No, this is not another blog announcing the demise of SEO. Search Engine Optimization is still with us, thank you very much, and I have no desire to add my name to the list of bloggers who have written its obituary, only to backtrack six weeks later.
SEO has undergone multiple changes over the last few years, largely because our friends at Google keep redefining the parameters. We've tried to keep you informed of these sometimes radical paradigm shifts, and I must say it has kept us busy. Still, the five essentials of SEO remain the same.
SEO still relies on identifying certain keyword phrases or queries that are typed into search engines, and matching those phrases with your business's goods or services. Your website needs to offer a wealth of unique content to entice visitors. Your metadata must contain concise search terms which will lead people directly to the information on your site that they are looking for. All links should lend authority to your website, and not needlessly send visitors to another page. Finally, you need to share insights and content with others.
You say you want an evolution
SEO, then, is still viable. But it is slowing down, and becoming less significant in all its myriad ways because the algorithms never remain the same, and Google has diminished the power of organic search by emphasizing pay-per-click and their own AdWords. Every Hummingbird, Panda, and Penguin update reminds us that we are still on an evolutionary track.
It really is a matter of survival of the fittest. We understand that nothing lasts forever, but technology (which any online presence depends on) alters far more swiftly than any biological species ever could. If SEO goes the way of the VHS tape, what will survive to take its place?
Content and Social Media
Look no further than two major components of the SEO essentials list above. Content and social media seem to be the consistent, immutable elements of an effective marketing strategy. Google keeps drumming into every message they send out that remarkable content is the single most distinctive feature that they look at in determining page ranking. HubSpot's mantra is that 'Content is king'. Combined with the helpful sharing and linking of this content on various social media outlets and you have the strongest indicator of survivability in this ever evolving system.
By properly targeting your social media efforts with research on how social media influences your customers' purchasing decisions, you can direct content to drive them to your website. You'll need to know which outlets will reach these customers, and how they are using these platforms. Armed with this information, content formats will be prioritized. Maybe you'll need more video, or podcasts, or blogs. Inevitably, digital marketing strategies, which urge businesses to create buyer personas, are likely to become even more widely accepted.
So, if you've been following the pack in SEO marketing practices, keep at it. If you've built a responsive website, formulated a digital marketing plan, and continue to churn out quality content on a regular basis, you are poised to maintain your survival well into the future. And, if the prognosticators of SEO's doom finally get it right, your content and social presence will ensure continued success.