As usual it’s been another crazy year in the Internet Marketing space.
So, what happened this year? A lot, of course. However the biggest event in our minds as we look back over a year dotted with Gangnam style and Mars Rover landings is the death of the term (and likely the job title and profession) of “SEO.” The phrase “SEO” – long a staple of people like us – seems to have been hit hard and is likely headed to the dumpster of archaic, outdated terms that used be meaningful, but now just don’t make sense. May it rest in peace. What has brought about the demise of good old SEO? Here’s our take:
- Rankings mean less and less every day (personalized search means there is no single #1 ranking anymore)
- It’s harder to get the data you need for SEO to make sense (the whole ‘not provided’ thing, lack of user data)
- A diversification of what it is to “search” for something means there are no easy ways to get to the top. What is the top? Where are the users? (The answer: everywhere and they are moving to a new place fast!)
Of course, search engines remain a dominant source of business and visibility – and we base all of our campaigns around a strategy founded on search. However, the time has passed when our industry could rely on the halo effect that “SEO” brought to the table. The mystique! The promise of tons of traffic! The simple logic of it all! “Just tag your pages with the right keywords, and wait for the traffic to start rolling in.” Like rainbows with pots of gold at the end, this magical rise to fame and fortune through just the right tricks and tweaks is no more…if it ever existed.
It’s About Driving Business, Mate!
So, what is the path forward? At Dinkum, we’ve seen a pragmatic, get-your-hands dirty approach provide phenomenally consistent results to clients of all sizes. The basis of this approach isn’t rock-star moves or huge one-day spikes in traffic. Instead, it’s thinking about business earnings and the true value of leads and conversions generated by various activities. It’s about message clarification and understanding your audience. It’s about having a great product and a connection with your customers, prospects, peers, and employees.
In short: What’s your message? Who is your audience? How are you going to communicate with them and compel them to act?
Our 2013 Approach, Summarized in Four Bullet Points
Answering these questions and getting the core elements in place is what every organization (ours included) should do with their New Year’s Resolution. In 2013 you’ll see us (and we guess many others) doubling down on the foundational efforts that drive business. Here’s what we think they are:
- Core - This is about your website, your user experience, your keyword and overall marketing strategy, and your process for collecting and reviewing performance data. Hunker down on the known best-practices and look critically to ensure that your most valuable channels are getting the attention they deserve, and that you have the tracking and expertise in place to make solid decisions.
- Production - This is about getting stuff done. Make your homepage better, develop a landing page, rethink your email, deploy a mobile strategy. It’s about getting pixels and words and graphics and code produced in a timely and high-quality manner.
- Outreach - This is about getting out in your space, listening, participating, being social, being helpful, being engaged. Promote your message, share your knowledge, and make yourself valuable and highly regarded.
- Revenue Drivers - This is about stepping on the gas, including paying for visibility and access to your audiences. PPC, remarketing, retargeting, display advertising, and more.
In the end though, it’s about focusing on what’s always been important to us: the bottom-line. Marketing is a tough game, but the internet offers enormous potential for many organizations (large and small) to stand out from the crowd, and be rewarded as a result with greater visibility, sales, donations, etc.
The key isn’t a magic trick, or just the right tags on a page, or just pushing tons of content. It’s about investing in a holistic process that takes advantage of the unique aspects of the internet to help you reach your marketing and business goals.
Goodbye SEO, and hello 2013!