The Myth that Search Engine Optimization is dead
Have you heard the saying that Search Engine Optimization is dead? If SEO is dead than that means that search engines no longer exists. Search Engine Optimization is much more than just trying to trick your “favorite” search engine into liking your website and in return get exposed to the masses of people who are instantaneously willing to follow you, Google +1 you, tweet at you and adopt your brand and or product as or like their own child… (Yeah Right!)
Search Engine Optimization wake-up call!
Search Engine Optimization is a form of Digital Marketing, just in one big package. The fact of the matter is even if you are a big company today, with a website that has hundreds of different unique and optimized pages it will not necessarily make the masses follow your business and or brand like sheep. And thus it will not necessarily make you stand out above your competitors in a search engine result page (Yes, Yes, Ranking for your name should not be a big deal – But what about other queries?). Especially not after the evolution search engines went through in the past couple of years to be what they are today.
“Users are losers”?
Have you ever heard the saying that “users are losers”?. Well, the matter of fact is that the majority of people today (That is in South Africa) cannot differentiate between a personal search and never the less know what an “incognito search” is. And these are people who will be searching for your product online if they have not already done so (maybe even without knowing it). Go ahead – Blame your favorite search engine. But it isn’t the Big G’s fault; Well not technically (And that’s when most of the SEO’s in the room stand up at once in disagreement).
As people evolve – their means to adapt and control becomes more sophisticated and detailed while simplifying the means to action the necessary tasks to support the ever growing economy and population. Thus supporting an ever growing population growth with an ever need for more sophisticated and detailed workforce. While the masses won’t need to acquire and recall each type of specialty needed because almost everything has been simplified to such an extent, except for that individual on his / hers expertise level. In short and sweet, here’s my point I’m getting to – don’t blame the average person because they are not an SEO or some type of Digital Marketing Specialist. Are you a mechanic? Are you an electrician? And even a pilot capable of flying a 747? I rest my case.
Almost everything becomes simpler to use as technology progresses and man evolves. But when one looks closer you’ll notice that every small piece of detail is becoming more sophisticated. The average person has more knowledge available to them than they can possibly consume.
This is one of the many reasons why you should have a marketing strategy in place. There are so many aspects, it’s hard to name them all in detail but here some of the more popular ones used today:
- Google Adwords Campaigns (PPC, CPC etc.)
- Affiliate marketing
- Social Media Marketing (LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Twitter, etc)
- Digital Broadcasting (TV, Radio, Digital Billboards, also YouTube and other video channels)
The average person should not know in detail how to fulfill their search engine queries and the intent behind that query. They should be able to find you or what they are looking for (their search intent) within a matter of seconds. And even better yet – with the broadcasting and communication platforms and channels that are available today you should be able to determine, find them (your target audience) and reach them before they look for you, your products and or service.
What does this mean for you and me as digital marketers?
Search Engine’s aren’t “all that”… They are not some kind of quantum computer hidden away in a secret basement that can analyze your every though and search intent. As a matter of fact – I don’t blame any kind of robot that cannot read some of the websites out there. I mean – Have you seen the style and type of coding used? None the less when it comes to black – yes , even those area’s you are willing to debate are only “grey” – hat SEO, webmasters and internet marketers tend to pull all kinds of different and weird type of rabbits out their hats in order to try and fool and manipulate the search engines. Yes, some tend to succeed – but for how long? If not by an algorithm update of a sort, manual reviews have become ever more popular. Even more popular than most SEO’s and webmasters might think. But let’s not stray off topic over here… The point I’m trying to make is you should show them the new shiny car in the garage visible as day and night, instead of trying to fool them to look through and get infected with a dirty pop up “dusty window” in other terms; over populated websites with useless and irrelevant adsense ads running (yes – I have a better chance of being struck by lightning twice than to click one of those ads) and irrelevant, not-enticing or broken navigation links.
Search engines are evolving at a very fast pace, in order to beat web spam (We all hate spam right!) and in order to simplify every aspect of search. The job of your friendly (or not so friendly these days) search engine marketer is just that. They should make it easier for search engines to know who, what, where and why you are there and why you are relevant to the specific searcher and their intent. That will in return make it easier for search engines to show their users the most relevant results and even suggestions based on the query they searched for because the search engine already knows who the searcher is (If not by you being logged in during the search then based upon cookies stored on your device, IP address and ranges, 3rd party websites already open in the same browser, information from your internet service provider etc.) and now they know the web property in question (aka your product) thanks to your search engine marketer / optimizer / engineer.
Its not about manipulating – more about showing your good side.
Main thing to remember: Show the search engines what you would to the user. Not the other way around. Content should be tailored for the end user – and your main focus should not be that of ranking well in search engines. Don’t write content for search engines – write it for users. It’s safer in the long run – to start off with. And if it provides quality and answers the searchers intent (aka the search query), then the content can almost never be seen as spam or in search of some kind of search engine manipulation holy grail. Show the Big “G” that you love them – be friendly, focus on natural and social signals. It’s fine to try something new every now and then – but please – don’t go and try and reform the whole interweb overnight. You do not have the monopoly over search (unless you are Matt Cutts or someone else at the Big “G” reading this- in that case, oopsss… ). Let’s all focus on the consumer – give them what they want. (And hey – That includes you Big “G” [aka Google]}