minify CSS and Java script-codes
Reduce the number of redirects on your website
Use content delivery networks
Use Google Analytics to inspect bounce rates and dwell time to understand user interaction, among much more. Low bounce rates and high dwell time indicate quality and relevance.
7. Monitor and analyze your SEO performance
The journey to future-proofing your business with SEO is more than developing and executing a content strategy. It requires you to monitor and track your SEO performance and make data-driven decisions.
You need to understand that analytics in SEO is not all about numbers but the stories those numbers tell. For this to become successful, keep an eye on your progress.
SEO tools like Google Analytics can help you monitor traffic, user behavior, and conversion rates. On the other hand, tools like Moz Pro can help with keyword tracking, competitor analysis, and backlink insights. These tools will help you pinpoint what is working and what is not.
To make data-driven decisions, you should configure your analytics platform. Understand your goals, such as tracking form submissions or e-commerce transactions as your performance indicators. Check out Preeti Gupta’s article on creating custom reports in GA4 to learn more.
Track your keyword rankings, traffic, and conversion rates. Organic traffic will tell you how many people are finding your website on Google, keyword rankings will show you how effective your SEO efforts are, and conversions will show you how many visitors have become paying customers.
Understanding these metrics will help you understand the efficiency of your SEO efforts and identify areas to improve.
Make a point to regularly look at your data to spot and remove unwanted weeds to keep your SEO efforts in check.
8. Embrace emerging SEO opportunities and technologies
Are you doing some digging to find out the latest trends affecting your business? If you haven’t adapted to AI and generative technology, it is high time you did. This will give you a competitive edge that will help you future-proof your brand.
AI can help you work more efficiently. You can use tools such as ChatGPT to analyze data to find relevant keywords to make you stay competitive, among much more. Generative AI will help you shift your focus from keyword-based optimization to semantic search. This will help your website rank higher in search results by providing visitors with more relevant and accurate information.
Voice search is another trend that is getting more attention today. Most people are finding it easier to talk more than to type more. Voice assistants like Siri and Google Assistant have taken over, and people are talking to their devices more than ever. This is why your website should adapt to this trend by being mobile-responsive.
Failing to optimize your website for voice search can be a missed opportunity. So, how do you optimize your website for voice search? The first thing is to learn how to speak like your customers. Use more natural phrases that they could use when speaking. Focus on answering the questions “why,” “what,” “who,” “where,” and “how” in your content.
Valuable content is another trend you shouldn’t ignore. Always make sure your content answers the questions of your audience and meets the E-E-A-T guidelines.
Schema markup is another critical aspect of SEO that you should take note of. It helps search engines understand your content type and what it’s about. Schema markup is code added to key elements like product reviews, ratings, events, blogs, FAQs, and web pages to provide extra context, helping your website to stand out in the crowd. Implementing schema on your website can lead to more traffic and clicks.
So, there you have it. You are one step closer to future-proofing your brand with SEO. Use these strategies as your secret weapon to stay ahead in your SEO game.
Always remember to keep your eyes peeled for any industry twists and fine-tune your online presence. Doing this will not only help you future-proof your brand but also carve a permanent spot online. So, put on your armor, adapt, and enjoy the ride to your digital success.