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Event Recap: Techbiz Connection "SEO is Dead" or Is it?
Since Google rolled out significant algorithm changes during their Panda and Penguin updates, some have surmised that search engine optimization (SEO) is dead. However, that is far from the truth. In fact, the scope of SEO has actually expanded into the realm of content strategy, PR, social media, and analytics. What has died is the sustainability of SEO that involves manipulative tactics and aims to artificially boost a site’s authority/relevance. The result is that brands can no longer cheat to gain rankings and traffic from organic search listings. Marketers need to understand that their companies have to be authentic, develop and distribute real content that their audiences will share, and use new technologies to improve SEO and drive revenue.
Here are some key takeaways from the event:
SEO is far from dead. It has become more difficult for those companies that were employing spammy SEO tactics in the past. But marketers that focus on optimizing technical factors, basic on-page SEO, and content marketing will continue to see a steady stream of traffic from organic search.
- Technical Issues can hinder your site’s performance in the organic search results. Watch out for duplicate content, 302 redirects, 404 pages, and issues with page construction (e.g. missing key on-page elements like page titles, meta descriptions, and heading tags).
- When gauging success of your SEO efforts, don’t focus all of your attention on rankings. The end goal is to drive traffic, conversions, and revenue through natural search. So looking at your non-brand traffic and conversions is the ideal way to measure your success. However, because of Google “Secure Search”, a growing number of queries are being obscured in Web analytics platforms (i.e., Google Analytics, Adobe SiteCatalyst, etc…), making measurement increasingly more difficult.
- Content marketing is critical to building the necessary relevancy and authority to rank well. Once you have your site set-up in an SEO friendly manner and all of your priority content is optimized (title tags, H tags, sufficient text, etc…), you have to engage in content marketing if you want to continue increasing your non-brand organic traffic. Consistently adding quality content to your site means that you can be relevant for a broader set of keywords. And promoting your best content helps to increase inbound links to your domain, which improves your authority in the eyes of the search engines.
- Social media is becoming more important to SEO. Pages that do well in social also tend to rank well, but don’t mistake correlation for causation. It’s not that “social signals” are the direct cause of SEO rankings, but rather that pages that attract a lot of likes/pins/RTs/+1s also tend to attract links. The more visibility your content gets via social (or through mainstream media, content syndication, etc…), the better chance it will have to attract links. And, of course, links are still a significant factor in search engine algorithms.