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I’m not a fan of lightly making big, idle statements and this one has been made before. I say ‘SEO is dead’ now because the industry and culture of SEO, is fast transitioning. SEO Moz, or as they’re now called ‘Moz’, dropping the SEO element of the brand name. Of course SEO is not dead, it's simply now viewed in context, for what it is - one important practice in digital marketing.
When the SEO Juggernaut, ‘SEO Moz’, goes to the lengths of not only re-branding but changing their URL (that can be cataclysmically bad news for an SEO minded out-fit judging by the impact on Econsultancy when they dropped their hyphen), it illustrates just how important it is for them to move away from the pure ‘SEO’ label, a label that seems so dated now. Note that they’re heading into ‘Inbound Marketing’ now - where content, social and search combine. Though I’d suggest that ‘inbound’ is still narrow, simply describes the affect of what is simply content marketing done well. But maybe that’s just me.
We can see this SEO Moz style shift amongst SEO agencies too - increasingly turning from Search experts into integrated, full-service, content, creative, social, optimising, digital marketing agencies. The SEO label is now too one dimensional?
I’ve always felt frustrated with the snake oil element of SEO practise - a cure of all my digital marketing ills? "Get to No.1 in Google rankings for only $1000 month". The years of hoopla and confusion - I’m glad we can all now view search engine presence with a wider context and some common sense. I started in marketing at a time when people were advertising obsessed, before the temporary PR bug, and eventually the Google driven SEO industry that spear-headed the growth of online marketing. I’m glad it’s had its day, let’s hope that we can be sure to contextualise marketing based on consumer behaviour and preferences, over a brand’s channel preferences.
The reason why we’re seeing the shift away from pure SEO, I believe, is because we’re in such an information rich world, a world that’s infinitely more informed and connected than Google’s search engine alone can facilitate. Information now finds us. Tech empowered consumers battle their way through more and more information, using more devices across more websites and networks than we probably could have imagined only 10 years ago. It’s not cost effective, ethical or really possible to approach off-page SEO in the same way that we used to. And often, building a presence on high quality, high-ranking intermediary websites is much more manageable and cost effective.
Of course your site’s search ranking is very important, just less than it used to be due to the wider options that we have available. It's time now to take a wider view and see SEO in context.
As ever - we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
By Danyl Bosomworth
Dan helped to co-found Smart Insights in 2010 and acted as Marketing Director until leaving in November 2014 to focus on his other role as Managing Director of First 10 Digital. His experience spans brand development and digital marketing, with roles both agency and client side for nearly 20 years. Creative, passionate and focussed, his goal is on commercial success whilst increasing brand equity through effective integration and remembering that marketing is about real people. Dan's interests and recent experience span digital strategy, social media, and eCRM. You can learn more about Dan's background here Linked In.
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