SEO Keeps Getting Murdered – But ITS ALL RELEVANT

The knives are out for SEO again. I don’t usually remark on the countless “SEO is Dead” posts, but wanted to pass a few remarks on the Ben Elowitz post regarding SMO being the new king. I’ll also need to touch on Steve Rubels post that came out around Google Instant, also describing SEO as DEAD (something he took back in the comments).

If you work in search there is little point getting frustrated by misinformed posts like the above. There are countless examples of these, most coming from people in web development and now it would seem the social media crowd are following suit. It’s become so common place to see these posts, there are sites created to try help people gather the facts on the subject.

For the most part these posts are nothing more than link bait, designed to create a stir, ironically, these kind of tactics are a common form of link building. But it would be nice to see a more balanced discussion, one not created on the principles of gutter journalism, with the sole purpose of creating noise around the subject and nothing of great substance to back it up. Steve Rubels posts was particularly embarrassing as he didn’t seem to understand what Google Instant was (worth reading the comments).

ITS ALL RELEVANT – Personal Experiences

If I could scream one thing at these posts, it would be “it’s all relevant !!”. What I mean by that, is the posts don’t ever speak about holistic strategies tailored for the market they operate in. They don’t give the kind of analysis proper SEO consultants give when discussing issues like social search. They simply look at personal experiences and apply them across every industry online. There is a certain social media company that consistently shout about search being broken, their searches bring up content farms (as they put it). No examples are given, just broad sweeping statements.

ITS ALL RELEVANT – Consumer Intent

For me, when devising a search strategy, I look at consumer intent. Every market is different and every site has different groups of users who have different goals, plus will find your site in different ways. Facebook may be great for some industries, but for others, you may find search drives the majority of your ROI. Everything has it’s place in an online strategy. Each should be measured by it’s own set of goals and the ROI it drives.

No doubt times are a changing. Social search is on the rise and Twitter, Facebook, plus Google will continue to invest in this area. I would also point out, something that never get’s mentioned is the continued segmentation of search. Niche aggregator sites are having a big impact on certain markets and due to offline branding, users can now bypass Google for some products and go straight to these sites.

Maybe Traditional SEO is DEAD

Core to these posts seem to be a misinformed view of what a modern day SEO consultant does. SMO (Social Media Optimisation) has it’s roots in the world of SEO. Most of us have been working in some form of SMO for quite a while, for the most part it’s an evolution of link building. The growth of social media has just given us better communication/research tools to help develop link building strategies and get content out to relevant outlets. A typical SEO strategy can involve videos, PR, blogger outreach, content, social networks and a lot more. Again, it comes down to the market you are in.

The age old view of SEO being all about spammy tactics is at the heart of these posts. But all marketing segments have their problems, I am constantly spammed on Twitter and rarely use Facebook (I don’t have the time), should I declare social media as pointless ? I have worked on dozen of large client sites and in many, social media traffic has not generated any significant revenue, should I declare social media as pointless ? With all the talk about Facebook changing search, Google’s search traffic has largely been unaffected (growing by 58% in 2009), should I declare social media as pointless ? I happen to know a couple of people who employ social media companies and are still not sure if they are providing any value to their business, should I declare social media as pointless ?

My personal experiences never affect how I look at a clients strategy. To me, it’s all relevant to the market you operate in. Everything is measured against ROI and don’t waste time with “the sky is falling” type posts.

About Kieran Flanagan

Online Marketer who implements both inbound and paid strategies to help companies grow internationally. Lover of content marketing, SEO, analytics, CRO and strategy. A highly motivated marketing geek high on data crack.