When people ask me what I do, I never say SEO. That word makes my skin crawl. Mostly because I think it devalues what I do. SEO is an old term that needs to be thrown out. When people think SEO they tend to think some weird tricks to get at the top of search engines. People need to start thinking about search marketing as a whole marketing strategy, opposed to “SEO”.
Search marketing is complex. It is no longer the goal to reach the top of search engines for a list of keywords. The goal is to reach your potential customers when they are looking for you, and get them at each stage of the buying process. Whether they are researching and find a relevant blog on your website, are comparing you to your competitors and see you have a great social presence, or are ready to make a purchase, it is critical you are there.
What is SEO Really?
Everyone knows it means search engine optimization, but what does that mean heading into 2015? Effective search marketing combines a properly developed website, engaging design, unique and relevant content (blogs, videos, etc.), an established social presence, and a cohesive SEM campaign. Everything about your strategy must be cohesive. When it’s cohesive you see higher results with less costs. And, being cohesive means you can’t hire one company to do SEO and another to do Web development, and an in-house employee to do social media, while another company writes your blogs and handles your paid campaigns. One company needs to specialize in the whole digital process.
Search Marketing – Where It’s Going
Everything is about quality. Even paid campaigns. It’s not in Google or any other platforms best interest to serve you ads that aren’t relevant to you. That’s why there is so much controversy over how much information Facebook is delivering to its advertisers. Facebook actually allows you to not only target by age, but life events, interests, location, etc. That means you can target men 24-32 that have been in a relationship more than a year, that live in your area but are not yet engaged, engagement ring ads.
Size Doesn’t Matter
Search is location-driven. Whether you are a company that serves a small local area or serves the continental U.S. or overseas, you can create a campaign for that. There is no business too small or too large to be affective online.
Your Customers Are on the Web & Mobile Devices
Yes. All of them. The business owners, CEOs, retail shoppers, 62 and up crowd, the tweens, the hipsters, whoever your customers are, they are on the Web and on mobile devices. Many times I’ve heard clients tell me their clients aren’t on mobile, they have desktop computers, all the while I am seeing 40 percent of their traffic coming from mobile devices. So, yes, your customers are there, even if you’re a B2B business, they are on the Web. It’s your job to connect with them.
Why Pay for SEO Monthly?
So once you pay for SEO isn’t it there forever? No. Search marketing is an ongoing, never-ending process. Yes, never ending, meaning to my knowledge unless your business closes its doors, should never ever stop. It is a continual marketing campaign that changes as the Web does, and you optimize it over and over again. Meaning it only gets better. Unless you stop adapting. On one side of this I have seen clients increase Web traffic hundreds of percentages month after month, and on the other side I have seen it significantly drop, immediately once they stop marketing.
Search marketing is more than just about being #1. It’s about connecting with your audiences. So, stop thinking about SEO and start thinking about communicating with your customers more effectively on the Web.