How Can SEO Be Used to Target Millennials

09/29/2016 09:31 am ET Updated Sep 30, 2017

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) remains one of the most powerful ways to reach your target audience. But Google's changes have meant that ranking websites is based on the user experience each customer gets. This means companies have to change the way they do things. SEO is not just a case of throwing in a few keywords and links to sites.

I spoke to Arya Bina, Founder and CEO of Kobe Digital, to talk about how SEO can be used to target millennials, which is one of the hardest groups to hit.

AJ: Thank you for joining me today. Could you tell me more about Kobe Digital?

CEO: Kobe Digital is a company that caters to small and medium-sized businesses. We help them to reach their target audiences. We remain a small firm with a global reach. Our role as a boutique Los Angeles digital marketing firm enables us to give our clients the personalized services they want to conquer the most competitive industries.

AJ: Do you think millennials look at SEO differently than any other generation?

CEO: Millennials definitely view SEO differently. The main difference is that millennials perceive strong SEO to be a requirement for any company they do business with. They have grown up with the Internet and Google their whole lives, the first generation to do so, and finding a piece of information online has become second nature. They do the same when they want to find out more about a business.

For the vast majority of them, the Internet is the first place they look when learning more about a company and its products. Companies that have failed to make a strong online presence their top priority are practically invisible to millennials. They're as good as dead in the water.

AJ: As a boutique LA digital marketing firm, do you find most of your clients are from the local area?

CEO: We have found that the majority of small to medium-sized businesses enjoy working with local agencies. This is because we find that any cultural and logistical challenges are already understood by the agency. Our list of clients reflects this, and the majority of the businesses on this list are based in Southern California to enable this personalized approach.

But Kobe Digital is a national company and there have been many companies from across the country deciding to work with us after being referred. Los Angeles is one of the biggest and best creative hubs in the country, which is why top marketing talent tends to flock here which has enabled Kobe Digital to hire some of the top millennial talent .

AJ: What direction do you think SEO is taking now?

CEO: To us, it's clear that SEO is becoming the new reality when it comes to marketing. SEO has enabled companies to execute campaigns that are targeted, scalable, and measurable. That's the gold standard in advertising. With over 90% of online experiences beginning with a Google search, SEO is the clear choice for any company that wants to hit millennial audiences.

SEO is part of an environment that's dynamic and fast-flowing. It's difficult to predict which direction it will move in over the next few years. But targeted marketing services are sure to continue their relentless advance. Companies will be able to leverage granular data, including time spent on pages, search engine users' search histories, and bounce rates. To a large extent, we've already seen this transformation.

AJ: When marketing to millennials does SEO and/or Social have the stronger place?

CEO: It's easy to think that millennials share every detail on social media, therefore social media marketing is the future of online advertising. At Kobe Digital, we have found that this is true to a certain extent. A strong social media marketing campaign is one of the most effective tools for building your brand and engaging with your customers.

But when it comes to introducing your company's products and services to new demographics, SEO is the best way to increase your visibility. Search engine users are far more likely than social media users to convert. 72% of people who perform a local search will visit the closest store to them. 61% of local searches also lead to a purchase.

Those are numbers social media marketing has yet to reach.

Conclusion - SEO is More Important than Ever

SEO is more important than ever before and there's no doubt that it's a cornerstone for reaching millennials. SEO might have been changed, but it's not going to disappear anytime soon. Companies that fail to invest in SEO are going to be at a crippling disadvantage. And there are no signs of this changing anytime soon as SEO becomes more targeted and more affordable.

What do you think is the most important benefit of SEO?