Agility in search

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Mike Jeffs

Getting stuff done

Agility in search has been a prevalent theme at many events I have attended and spoken at throughout the past two years. In the world of search, brands are still struggling to make changes to their site, their strategy and their technology. Which means the challenge of ‘getting stuff done’ keeps cropping up. Our Strategy Director, Stephen Kenwright discussed elements of this at SearchLeeds 2016 – ‘Stop best practicing, start doing

More recently I spoke at last year’s Digital Olympus where I offered my thoughts on agility in search. I discussed how technology is always evolving at a quicker pace and brands and agencies alike need to be agile to take advantage of new forms of standard practice.

Lately there’s been a shift in how things are done within many industries. There’s now a focus on doing newer or smaller things at a much quicker pace. However, in today’s world where everyone is trying to do the ‘next big thing’, but yet protect their current thing, it’s often difficult.

Agility or fluidity?

In our eBook on 2016 search trends, I mentioned agility, referencing ING Nederlands’ agile way of working video:

“the new way of working calls for quicker reactions to changes in client needs”

The same can be said for the search landscape. We’ve found there’s generally been a change in client requirements and there’s now a need from clients for a workaround, so as an agency we’ve been challenged to have quicker reactions – a plan B. This has encompassed everything from iframe-ing PR assets to get them live quicker, to testing methods of implementation such as tag manager, or looking at CDN (content delivery networks).

The search landscape changes at such a rapid pace that you must have the ability to quickly amend your strategy for you to get results from Google but also adapt to a Plan B once a client or circumstance has diluted Plan A.

Will it become easier?

No.

If you look at Google’s documented marketing help, the mobile agenda is something they’ve been pushing for a couple of years in some subtle and some not so subtle ways (which then turned out to be subtle – I’m looking at you, Mobilegeddon).

According to Micro Moments the opportunities to satisfy user intent are decreasing, so you need to ensure you can adapt or react as a brand/agency in time to be there in those moments, when it will count.

It’s hugely satisfying when a Plan A gets effectively executed as a Plan B, C or D. This is because as an agency it feels unusual to execute a plan in full without some level of compromise. We’re accustomed to using a somewhat diluted version of our original intention.

Solstice, our sister agency, refers to an ever-growing trend in its clients moving towards agile processes “to gain efficiencies and speed to market”. For us, we’re seeing a change of SEO strategy to an MVP mindset (Minimum Viable Product). As search strategists we need to choose what recommendations can be implemented to present the quickest route to success for a client. Our strategy can’t be linear; it has to be more like a matrix (slide 38).

Feel free to look through my slides on Agility in SEO from Digital Olympus. The latest Digital Olympus event is on 28th November and is free to attend.

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