What was once a be all and end all in digital marketing is now becoming the last priority for many marketers. The rapid change in consumer behaviour and the ever-expanding nature of social media is affecting the way prospects find you. Does this mean Search Engine Optimisation is no longer all it cracks up to be?
The answer lies in your definition of SEO. When Google stopped providing data about keyword popularity in 2013, repetition of keywords throughout your website pages was no longer of help to your organic search performance. From here on, SEO became more complex and many marketers forgot the purpose of SEO and attached a new meaning to the marketing tactic.
Search engine optimisation is at its core, the process of making websites more understandable to Google, so users are provided with the most relevant and reliable content in their search. To put it simply, SEO is about website quality. However, in our competitive and fast paced markets, SEO has quickly become a game where marketers manipulate the system in order to outperform competition. It didn’t take long for Google to determine that this approach was skewing search results with mediocre content. So if this is your tactic, then yes, SEO is well and truly dead.
If you are however, climbing the SEO leader board by providing genuine, quality content and a seamlessly designed user journey, your results will be more positive, but don’t singularly rely on SEO to drive website traffic. To perform organically, you must stay on top of consumer behaviour and foresee industry changes so you can respond accordingly.
People want what their friends have and would trust a recommendation from their friend on Facebook rather than an unrecognisable website in their search results. As discussed in our previous article, 68% of people trust customer recommendations they read on social media, online forums and blog posts.
When looking for a new foodie destination would you visit Google or Zomato? When in need of a popular event to attend, do you find it on Google or Facebook? And what about finding a ride to the event? Uber is your answer, not a Google search. Today, social proof and apps are everything. We have entered the era of the sharing economy where ratings provide credibility and we trust opinions of the faces we see on LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram. Even Google could foresee the social era, although their attempt to jump on the social trend with Google Plus was a little underwhelming.
So what does this mean for you? Rather than pouring your resources into tricking Google to attain SEO leadership, dedicate your time towards understanding your customer’s behaviour online and create a strategy that will increase your engagement using social touch points.