Eli Schwartz

Category

SEO

Home / SEO
SEO

Big company vs small company SEO – enterprise SEO at scale

Search engine optimization is a straightforward process of aiding search engines in best understanding the content of a website so it can garner the maximum visibility in search results. Like anything in technology, there is a set of best practices which need to be implemented correctly to help the machines that power the crawling, ranking and discovery algorithms. In a small organization or on a simple website these best practices are easy to follow and implement. The person implementing the best practices might even have access to the content management system to do it themselves.

As an organization grows or a site becomes more complex, following one set of guidelines means there will be tradeoffs in another part of the company or on the website. This is what is typically termed enterprise SEO, but I prefer the more descriptive: SEO at Scale.

The rules and guidelines are the same for every site regardless of whether it has ten or a million pages. Every site, regardless of size, and in-fact every page needs to have optimized meta data, great content, and good backlinks that vouch for the site. A site like WashingtonPost.com doesn’t get a pass for thin content just because it has a great brand nor does Amazon.com get away with weak meta data.

What is SEO at Scale?

SEO at scale is really differentiated from plain-vanilla SEO in the execution of optimization efforts. Following best practices, implementing sitewide changes, and getting organizational buy-in is easy in small companies or on simple websites. (For this entire post, I am defining simple websites as a website that has a very clean architecture. A homepage with a few subpages that might have a few of their own subpages. A blog is a great example of a simple website: there is a homepage and then every subsequent page is organized by date with maybe a few tags thrown in.)

Quite the opposite is true at larger organizations and/or on complex websites. Making changes in this environment is akin to turning an aircraft carrier. From a company culture perspective, the keys to change may be shared within different departments and even small changes might require consensus across those various stakeholders. Something as simple as a title tag update might require the approval of various product and engineering managers, roles that if they existed in smaller organizations certainly wouldn’t have multiple people with that job title.

Once a change is approved, the actual rollout is directed in a standard engineering queue which is designed to keep websites and products bug-free by forcing all code changes into a process driven system. In this system there are many touchpoints which make SEO incredibly difficult and actually cede advantages on search to smaller more nimble organizations. (Tangential note: if you are competing on search with a large competitor, know that you have the advantage as they can never adopt change as fast as a smaller company).

Large company process

Large companies have things like dedicated sprints which hold back even small SEO changes from ever being released on the fly unless they clear the bar for a hotfix. There could be multiple layers of QA requiring the approval and understanding of engineers to even know what they are looking for in order to clear a change for release. However, for anyone working on SEO in a large organization nothing is as frustrating as the dreaded prioritization roadmap.

Any change, even a small one that requires engineering time, must beat out other engineering requests in order to make into a quarterly planning roadmap. This means that whomever is codifying that roadmap must believe that the SEO effort will be as impactful as something else that it might bump off of the roadmap. If the person making the SEO request can’t articulate the importance of that ask, it will never have a chance of making it into a roadmap. The only chance of a change happening will require an engineer having “extra” time, and no good engineer will intentionally allow that to happen!

In this environment, the key skill of an SEO cannot be just their creative and analytical abilities, but they also need to political and diplomatic. The person leading SEO-at-scale needs to have even stronger SEO abilities as they will need to articulate the what, why and how in a setting that could be potentially hostile to SEO asks.  They will need to know when an SEO best practice is really a key requirement or just a good to have. They will have to be a key player in the horse-trading, back scratching and negotiating that happens in any big company.

Data

Depending on the culture, they may even need to be a data whiz who can participate in a data-driven conversation about what matters most to the organization. Further complicating this requirement, data might not even be readily available. Key data might be locked up due to security necessities and only accessible via a request process. A great SEO will know how to operate within the confines of data they can readily access at their fingertips while still knowing how to effectively manipulate the data that the organization requires. Small companies might have one system of record such as Google Analytics while larger companies will have multiple that each serve a different purpose.

People

On the people side, there are also some pretty big differences between big and small companies. Smaller companies will have direct points of contact for specific requests and when those contacts transition out of the organization, they will be replaced by another single individual. The same cannot be said at larger organizations where reorganizations might happen multiple times per year, people leave, and their responsibilities shift to multiple people or new people come in to roles that had not existed before. The owners and leaders of various functions might be in different offices that could even by a flight away, and building a relationship requires being a pro at virtual communication.

An SEO could take months selling an effort to an individual or whole team only to have that team no longer able to implement the requirements when the right time comes. Again, an SEO with strong soft skills will be able to thrive in this environment as they will find the new right contact and build a new relationship.

Advantages

On the flip side, there are some amazing advantages to being able to do SEO at scale. At a smaller organization, the SEO may be capped in their career unless they move to another function while an SEO at a large company could continue to get promoted as their impact grows. If SEO efforts can grow in importance, the team focused on SEO will grow and the prospect of being in leadership becomes an option.  

Learning

 Larger organizations provide more opportunities for continuous learning and the SEO might find that they can explore new responsibilities without giving up their current ones. The greatest benefit is really the ability to get true SEO learnings not available at smaller companies. With a website that is relatively small, it will be nearly impossible to ever get statistical significance from an SEO test while larger websites afford many opportunities for testing and experimentation.

The complexity of a large website is really the best teacher of all. Knowing what the best practice around site hierarchy pales in comparison to actually learning what works best on a million-page website.  For a smaller website, international SEO might be limited to translating a contact page while at larger website it might mean translating a full website into ten different languages.  International opens up a whole new realm of testing and learning as the SEO team now needs to contend with keywords in languages they don’t know, competitors in other cultures, and a new set of rules around search engine discovery especially when it comes to content duplicated across languages or countries. For the right person, this is not a challenge, but an opportunity.

Conclusion

From a search engine perspective, SEO is the same for every website, but the effort that it takes to get there will vary widely depending on the complexity of the website and company. While many might think that brands get a leg up in search, and it’s very possible they do, that only happens when all other factors are even. Given the hoops that large companies need to jump through to produce the same result as a small company, this is far from guaranteed.

As anyone that has ever worked on SEO at scale knows, getting to the ideal state on all SEO factors is like climbing a mountain, at night, in a snowstorm. You know the peak is somewhere up there, and you just need to keep trudging forward and while it might take a long time to get there, if you stay the course you will get there. Everyone else might be on to the next mountain, but you feel a heroic sense of accomplishment at completing something that took monumental effort.

SEO

Zero click searches show the usefulness of search

Rand Fishkin recently published a blogpost referencing data that showed that Zero Click – defined as searches on Google that did not result in a click to any website at all – are now more than 50% of all searches.

In my opinion, searches where the user does not ultimately click to another website are actually beneficial for users because:

  • The user was able to satisfy their query without needing to click into one or multiple websites to find a quick answer
  • It makes users more reliant on search as a source of information – a place where next time around they might click.

Additionally, I am not convinced that any and all searches to Google properties are really a bad thing since for one the Google properties are so much better than their alternatives. Don’t believe me? When was the last time you used Mapquest to find directions or please share with me the URL of your favorite Youtube competitor.

Even in the places where Google was a bit more sneaky about cutting into competitors like say the restaurant review space, Yelp has so much richer content than 2 or 3 reviews you might find on a Google Local review. I think everyone can agree that users should end on the site or microsite of the best product.

The denominator is growing

Regardless, the true elephant in the room that might be leading to more zero click searches is that search has become so much better. Google suggest allows people to refine their searches even before they hit enter, but now there are so many other ways on the actual search result that Google helps users refine their search.

Anytime someone clicks one of these options – it is by nature a zero click search. Take for example this search:

A click into the next search page would be a zero click on the first search.

Or on many results there is a related search box like the one below:

A search for SEO tools brings up two complete sets of logos that would encourage a user to learn more about a company.

The net result of all these search improvements is there are MORE searches happening as Google reported in its last earnings report:

Our Google properties revenues increased $4,073 million and $7,757 million from the three and six months ended June 30, 2018 to the three and six months ended June 30, 2019, respectively. The growth was primarily driven by increases in mobile search resulting from ongoing growth in user adoption and usage, as well as continued growth in advertiser activity. We also experienced growth in YouTube driven primarily by video advertising, as well as growth in desktop search due to improvements in ad formats and delivery. The growth was partially offset by the general strengthening of the U.S. dollar compared to certain foreign currencies.


Without seeing the data from the Jumpshot study I can’t have an opinion on whether zero click search has truly grown, but even if it has I don’t think it’s a black and white negative against Google.

SEO

6 Things You Can Learn From Google’s Communication on Their Indexing Bug

In April of this year, Google experienced a bug where new pages stopped getting indexed. In a first for Google, they published a detailed synopsis of what happened.

Most of the time, our search engine runs properly. Our teams work hard to prevent technical issues that could affect our users who are searching the web, or webmasters whose sites we index and serve to users. Similarly, the underlying systems that we use to power the search engine also run as intended most of the time. When small disruptions happen, they are largely not visible to anyone except our teams who ensure that our products are up and running. However, like all complex systems, sometimes larger outages can occur, which may lead to disruptions for both users and website creators.

There are so many interesting nuggets of information in this debrief which supports some commonly held beliefs around SEO and debunks others. h

1) The indexation part of the algo is DISCONNECTED from the crawling algorithm. Clearly Google did not stop crawling new pages – they were just not getting pushed to the index.

2) The index is static – it needs to be “pushed” to datacenters and is not constantly in flux as many think. The index does not get updated on the fly, it is a static library that needs to be refreshed at intervals.

3) Search algorithms do change frequently far more than publicly disclosed or theorized on social media. Google was pushing an update on April 5th that did not coincide with a known algo update . Google says they update their algorithm over 500 times per year which is more than once per day. The fact that Google was “pushing” an index means that the algorithm that accessed that index would also have to have been adjusted.

4) Search console is a live look at data in the index – it wouldn’t have broken if it was disconnected from the index. Search console is one of my favorite search as it gives a look into data that we could not possibly see from any other source.

5) There is a “duplicate management system” as a part of the indexation algorithm NOT crawling. This explains why duplicate content with a canonical can rank for short periods of time if this process is not run in real time.

6) Google really does want websites to be successful in their index and to that end they try to give as much information as possible to optimize sites for Google search. In the battle for search visibility, there is no US vs THEM both Google and website owners want the same thing – to satisfy users.

SEO manager
SEO

The SEO Job Outlook: Everything you wanted to know

 Over the last year I noticed that the velocity of inbound recruiters pinging me about SEO roles had been increasing. I was curious whether there are actually more SEO roles or am I just “lucky.” To understand the total landscape a bit more I turned to LinkedIn Sales Navigator to do some deeper research on what recruiters are looking for and who might be qualified for these roles. 

Most of this post will be just facts and figures which underscores my gut hypothesis that there is suddenly a new found interest in SEO and the labor market is tight. 

Note: all numerical research is for the US only unless I specifically call out another location.

There are currently 47.5k job openings that match the keyword “SEO” and on the flipside there are only 909k people that match the same keyword. Taking these numbers at face value, this means that there is one job for every 20 people that match this keyword at the most broad level. 

To get a sense of the context of this ratio, I looked at the same metrics for some other job roles.

For “software engineers” the ratio is 10:1. 

For product managers, the ratio is 30:1.

For designers, the ratio is 23:1

With these numbers as a baseline, SEO appears to be high in-demand but not as in-demand as software which isn’t surprising. However, SEO is a very general keyword that could match anyone that remotely has anything to do with search engine optimization, and in reality the ratio could be even lower. 

SEO Specific People

Again using Sales Navigator, I broke down the people in the SEO category even further. First off,  of the 909k people that matched SEO only 26.5k had the words “SEO” in their title. Digging into just this subgroup, the results were quite fascinating:

  • 1,166 changed jobs in the last 90 days which a turnover ratio of 4%

Job role

  • 8,588 work in marketing and advertising
  • 3,677 work in internet
  • 2,002 work in information technology
  • 1,054 computer software
  • 806 writing and editing

Function

The majority of these people (24k) work in marketing with the rest (1.6k) working under engineering.

Company size

The bulk of people are at smaller companies:

  • 864 are self employed
  • 4347  work in companies with 1-10 employees
  • 4954  work in companies with 11-50 employees
  • 3256  work in companies with 51-200 employees
  • 1801  work in companies with 201-500 employees
  • 1077  work in companies with 501-1000 employees
  • 1837  work in companies with 1001 – 5000 employees
  • 611  work in companies with 5001-10,000 employees
  • 1836  work in companies with more than 10,000 employees

I found the data around seniority and years of experience to be the most fascinating and where there is a real mismatch between hiring managers and the labor market. 

Seniority

  • Owner 2,265
  • Director 2,138
  • Manager 1,405
  • Senior 11,611
  • Entry 16,081

While the prior data is titles which might not always align with skills, the years of experience actually requires passage of time. (I excluded people without a year of experience).

Years of experience

  • 6,550 have 1-3 years of experience
  • 3956 have 3-5 years of experience
  • 4862 have 6 -10 years of experience
  • 3731 have 10+ years of experience

Looking back at what recruiters are looking for, 12k of the current job openings want someone “mid-senior” level and above. Even if we assumed that anyone with 3 years of experience might meet that bar, the ratio of qualified candidates (based on the numbers above) to job openings is essentially 1:1! 

With this data in hand, this would definitely explain an uptick in demand for SEO. 

Here are some other interesting findings that came up from this research:

  • There are 5k people that have the title of SEO in California
    • Only 1,400 are in the Bay Area
    • There are 1,065 job openings in Bay Area!
  • There are 3k people in NYC that have the title of SEO 
    • There are 1,700 job openings
  • Here are some other US states and their population of people with SEO in their title:
    • Texas: 1,700
    • Florida: 2k
    • Illinois: 972
    • Washington:426
  • Internationally, here is the breakdown of people with SEO in their title
    • 8k in the UK
    • 8k in Pakistan
    • 57k in India
    • 4k in Spain

In short if you are looking for an SEO role and have experience, this is a sellers market. Know who your competition might and definitely don’t underprice yourself.

If you are looking to hire for SEO, you are up against many other companies that suddenly have the same need to fill a role. Prepare to break out all your tricks to recruit skilled SEO managers to your team.

SEO

Is SEO Marketing?

In most organizations, SEO is typically considered a marketing function but should it be? The answer to this depends on the SEO needs of the company.

In a smaller organization or a company who’s primary online presence has less than 100 pages SEO efforts will primarily focused on the content aspects to organic marketing:

  • Keyword research – the research and decisions on which keywords to use will drive a lot of the content and marketing on a website
  • Content creation which can span multiple areas
    • Blog posts
    • Marketing landing pages
    • Product updates – content about new products and created to promote these products
    • Feature pages – marketing the features of products
    • Home page content – typically a heavy branding effort, but requires keyword research to choose target keywords
  • Meta data creation – Using SEO best practices in the title tags, meta description and headlines. While it’s a key responsibility of an SEO team, the primary skill after keyword research is essentially copy writing
  • Backlink efforts /PR

All of these functions are very common marketing efforts and therefore make the most sense for SEO to sit in a marketing team. In this capacity the SEO individual (team) will be sit alongside content writers, paid marketers and PR. Reporting into a marketing leader, they will focus on the free search aspect counterpart to what the other team members do.

SEO for larger sites and companies

However for larger sites where much of the SEO will typically be product or engineering related, having the SEO team sit under marketing could make it challenging to both implement changes and be aware of challenges. The types of things the SEO team will work on in these companies will be more focused on the following than just content (which will also be a part of their job):

  • Migration planning and implementation – large sites will always be moving something as priorities change
  • Product build outs – these could consist of microsites, launches of new products or simply a constant cadence of refreshes and rebrands. In larger companies the product silos will be larger and every PM will have a preference to how they showcase their product
  • Architecture and taxonomy – the larger the site the more organization matters. Think of how clean the architecture of an ecommerce site might be and how terrible it could be without a lot of though paid to taxonomy.
  • International – This usually requires one person alone to focus on as there will be many moving parts that are driven by translations, currency, and even domains – all product related.
  • Competitive research and reporting – the more complex the company might be, the greater the need for customized SEO reporting might be.
  • Education – In larger organizations there is a need to have constant education as there will always be new people unaware of SEO requirements that have the potential to affect organic traffic.

In these larger sites, it might make sense for the SEO team to either be a part of a product team or even better on a growth team which sits between product and marketing.

From my experience, SEO has been most effective when it is in the same reporting line as product, but most companies actually put SEO within marketing.

In short, is SEO marketing? It really is contingent what the key levers the SEO team will be using to drive growth.

SEO

SEO Due Diligence for Investments and Acquisition – Lite version

It is prudent to conduct SEO due diligence when investing in (or acquiring) a business that relies on organic search traffic for a substantial amount of revenue. If the SEO foundation is somewhat tenuous the organic traffic is at risk of a decrease or even disappearing if something changes on the site, in the competitive landscape, or in a search engine algorithm update. 

It is important to keep in mind that while a site might have more ‘ownership’ of organic traffic than paid traffic –  which will just stop when the budget stops – the rankings and the traffic outcome are really at the whims of the search engines. That being said, rankings typically don’t disappear overnight IF best practices are followed and all SEO efforts are above board.

For the most part, any SEO due diligence projects I have conducted have been similar to an SEO audit, however the focus is usually on how stable the site’s traffic will be for the near future rather than what can be improved.  Anyone experienced with SEO could likely find obvious red flags in a site, but when investing a substantial amount of money into a site, you want to make sure you do this right.

Additionally, it is critical to understand what red flags are areas of opportunity versus which ones should cause the potential investors to turn and run.

Independent SEO Due Diligence

If you are in the early stages of looking at a potential website investment or acquisition, you might want to do some quick due diligence on your own.  To begin this process you are going to need access to their Google Search Console account, Google Analytics and server logs. You should also have a simulated web crawler like Oncrawl and a backlinks/traffic tool like Ahrefs on hand. 

The first step in this exercise is to see if there have been any negative SEO events in the recent past:

  • Check Google Search Console to ensure there has been a steady uptick in organic traffic
  • Check Google Analytics to see that there have never been any negatives drops in traffic since the site was launched
  • Check Ahrefs to see that there have never been any drops in visibility

If there have ever been any drops in visibility ask for clarifying details.

Technical due diligence

Next it’s time to start looking under the hood at the technical implementation of the site. Launch your crawl on Oncrawl and let it run without any filters at all. If the site is small you can use Screaming Frog’s free tool.

  • Look for large numbers of broken pages 
  • Look for chained redirects  (page → page → page) 
  • Look for duplicate content
  • Look for content that is no-indexed
  • Look for content that is indexed but shouldn’t be
  • Look for proper use of on-page meta tags
  • Drill into the internal linking architecture
  • Understand how pages link to each other and with what keywords
  • Manually look at the site for unindexable content 
  • Note the URL structure
    • Are there query parameters?
    • Are all pages connected to the root domain
    • Are there many subdirectories in the URL
    • Do they use subdomains?

Backlink Due Diligence

Moving on from the technical audit it’s time to start looking at the backlinks. Use the Ahrefs backlink checker to get a sense of the quality and quantity of backlinks.

  • Check for patterns of deliberate gray backlinking
    • Non-varied anchor text
    • Links that don’t seem to fit content
    • Links on non-relevant pages
  • Understand the quality of the links using a domain score metric
  • Dig into the links to reveal how they were obtained

Now let’s shift to the actual search results and start running some site queries.

  • Conduct a search on Google for the brand and make sure the homepage shows up first.
  • Notice how many pages are indexed in Google
  • Conduct a site: query with some common spam words appended to make sure that the site has not been hacked

Finally, we can assess the quality of the site itself

  • Analyze the quality of the content on the site. 
    • Is it in depth?
    • Are there typos?
    • Grammatical errors
    • Where is it located?
      • Blog 
      • Resource page
      • Homepage
    • What is the readership level
  • Using Ahrefs again look at what kind of pages are ranking on the site
  • Look at Google Search Console to see the kinds of terms that are ranking
  • Look at Google Analytics to make sure that time-on-site for content pages isn’t lower than the amount of time it might take to read the content.

Following the above steps should give you a good sense of the staying power for existing traffic. The next step would be to assess the conversion funnel of traffic that arrives from search engines. Regardless, the outcome of the quick SEO due diligence audit is to know whether you might want to spend more time researching the potential investment. This quick audit should in no way substitute for a full audit which must be done before any funds trade hands.

I will follow up on this post on how to do a truly in depth audit.

SEO

Podcasts of Search and Digital Marketing

I frequently get asked by people new to the world of digital marketing for some resources on learning online marketing. When I first started learning SEO, my education came from a few books I found. Those books still exist, but they wouldn’t be the best way to learn something as dynamic as search in 2020.

As an aside, I learned so much from Aaron Wall’s SEO Book in 2006 and it was a brilliant mind dump of everything he knew about SEO.

Today, learning is all about multi-tasking and learning from podcasts is a great way to learn from actual practitioners without the need to even get dressed.

In no particular order, here are the best podcasts I like on digital marketing. If you know of any that I might have missed, please let me know.

SEO

When to start SEO

Unlike paid traffic, SEO is not an instant faucet of growth; therefore an SEO foundation must be poured long before a site actually needs the traffic. At the same time, SEO is not a simple side project and an SEO focus immediately upon the launch of a company risks diverting resources from other channels that will help a company to scale.

The challenge is figuring out the precise time when to start focusing on SEO. In a perfect world, the answer is to build that SEO foundation 6 months before it will be needed. “Needed” in this case is when the marginal cost of paid marketing starts to rise. Knowing when this will occur requires a view into the future which is impossible, so we need an alternative way to plan for this eventuality.

The best way to invest in SEO without really going all in to build in best practices very early on that will enable a pivot to SEO as soon as early signs appear that it is necessary.

Most importantly, SEO efforts should not be hindered by making mistakes that will be hard to unwind later on. This means not building on a site structure that is completely unfriendly to SEO best practices. This also likely means not using hosting and a CMS that will be expensive to modify for SEO.

Even if a site does not have an SEO focus today, there should be no reason to build against it with a complex javascript implementation or not using any text on a website. There may not a be a full on content marketing effort, but there should at least be some content that can be a hook for organic visitors.

Once the marginal cost of new users/customers from paid search turns south, this is when a company should really start investing in SEO. If they have not yet built out a taxonomy for content this is where they should start.

In addition, there needs to be some time set aside for building an SEO roadmap so SEO isn’t done a haphazard way, but is managed like any other product or acquisition channel.

Most importantly, this is when effort should be allocated towards content investments that are strategic for the business and not just blog posts.

In short, SEO efforts should begin immediately on the launch of a product but this is not always realistic due to the need for immediate growth. The second best option is to prepare for SEO growth, so it is available as soon as it is necessary.

SEO

CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) and how it impacts marketing

In mid-2018, the EU had the greatest impact on the tech industry EVER with the implementation of their overarching privacy law: GDPR. Since the EU doesn’t have the same lobbying culture that we do in the US, tech companies and the industry overall didn’t have enough influence on the wording of the law as they would have liked.

As a result the law was written with too much room for vague interpretations of what is allowed and what isn’t, so corporate legal departments needed to exercise extreme caution. May 25, 2018 the day that the law went into effect saw many companies turn off their retargeting campaigns in Europe, stop showing Google Analytics script, pausing CRM campaigns and even blocking their websites completely.

Companies that didn’t do business in the EU breathed a sigh of relief that they didn’t have to worry about GDPR, but that might have been a false sense of complacency.

CCPA

Hiding in plain sight there was a law being worked on in California called the CCPA (the California Customer Privacy Act.) Ostensibly this law is only designed to protect California residents, but as companies don’t do business any differently between states, the law has national impact.

The initial goals of the proponents for this legislation was to have something similar to GDPR here in the US, but thanks to the power of corporate influence the final result is much lighter.

Rather than pass onerous restrictions on how companies can handle personal data and then exact large fines for breach, the actual law focuses on the right to know what data companies have and the right to delete said data.

  1. You will have the right to know what information large corporations are collecting about you…and you should. Businesses use your personal information for their own purposes, including targeting you with ads, discriminating against you based on price or service level, and compiling your information into an extensive electronic file on you.  You should be able to know what’s being collected about you.
  2. You will have the right to tell a business not to share or sell your personal information…and you should. California law has not kept pace with changing business practices. Businesses not only know where you live and how many children you have, but also how fast you drive, your personality, sleep habits, health and financial information, current location, web browsing history, to name just a few things.
  3. You will have the right to protections against businesses which do not uphold the value of your privacy…and you should. Businesses that collect your sensitive personal information should take basic steps to keep it safe. Right now there are no consequences if they don’t, and this law will introduce some consequences.

While this law might not be as scary as GDPR, it is only a first attempt. Many tools that companies have relied on for marketing like retargeting, data brokering, etc will become a thing of the past once full restrictions on trading data and allowing users to opt out become commonplace.

The real fallout from this legislation might not be known for some time as it does not come into effect until the beginning of 2020. There is still time for the trajectory of the law to become even more pro-tech company.

Retargeting and custom targeting based on brokered data has been an absolute boon for both the advertising industry as well as marketers since it enables precise targeting rather than the spray and pray objective of broad targeting. Without the ability to use this data, companies are once again going to have to fallback on advertising blindly or explore other channels.

How does CCPA effect current tools and processes?

The law is still in a to-be-decided state. How it will impact common uses of data such as retargeting, data-sharing and CRM practices is still up in the air as the attorney general of the state gathers feedback from interested parties.

One glaring area of concern is how it might effect data collection through analytics platforms like Google Analytics, Omniture and similar. Since data is collected in an aggregate form rather than personalized, it is likely that not much will need to change for analytics. To date, there has not been an EU lawsuit against the usage of Google Analytics as it relates to GDPR, so hopefully there is no issue with the far less stringent CCPA legislation.

SEO as the savior

Regardless, the existence of a law that tamps down on advertising based on personal data is a huge benefit for SEO. GDPR helped spike interest in SEO, and with the implementation of a privacy law in the US, interest in SEO will reach new highs.

SEO relies on no data whatsoever to be successful and therefore its success falls outside the purview of the CCPA. Yes, Google, a target of the CCPA, might use data to rank search results, but you don’t need to be logged into Google to conduct an effective search. Search is just as effective when the user is anonymous.

Additionally, companies can even use search to retarget churned users if they can develop content and an SEO strategy that will reach these users. Paid retargeting is useful, but there are certainly ways to recapture users without needing to pay and track users across the web.

As companies pivot towards a cleaner form of marketing, SEO will take center stage as companies that seek new channels to reach their customers.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7