The Evolution of SEO
A few weeks ago, technology blogger Robert Scoble asked if 2010 would usher in the death of SEO. He has some good points on why it might, but ultimately I think he’s not asking the right question. The better question is whether 2010 will bring about the death of gimmick driven SEO, the type of “black hat” chicanery that gives SEO a bad name. The short answer is “no” because scammers and cheaters will always exist.
The better question Scoble raises is why more SEO companies don’t expand their service offerings to encompass more than just SEO.
No longer is it about optimizing search engine results and the new breed is going beyond just search engines to provide holistic systems that find and track customers not only on search engines like Google and Bing, but on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
It is this holistic approach I’ve offered to clients since I started this business. When I talk to a potential client, I ask questions about tracking, design, navigation, contact forms and marketing expectations long before the phrase “search engine optimization” passes through my lips. Once I do mention SEO, I talk about Facebook, Twitter and blogging as other ways to engage visitors and further the marketing cycle.
As I finalized forming this business into a legal entity at the end of last year, the thought weighed heavily on my mind that SEO by Swaby wasn’t really an accurate description of what I do. Neither is Web Design by Swaby or Social Media by Swaby, though I can perform all those services. Hence a LLC was formed called Swaby Online Media. I’m still keeping the SEO by Swaby as a DBA, but you’ll begin to hear Swaby Online Media more often.
Further, my mission and value proposition has evolved. I make websites successful and I do it through design, navigation and marketing. Do I still do SEO? Absolutely, but it’s not the only thing I do.
Let me give you an example of just one way I’m different from any other Utah SEO company. I provide tangible results within 30 days of being hired because I use press releases. I use them for my company and my clients. Worst case scenario I get the press release ranked on the search engines and it serves as effective social proof for my client. In a best case scenario the release gets picked up by the news media, an interview is scheduled and a story gets published. That’s what happened this week for my client Personal Family Physicians.
No other Utah SEO company can do this. There’s only two that even try.
Returning to Scoble’s thesis whether SEO is no longer needed, I must disagree. The components he says are replacing search, namely Twitter and Facebook, still help with search. I do believe we need to move beyond the concept of search and develop the concept of being found. As SEO becomes more competitive, it’s natural businesses will need to be found on other sites besides Google. Thus the concept I’ll be using is findability.
The concept of findability was introduced in 2005 by Peter Morville and references the ability for a user to find the information they are seeking within a particular website. I’ve discovered a movement exists in the Internet marketing community that is advancing the concept of findabilty as the next evolution of SEO. As social media becomes more prominent, I think we’ll see it included as part of this movement.
Is SEO dead as Robert Scoble suggests? No. Is it evolving? Definitely yes. If your online marketing strategy consists only of SEO or paid search, you’re definitely missing something. Take a step back and figure out all the steps that transform a curious searcher into a valued customer. Once you have that plan in place you’ll see better results, more sales and higher customer loyalty.
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