Every now and then we see posts proclaiming that SEO is dead but in general terms it falls on deaf ears because professional web marketers know full well that it is alive and kicking.
I even fell for the trap myself once and enthusiastically trumpeted that semantic optimization had ascended to the throne but I quickly came down to earth when I saw the reaction. The reality is that SEO is not dead rather it’s evolved into a vibrant new industry called Digital Marketing.
“SEO is NOT dead!”
Yet in a way it’s been born again. The truth is that it encompasses a far wider spec these days than the limited meaning of it’s original acronym i.e, “Search Engine Optimisation.” Most people see this as organic optimisation but this can only get you so far these days simply because of the way the cards are stacked. AdWords undoubtedly rules the roost on Google grabbing up to 3 of the top spots on most devices. You can understand why Google does this from a commercial viewpoint because in reality it is their main source of revenue.
Then tucked underneath we usually have the triple deck of map listings for most commercial phrases. Then and only then the much heralded organic SEO results appear in all their royal glory and so in reality that King who effectively ruled the roost in the clothes of content at the beginning of the internet is now 7th at best in the pecking order. But wait isn’t content and context just as vital for Adwords? Yes it most surely is, it most definitely counts when it comes to Google’s evaluation of quality scores based on the quality of the user experience where context and content reduces clickthrough costs to more relevant destinations.
“Organic listing still works”
Even so, organic listings still work reasonably well especially if you can reach the summit as these listings appear above the fold and tend to get far better click through rates than the maps and even AdWords in some cases. It also works powerfully when you search outside your locality because on most occasions the maps do not appear on these results as often. This means that on the desktop the top three local organic listings are usually seen above the fold on a decent sized screen and these potentially hold a far higher commercial value than the ones beneath the fold. In the case of international queries you can see as many as eight. Some people do scroll down and so you can get clickthroughs for first page results but if you don’t appear on that front page you will get very little traffic off organic search
It’s a completely different story on mobile especially when it comes to User Experience mainly because users are far more inclined to scroll on a touchscreen so strangely enough top 10 positioning has far more value in this space. The maps also provide a far greater ease of access especially when a phone call is only a click away.
“other vital factor … is Social Media Marketing“
Which brings me to the other vital factor in this new digital marketing brief which is Social Media Marketing. I was reticent to embrace this method of marketing initially as it seemed like a really slow cooker to me and all my clients wanted quick fire results. Yet, in the end, I discovered that it is well worth the investment, especially in the long term. In my case it has opened doors in the US, the UK and Australia to market our products and services but only after we had developed a genuine trust over several years. This methodology is sometimes called personality marketing and it you’re not already aware of it this is when most business networking appears these days
YouTube Marketing is now part of Digital Marketing
A huge additional source of traffic these days is YouTube which is in fact the second most searched platform on the planet and the traffic tends to be generated from within the site itself. YouTube listings can be optimised using the same research in a quite specific method
Coming out from the shadows
So I prefer to perceive SEO as a grown up called Digital Marketing these days as the old persona has a character flaw. In effect the purges of the recent years exposed SEO as a rebellious teenager who snuck away behind the bike sheds trying to game the search engines with shonky backlinking schemes and old school keyword stuffing only to be caned with manual penalties that were incredibly hard to remove until a recent Google update.
Which brings us to probably the most important factor in the new digital marketing strategies, which is Knowledge Based Trust (KBT). Google has made it blatantly clear that relevance trumps keyword stuffing every time especially after the Hummingbird algorithm got baked into the mix. An expert is one who talks like an expert and who clarifies like an expert. It also helps if the expert keeps in mind that technospeak tends to go over most people’s heads without a second thought so a precise easy to understand tends to win the day especially when it comes to conversions.
The new mantra is relevance not ranking
The truth is we should never write for the search engines again we should specifically write to our audience with the express view of informing and helping them find what they’re looking for. A website is not about you it’s about your audience about specific people with specific needs. So today in depth research on the needs of any given industry is paramount. Keywords have effectively morphed into interconnected semantic entities that relate to other semantic entities especially if Google’s patents are to be believed. Isolating these and the vocabulary that relates to that entity will always increase your relevance. This research can be done manually through search or through tools that have been specially designed for this purpose. In the end this connectivity to reality is absolutely vital to your clients profitability and provides the perfect platform to write content that genuinely exudes authority.
Yet the greatest stumbling block in all of this are the clients who have been spoonfed for years on the old SEO. We need to make it clear that the ballpark has changed in such a way that the old tactics have little authority an presence compared to the ones that have been skillfully written and targetted to the audience that they are meant to serve.
For more information on how to take the next step in honing your marketing strategies to be effective in this new environment be sure to contact us first.