Search engine optimization (SEO) strategies seem to change as fast as the weather, making it difficult for small business owners to nail down a method that works. In addition to rapidly changing trends, including the growth of mobile-friendly SEO, content marketers are now strategizing with their eye on a brand new demographic.
We are, of course, talking about the iGen, or Generation Z, who came of age during the 2010s and are well acquainted with the power of the internet on their purchasing decisions. The post-millennial cohort are more likely to rely on social media over traditional advertorial methods, including email marketing, and very unlikely to read company blogs.
While this might seem like bad news for the business owner who has just managed to figure out how to effectively market to the slightly older millennials, it is a new and exciting prospect for the content marketer. Here’s why.
The value of content marketing to Generation Z
The skeptical business owner might wonder if SEO is even worth investing in if it’s being phased out in favor of other forms of social media-based marketing. If Gen Z are more likely to be influenced by a popular Instagram personality or a viral hashtag, why should companies spend the time and money to achieve high Google rankings? Is SEO dead, and is it worth attempting to revive it?
The answer is a resounding “no”. On the contrary, content marketing and SEO are far from over. In fact, this industry is growing faster than just about any other in the modern world, with the number of job listings related to content strategy climbing nearly 250 percent since 2011. Millennials created the need for internet marketing, while Gen Z is simply changing the playing field. Recall the importance of mobile-friendly websites, which Gen Z’ers are likely to look at in between Instagram and Snapchat updates.
How to respond to changing dynamics
Today’s intuitive buyers grew up with the internet at their fingertips, and aren’t old enough to remember the early days of search engines, when optimized and boosted rankings based on word sequence seemed like a thousand years off. They may not recall dial-up, but they are increasingly suspicious of marketing that feels inauthentic.
This leaves content marketers with a unique challenge: help promote businesses by boosting their rank while making it look completely natural. The variety of skills required to be a successful content marketer can be surprising. According to recent reports, the most desirable skills at content management agencies are data analysis, content writing and editing, and graphic design.
How to be sure it’s ethical
Of course, as in any industry, there are companies who play by the rules and those who rely on illegal practices to get ahead. Numerous, wily SEO scammers have managed to swindle small businesses. The phenomenon is so prevalent that it has acquired a tongue-in-cheek name: black-hat SEO, as opposed to white-hat, distinguishing the bad guys from the good guys in the world of content marketing.
SEO scams are unethical, but they’re also dangerous for your website, as they go against the terms of service of most major search engines. If a company approaches you with the claim that they have partnered with Google, this is a red flag; Google does not do anything of the sort. Only reputable SEO companies, such as LinkGraph, are certain to vet their staff and ensure only the best organic business practices are used.
Gen Z is diverse group of digitally literate young professionals with backgrounds in everything from creative writing to social media marketing to political campaign strategy. So the SEO experts of today are required to keep ahead of current trends and navigate an industry in constant flux.