Traditional Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is dead.
There – I said it. Not sleeping. Not pining for the fjords. Dead. As in doornail.
So should you start ignoring search engines? Not one bit; in fact, you should be paying more attention to them than ever. Let me explain.
Let’s start with some basics.
SEO is all about taking your existing Web site and tweaking it – changing some text, changing some code and building links back to it from other sites – so that it appears higher in search engine results pages for keyword searches that matter to your business.
In my view – and as it turns out, in Google’s view, too – that focus is too narrow.
You see, when you focus so narrowly on inching your site up the Google search results you, frankly, end up doing some stupid stuff.
You end up packing the content of your site with so many keywords that it’s virtually unreadable, you end up creating hundreds and hundreds of junk Web sites in order to create links back to your site, you spam blogs with irrelevant messages about your product or service.
Just dumb stuff that doesn’t create value for anybody anywhere.
Enter Inbound Marketing
With an Inbound Marketing approach your focus is much broader – and more tightly tied to real, meaningful business results for you.
Inbound Marketing is all about using great – some would say exceptional – online content to help your prospective customers find your business, become a lead and ultimately to become your paying customer.
Search engine results – and appearing prominently in them – are still important. Search engines are – and will be for some time to come – probably the most important way for people to find products and services they’re looking for.
But in traditional SEO, the success metric is how high your site ranks for a given keyword. While in Inbound Marketing, the key metric is how effective your site content is at drawing people to it and how effective it is at converting those people into your paying customers.
Do you see the difference?
The Inbound Marketing playbook focuses on using all of the tools of online marketing, with great content at the hub:
- Great, frequently updated online content improves search engine visibility and traffic to your site while it helps to educate your prospective clients
- Social media tools help to amplify your message and engage your prospects
- Effective content offers (again) and strong calls to action help to turn visitors to your site into leads
- And more content (again), often delivered via email and social media, can help to educate those leads to a point where they’re ready to buy and more likely to buy from you than from your competitors.
In the Inbound Marketing playbook, SEO is only one small tactical element that’s at the service of bigger, more important business goals.
And it works!
Companies that use Inbound Marketing have far lower costs for acquiring each of their customers than companies using a hodgepodge of traditional marketing techniques.
And Google now rewards inbound marketers more than traditional SEO. With recent changes to the formula Google uses to generate search results, high quality, frequently updated content is now one of the most important factors in determining search engine rankings for your site.
That’s why Inbound Marketing deserves a place in your business’ marketing plan for 2013.