Is SEO finally dying? Pundits have been proclaiming its imminent demise for years under the onslaught of relentless Google updates. However, the optimisation of websites is something that will always play a pivotal role in internet marketing and online commerce.
It’s just a question of whether SEO will survive as a separate discipline, or whether it will become integral part of an overall marketing strategy. Whatever the case, SEO is currently undergoing a transformation.
The Need for Change
Other than the Google clean ups, another reason for the evolution of SEO is changing user behaviour. Today’s searchers are more demanding and discriminating than those of just a few years ago as whole new generation who grew up with the web come of age.
When today’s savvy users go online, they insist on quality and engagement. If your client’s website can’t provide these factors, it will fail however many links you’ve built or how well you’ve optimised the pages. Today’s users have social media as a tool to quickly spread the word about any chicanery or broken promises they come across. So you’d better make sure your website delivers on its promises.
To cater to this increased sophistication, SEO is adapting and increasingly becoming an integral part of online marketing and publishing. With the focus on user engagement and content, what we understand as mainstream SEO is now only one component of something being called search marketing integration.
Search Marketing Integration
Today it’s no longer enough to optimise a site for keywords. Today’s search engines and web users increasingly evaluate content quality, relevance and brand sentiment. For this reason, SEO must now mesh with many of the disciplines of marketing, especially branding. The fundamentals of keyword optimisation and link building will remain important as always. However, they will support the overall marketing operation.
The Role of Brands
Do a product search nowadays and you’ll probably find the top ten results dominated by the big players such as Amazon, Target, and EBay. In other words, the major brands are in charge. That’s quite a shift from the exact match domains that ruled the SERPs just a few years back. Branding has become important and SEO’s have to incorporate branding initiatives into their overall strategy.
The Rise of Social Media
Social signals have been important ranking criteria for some years and now we’re seeing the rise of social search and integration with Google + at the forefront. To remain relevant and effective, SEOs have to increasingly take these trends into account to create a holistic system of optimisation.
As SEO evolves, its practitioners will need increasing integrity, flexibility, discipline and above all creativity, in other words the basic qualities needed for success in any undertaking. Some things never change.