You are reading this – so the answer is a resounding NO.
Is it ‘growing up’ and changing?
Google is driving many of us insane with its constant and unabated updates in the past 12 months alone. Like everything digital, evolution is almost hourly, and ‘traditional’ Search Engine Optimization or SEO as we knew it, is almost unrecognisable. When it seems ‘over optimisation’ is penalised by the big G – how can we stay friends with their algorithms in 2015 – and is it even necessary?
It’s easy to become confused, focus on the wrong elements of optimisation, or to give up altogether – we get that, but let’s have a look at how it’s possible to keep ahead of search, when our businesses need it as much as ever.
Social is the new search.
The influence of Social Media on search is growing, fact. To millions of people across the globe, Facebook is the internet – clicking through directly from the site and searching within social media networking sites have diluted the need for traditional SEO – same for twitter and many other similar apps. Notwithstanding the ease of these sites usability via mobile devices – legacy search engines are almost old hat.
It’s about the balance – if you know where your customers eyeballs are, then you know where to find them – that of course will influence any SEO efforts on behalf of your business. You’ll know exactly how many referrals you get from anywhere via your analytics – take another look at those analytics – take heed, and then have another look at your SEO plan.
SEO that was more about link building, is no longer the focus – to be on top of the new form of optimisation for your site, means it’s vital to have a strong understanding of the decreasing influence of ‘old school’ SEO and the strength of better content marketing, digital campaigns and influence.
As of April 2015, Google places more emphasis on the reach of mobile traffic. Your website must be fully responsive to all mobile devices – no longer a ‘nice to have’ but a real must. The fact is, your search engine rank will drop if your site is not seen as fully mobile conversant – the engines are delivering user friendly results now, not simply geared towards their paying clients’ budgets.
In a nutshell, SEO is not dead, but the old rules are.
Your four friends above are truly the best things your site can hope for from you. Search engines are indexing sites based on a myriad of content from you – a more ‘human’ touch if you will. They are recognising and researching exactly how we click, what we click and where. A downloaded PDF or a video guide can be much more useful to the user than the back links on a site or the optimised Keywords, and the engines are rewarding the sites that deliver such content with better rankings.
Engines know the difference between links and more set up solely for the benefit of search rankings and the more trusted (by the user) kind. Every press release, mentions on industry sites, tags by social influencers, directory inclusions, all count more than ever
Every ‘social signal’, be it a ‘like’, comment or share is vital to your search success.
SEO is not just alive, it’s kicking, and that means more business for you when getting it right. A more organic approach might mean more work for you, but it also keeps a user happy, and these are your customers.
Looking at just one or two indicators for SEO success in isolation is no longer enough – rewrite your strategy to suit your business – people are not robots, and your strategy must be as holistic as your other business metrics are. By engaging your customers across all platforms, you are encouraging them to share with other potential leads, and Google in particular will love you for it.
There are currently no repercussions for this, or penalties for rankings (rules on spam do still exist of course, but the sophistication of the engines’ intelligence can spot the difference a mile off). This is probably the safest way to get rankings in Google. Social sharing makes your site trustworthy and valuable to all – search engines included.
To conclude – think like a user not like Google – people are looking for valuable and relevant information. Get your ranking factors figured out and strategise for success based on your business needs. Keep Social at the top, and with a sprinkling of Search your SEO will be working as hard for your business as you are.
Jim Kane has 35 years’ experience of international business development in over 40 countries whilst working with 2 global organisations. During this time he helped hundreds of businesses with their marketing strategies and growth plans. In 2004 he formed his own business in Dubai which focusses on helping companies achieve success through digital marketing channels. Since 1979 Jim has built an enviable reputation for trust, reliability, and professionalism across the UAE and beyond.