As mobile-first, tech-savvy Gen Z emerges into adulthood, they’re having a massive impact on online retail and search engine optimization (SEO). Unlike previous generations, Gen Z is less likely to remember a time in their life without technology. This being the case, online retailers must tailor their marketing and SEO strategy to build a relationship with Gen Z.
In light of that, we’re breaking down who Generation Z are, their impact on SEO, and how to market your business toward Gen Z while remaining inclusive of other generations. That’s lots to cover, so let’s get started!
Who’s Gen Z?
Following the millennial generation, Gen Z was born between 1997-2012. These kids were raised with social media and the internet, and the oldest is just completing college and entering adulthood. It might come as a surprise that Gen Z already makes up for a spending power of over $143 Billion around the world.
Evidently, this close connection with technology has profoundly affected how this generation spends their money. As such, Gen Z’s SEO behavior and online spending patterns differ from that of millennials.
Consequently, marketers face new challenges — most notably, staying on top of Gen Z’s online behavior trends to meet their digital expectations.
Gen Z’s Impact on SEO
While Gen Z isn’t the most receptive audience for traditional advertisement, SEO is still a vital means of connecting with them. After all, this generation grew up using search engines to satisfy their curiosity and continue to rely on Google heavily. They know the tools at their disposal and can quickly evaluate which links to click.
One of the most important things to note is that most of these searches occur on mobile devices. In fact, 90% of this generation uses their phone to visit a search engine each month.
Bombarding Gen Z with ads is rarely effective, as they’ve learned to tune out thousands of ads a day. As a result, the attention span of the average Gen Z consumer is just eight seconds. However, this short time span isn’t wasted, as Gen Z very quickly filters through content to assess what’s valuable to them.
On that note, Gen Z doesn’t appreciate their time being wasted, with 60% saying they wouldn’t use a site or app that loads too slowly. As Google prioritizes user experience over everything, it’s no wonder site speed has become an increasingly important ranking factor.
Another interesting detail is that Gen Z searchers have the highest preference for long-tail queries. Why? Because they’re well aware that short queries produce broader results. They know how to hone in on a niche to find exactly what they’re looking for.
SEO marketers hoping to engage Gen Z can use this to their advantage by optimizing their content for long-tail keywords. Also, these longer phrases are commonly used with mobile voice assistants, which, again, this generation is known to use frequently.
How Your SEO Can Target All Generations
While focusing your attention on a Gen Z audience, it’s crucial to consider other generations to maximize your returns. If you want your SEO to be inclusive of all ages, you must understand the latest online trends, what speaks to them, and how best to reach them.
Gen Z marks the dawning of a new era for technology usage. Few Gen Z’ers remember a time when they didn’t have tech at their fingertips, which, of course, impacts how they use the internet. Let’s see how:
- They use whole sentences when using search engines (read: long-tail searches)
- They’re more likely to use voice assistants and voice search
- Smart devices are at the forefront
- Keywords often include words like “cheap,” “best,” and “how-to.”
- They love video content
- Social media is widely embraced
- They’re more likely to look for a wide variety of content – blogs, videos, online experiences, information, websites, etc.
Gen Z is the first generation to really utilize smart devices and voice assistants, which is probably why they use more longtail searches than any other generation. It helps to optimize your content with this type of search in mind.
They’re also a generation that fully embraces video content and will often seek out this format over written content. Gen Z embraces multiple social media platforms and uses these networks to influence their online spending habits. Based on this, you should market to millennials and Gen Z using the same strategies.
Millennials were the first web-surfing generation. Born between 1981-1996, this generation heavily relies on search engines to find what they’re looking for. In fact, a study shows that over 90% of millennial online experiences start with a Google search. This means millennials are a phenomenal market to tap into using SEO. Some things to consider about millennials, they’re:
- Keyword-driven – i.e., they look for targeted, concise keywords
- More likely to believe a high-ranking website is a sign of a brand’s credibility and trustworthiness
- Often use mobile devices to access online content
- Like visually-pleasing web designs
- Use a lot of emails
- Frequently use social media
- Often search for video content
Though this generation doesn’t rely on technology as much as Gen Z, they’re still a tech-first generation. SEO is of enormous importance to millennials, as they rely heavily on search engine results to find what they’re looking for.
They also use email and social media platforms more than previous generations. Millennials are the first generation to use mobile phones to browse the web and enjoy video content — though not as much as Gen Z.
To market to them, you need a strategy that seamlessly ties together different marketing channels and content types. Create videos, send marketing emails, build your social media presence, and make sure to optimize your site for mobile.
Born between the mid-1960s to early ‘80s, Gen X was born into a generation that saw the birth of the computer and the internet. They witnessed the progression of the web to what it is now and have adapted accordingly. Though stereotypically more adept with tech than Baby Boomers, Gen X wasn’t born with a tech-first attitude. Some critical things to consider when optimizing your SEO for Gen X:
- They like responsive web design
- They’re more likely to search for straightforward keywords
- Gen X often makes information-based and education-based searches
- They use email a lot
- They enjoy coupon, reward, and/or loyalty schemes
Like Baby Boomers, Gen X likes to use search engines to find information. They use short, straightforward keyword searches and enjoy reading educational content.
Their internet use primarily consists of checking and sending emails, meaning you should up your email marketing if you’re looking to target Gen X. Typically, Gen X engages more with video content than Baby Boomers, but still less than younger generations. Though they use social media, it’s predominantly Facebook, and their frequency of use is, again, much less than younger generations.
Baby Boomers were born between 1946-1964. They were the first generation to become great consumers and boost the economy. Baby Boomers vary in their ability and desire to use technology, but many are relatively tech-savvy. When it comes to SEO, their tendencies include:
- Information searches, i.e., how to benefit from something/change something/what something means
- Looking up a company website/how to call or contact a business
- Purchasing online
Overall, Baby Boomers tend to use search engines to find specific information. This makes their online behavior distinctly different from that of younger generations, like Gen Z. Baby Boomers are less likely to seek out video content and don’t use social media as much.
Considering all this, you need a robust content strategy that will also fuel your SEO. Using blog posts and buyer guides to inform their decisions will be the best way to reach them.
An SEO for All
Creating an inclusive SEO strategy is no easy feat but is manageable with the right help. As you can see, many generations boast overlapping trends, which you can utilize to optimize your content.
Ultimately, you need to roll with the times and pay attention to what newer generations want. They are, after all, the future and the ones who use technology the most. That said, high-quality content appeals to all ages and work wonders for your natural SEO. If you need assistance targeting a tech-savvy generation like Gen Z (or another generation), our strategists can help!