“My SEO and Growth Predictions for 2022”

4. Brand strength becomes a success gateway

A strong brand has always been important. Long before the internet made marketing more measurable, brand marketing was all there was in marketing. Some people literally went through magazines and cut out press clippings. Data was sourced through surveys and focus groups. Not a bad idea, but not scalable either.

But today, we find ourselves in a stalemate. With only four scalable growth channels and consumer platform stagnation, three factors predict the success of a company: superior IP, more capital, or brand. In most cases, brand is the result of #1 and #2 and now it’s becoming an absolute must-have for success.

A strong brand strength can be a proxy for PMF and lead to significant market share gains. Every month only ~6K people search for “find a job” but 2.6M search for “indeed jobs” and 13M for “indeed” in the US.

Brand traffic is “free” and highly intentful. Google Search results prioritize strong brands even more in 2021, in part because Google wants to rank trustworthy sites higher to combat fake news and keep trust with customers themselves. Remember, Google’s market position is the direct result of how much searchers trust it.

Tesla spends almost nothing on Marketing and a lot on RnD. Brand is a moat you can build strong customer relationships and defenses on.

When looking at the search volumes for the keywords “macys” and “nordstrom” below, which one do you think has a higher chance of gaining market share over time?

In 2022, companies will invest more in building and monitoring stronger brands as a driver of higher ROAS (returns on ad spend), lower CAC (customer acquisition cost), and organic rankings.

Growth Memo: My SEO and Growth predictions for 2022

The growing pains of crawling the web

IndexNow provides many benefits. It allows webmasters to notify all search engines at once. It democratized indexing and leads to fewer resources needed by search engines to crawl the web.

Search Engines have been struggling with crawling for a while. Challenges include spam, javascript rendering, but also the increased use of nofollow tags, which is one of the reasons Google started treating nofollow more as a suggestion than a directive.

I don’t think web discovery through links is the best approach and expect more search engines to lean on webmasters to bring new content to them through APIs like IndexNow.

Kevin Indig, Growth Memo

Meaningful Partnerships with Influencers

Canadian Instagram influencer gets called out for using ‘Konnichiwa’ while in Thailand

Successful influencer partnerships are based on trust—not reach. They aren’t built on vanity metrics like follower counts. They’re focused on reaching their target audience with relevant content. By keeping this in mind, you’ll move beyond immediate short-term revenue gains and capitalize on all the other benefits the influencers, bloggers and micro-influencers have to offer.

Some common benefits include:

  • Audience Data – What demographic, geographic, psychographic and brand affinity data can you source from your successful influencers to learn about your customers?
  • Enriched Insights – What product shots, use cases, content types resonated the most with audiences that converted?
  • Audience Loyalty – How can you channel the loyalty the audience has for the influencer and connect it to your brand?
  • Branded Content – How can you repurpose the influencer content for other marketing campaigns to acquire new customers?

When you work with an influencer that truly believes in your brand and appreciates your product, the content that they create is gold.

It’s important to note which influencers are over-indexing with engagement. Those are the ones you want to do more with.

Brands that treat influencers as partners as opposed to paid marketing channels will see the value in their campaigns. To take this approach, brands need to work collaboratively and focus on long-term gains rather than short-term revenue.

Nik Sharma, Influencer Partnerships: How to Form Meaningful Partnerships with Influencers

Mindset Shift

From Keyword Research to TAM

Let’s say you work for an online stationery eCommerce site. You’re trying to persuade the company to invest in content. You could look at the existing content rankings, look at the next 50 pieces of content you might write – essentially try and model out some growth bottoms up – starting with what you have today.

But top down, we might try and find a reference point to see what the total opportunity is. Turns out Hallmark’s content hub ideas.hallmark.com gets 21m visits / year (~40% of all of Hallmark’s organic traffic).

Now there’s all sorts of reasons why this may or may not be a good analogy – and who knows how much of that traffic is revenue-generating. But if I’m an executive at company competing with Hallmark, I’m likely paying more attention to your pitch than I was before.

From competitive analysis to competitive advantage

If you’re going to make pages you need to think about your competitors not through the lens of competitive analysis but through the lens of competitive advantage.

Competitive analysis asks: what do we have and what do competitors have?

Competitive advantage asks: what can we do that competitors can’t?

Not simply asking how do we grow, but how do we build defensible growth – how do we build a moat around our business to create deeper value.

Often we look at strong brands with jealousy but a strong brand positioning can often lead to a more constrained strategy (that’s often the point!) – competing head to head with them is competing on their terms. Instead look to change the rules and play in areas they can’t.

Tom Critchlow from The SEO MBA