Written by Roland Benedetti, Chief Product & Marketing

The disciplines of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) have been shook and transformed massively lately. SEO was and is a big deal, almost an industry within our industry of digital experts. And as a whole, it has been transformed over the last few years. It’s not without reason that key players like SEOmoz, renamed themselves MOZ -- removing SEO from their name. Today, SEO has become all about content optimization.

SEO used to be a very isolated domain. One where the activity was often a lot about how to tweak existing websites and content so that it is easily discovered by search engines. This by itself was independent from the rest of typical web team’s workflow (designers, editors, developers…).

SEO wizards would put their hats on -- sometimes their black ones -- and would create the magic, though sometimes not much magic would be made. Consultants would come and tell you everything you needed to know about SEO. Providing you with guidelines without knowing much of your content and your strategy.

Giving More and More Power to Content

The evolution of Google’s search algorithm has been the main driver of the changes in the SEO industry. The various revisions of the algorithm, Panda (February 2011), Penguin (April 2012), Hummingbird (October 2013), and many other projects including Knowledge Graph, Google Authorship …) have all been implemented with the goal to make Google’s search relevancy sharper and smarter. By constantly tweaking their algorithm, Google has worked hard to filter out all things which don’t include quality content, and in doing so, has maximized the pure essence of the content itself. (A great detailed history can be viewed here for the curious: http://moz.com/google-algorithm-change)

Today, beside a few very SEO-specific details, it’s clear that first and foremost your content, your content architecture and your content strategy will drive how your content performs on search engines. The rest is optimization. But if you don’t got the content part right, you can almost forget about it.

While there is still a lot of room to criticize Google on many things, this transition away from old school SEO and towards quality content is at least a change in the right direction. Yesterday, content was already king, today it is the king of a bigger kingdom!

SEO is Dead, vive SEO!

The changes mentioned above have brought forth many articles and reflections. We didn’t count the number of blog posts, but surely there has been many voices declaring SEO dead, including my own in some cases. The truth is, SEO is not dead. It’s matured. It evolved into something better and merged with another discipline. There are still huge needs for people with strong understandings of the nature of search and its intricacies. And there’s a lot of need for experts to educate digital marketers of all levels.

SEO has become a more integrated part of the whole discipline of digital marketing. SEO is about content marketing, SEO is about content strategy, SEO is about social media, and most importantly SEO is about content. SEO isn’t all about SEO anymore.

It’s All About Optimization

Yes, it is all about content! Purist might say, content optimized for a “thing,” such as a search engine, is no longer “real” content, or at least it has lost a bit of its originality. We don’t believe this is the right way to look at things.

Content has always been optimized to the channels it was used in. An author writing stories in the 19th century for newspapers would clearly take into account the specificities of their new media, compared to writing a traditional novel. Filmmakers making TV shows definitely adapted their writing to the specifications a primetime TV slot would allow. Copy editors writing commercials have always adapted to the different mediums they work with.

And now, editors writing for digital media have to take into account the specifics of SEO related constraints as a true part of their media.

What Does This Means for Digital Content Technology and Content Management?

Regarding technology, as SEO has become more about content, it means SEO now actually is a more important concern for content workers, editors and marketers. This means solutions such as our solution, the eZ Publish Platform, should offer more SEO related features out of the box. This will help to simplify and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the digital team.

eZ Publish, thanks to its ability to be customized and extended, is and was always a very good helper for proper SEO. For years, as first generation CMSs began carrying embarrassing limitations such as improper URL schemes, or the inability to properly manage the content to place metas and other keywords, eZ Publish was offering more. Of course, eZ Publish was not alone, and some of eZ’s competitors were also keep pace with the trend.

For these reasons, the future for CMSs and for the eZ Publish Platform is to clearly keep moving in this direction, embedding more and more SEO related features into the core product. Features like the ability to simply preview SERPs, track how keywords are used in content, recommend content improvements and modifications, and use proper tags automatically for things such as related content and micro format…

Like all things digital now, SEO is also a lot about measurement and analytics. It will be a natural trend to move from specialized SEO-centric analytics solution, to global analytics & optimization solutions that among other measurements, will cover SEO KPIs and metrics.

Create, Deliver, Optimize has become the magic recipe for digital projects, and SEO has a significant impact on each ingredient!

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