A lot of discussion has been going on around “SEO” and its usefulness in the future.
In the past decade, SEO, or “Search Engine Optimization,” became the gold standard for an effective website.
If you found the right keywords, put them in the right order and built a solid site, you were set. Once you learned the rules of Google, you could rank on the first page, be found by millions of new customers and have the biggest website in your industry. It was almost too easy.
Today, search engines are still a major player in driving traffic to a website, but even Google is moving away from sites specifically designed to play by SEO rules. Rather than rewarding companies who create sites catering to the search bar, Google’s latest updates are designed to promote websites written for actual human beings.
With less focus on keywords, Google now puts more stock in the “shareability” of a website. In other words, Google wants to know your information is useful and that customers care about what you’re saying.
What does this have to do with digital marketing?
While it’s still necessary to take the traditional rules of SEO into account (at least for now), it’s 100X more important to write your home page, “about us” page and blog posts in a way that makes potential customers take notice.
When readers like what they see, they’re more likely to share with their friends on various social media sites. You can see an example of this through companies such as Oreo and Ben & Jerry’s.
Oreo’s timely tweet during the 2013 Super Bowl blackout and Ben & Jerry’s tweet responding to Colorado’s legalization of marijuana (retweeted close to 10,000 times) seemed like cute marketing at the time, but are now showing how strategic and ahead of the curve these two companies actually are.
By establishing their presence on social media, every retweet and reply increases their digital credibility, and search engines like Google and Bing notice. For every “share” one of their brand messages receives, they’re more likely to rank higher in search engines.
So what does this mean for your brand?
While “SEO” itself might not be dead, it’s time to adjust your strategy to focus more on the customer than on pleasing the digital powerhouses. Improve your social media presence, be more consistent with company blog posts, and keep writing great content.
Even though it’s a bit more difficult to game the system, this new digital marketing landscape does provide one very useful benefit – it improves your relationship with each customer.
And really, isn’t that what brand marketing has always been about?