SEO has been on the receiving end of numerous death claims for years now. To some, SEO is nothing more than an outdated tactic; a once relevant practice now consumed and overcome by a myriad of other “more important” digital strategies. To others, SEO is still very much alive; an ever-advancing product of its own evolution in response to industry development. So what does it all mean? Is there any merit to the idea that SEO is and has been on a downward spiral? In short, the answer is no. Here’s why.
What Is It?
SEO, an acronym for search engine optimization, is defined as the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of the traffic that you earn through the organic results in search engines by digital marketing expert, Rand Fishkin. As a part of SEO, there are many tactics and strategies that allow for this reaction to occur. As search engines change and work to provide searchers with the best matches to their search queries, so do the tactics and strategies of SEO.
Who Needs It?
Many years ago when SEO was a new concept, it garnered a lot of buzz amongst marketers and business owners. Naturally, folks who wanted to work to improve the online presence of their business were interested in learning and mastering Google’s standards for ranking websites. Because of that, a lot of people were researching SEO. And because of that, search trends for the term rocketed upward.
Today, those searches have declined and people have associated that with a decline in the relevance of SEO as a practice. One theory for this points to industry language. Terms like “SEO” are being replaced with alternatives. This would indicate that the occurring “death” isn’t really tied to the concepts of SEO, but rather the language itself. Many people would agree that SEO has reached a stage of maturity. People today are more aware of what SEO is, what SEO does, and instead of searching for SEO itself, they search for associated terms.
How Does It Work?
Like anything else, SEO is subject to evolution, and that’s a good thing. As a marketing channel, SEO is constantly improving to better meet the need and demand of consumers, each day. Unfortunately, sloppy forum posts and clickbait headlines drive people to believe otherwise. In large part, the denouncement of SEO stems from the failure and frustration of people who attempt to cut corners in the way that they perform SEO. When you trust in the system and work to improve your business within the parameters of legitimate SEO, the results are undeniable.
Advice For Business Owners
How can your business maintain SEO momentum in the final quarter of 2015? Following are a few of SEO’s still very alive and well tactics and strategies to follow:
- Merge Insights
As SEO becomes more disciplined, it is important to begin blending traditional marketing methods in with your SEO strategy. This way, you can create a new way of reaching your target audience. Having loads of keyword and search traffic data isn’t always enough. You have to pair that information with vital market insights about your targeted buyer personas and the types of information most useful to them during each step of the sales cycle. Competitive analysis is important here. Find out what others are doing to drive demand and use those insights to discover new keywords, find the best content styles and discover new potential audiences to market to.
- Content and SEO as One
For a long time, many people viewed content and SEO as complimentary, but different entities. First you would develop some strategic content ideas and then you would apply SEO best practices to the backend in hopes of streamlining visibility on the web. We now know that quality content based around positive user experience and the ability to make the content visible is key for ranking. That means tying in your SEO strategy on the ground level and letting your creative juices merge with your analytics and search strategies. This overlap in metrics and creativity can ignite explosive growth for your online presence.
- Mobile Mastery
If mobile marketing isn’t already etched into your online priority checklist, we will mention it again. This year has been all about mobile SEO and user experience with Google’s introduction of its mobile algorithm update, aptly deemed, “Mobilegeddon.” Mobile search traffic has been exploding over the past couple years and isn’t slowing down. 2015 has been a banner year for mobile traffic as smartphones and tablets barrel toward overtaking desktop searches as the preferred method for consumers.
- Measurable Reporting
Its hard to imagine not having access to the data and analytics tied to your business’ website, but it happens all the time. A shocking number of business owners still lack adequate access to the metrics that help to demonstrate the impact of their online marketing efforts. The value add in reporting is priceless, and it doesn’t have to be complex. By looking at data and simplifying your sources to make educated and calculated responses to how customers engage with your website, new strategies can be built to accommodate explosive growth potential. Identify the engagement metrics that truly matter to your business and build smart marketing solutions tailored to improve them.
- SEO Integration
SEO isn’t dead; it’s evolved to include many beneficial aspects of marketing. This is the mantra to follow. Your SEO journey will introduce you to many new aspects of your business. Embrace them and use them for good. SEO doesn’t stop at keyword research. Let your SEO plan absorb the strategies that work and build on top of the ones that don’t. Make SEO a part of your business in all regards. Sales, leads, conversions, buyer personas, content, paid advertising, website design, user experience – it all ties in to your SEO strategy. If you are able to see the bigger picture that your SEO strategy can paint, you won’t fixate so much on demanding results that may or may not help to drive actual ROI to your business. Remember, your SEO strategy is always going to be a process, not a destination. Be patient with your SEO plan and trust that it will work for you.