In a recent blog post, I discussed the evolution of Dinkum Interactive. I argued this evolution has come about because of the growing maturity of the industry and the value we want to give our clients. Some misunderstood this as denouncing the value of SEO which is not true at all. As an Internet Marketing channel, SEO is alive, well and thriving. I’m very happy doing strictly SEO campaigns and we still have plenty of legacy clients who benefit from that single channel approach. That said, there are certainly frustrations with SEO campaigns because it limits your ability to control all the elements closely associated with it. We increase search rankings and visibility, send a good chunk of traffic to a website where the bounce rate is 70% and very few clients convert. For us, this is an issue. There could be a few factors at play here:
1. There is a problem with our keyword selection and we need to adjust our strategy
2. There is a problem with the website which is causing confusion to prospects as soon as they arrive
3. There is a problem with the analytics setup
As an SEO, we have some control over #1. Depending on the arrangement we are often reliant on another company for #2. And we can certainly do some easy checking for #3. So the biggest problem here comes with the complexity of working with another company. Some don’t share your overall philosophy, some are just tough to work with while others can be downright objectionable when it comes to SEO. These are real situations and while we like to think we can resolve any issue when working with others, it just can’t always happen. While we’d love to figure out why the client is getting so much traffic but few conversions, it’s not in the budget and it’s essentially not our responsibility as much as we want it to be.
In reality, SEO can exist in a vacuum but we’re just suggesting that it shouldn’t.
Just to add some complexity to the situation is the actual definition of SEO. Traditionally, we think of SEO as activities that result in increasing visibility on Search Engines. That’s it. It includes some website manipulation. It involves a lot of off-site activity as well. It includes content development and distribution. All of these activities are done with the explicit goal of increasing visibility on Search Engines. Some however, have started to roll other disciplines under the umbrella. CRO (conversion rate optimization) is something that is awesome and helps resolve our bouncerate/conversion problem but it’s not SEO.
Social media is most certainly a gray area. It does have an influence over Search Engine visibility so many will simply roll that into their SEO services. We’re ok with that. It makes sense. Lead nurturing, email marketing, branding, traditional PR, usability…well, now you’re really starting to push it. Some consider Inbound Marketing as the sweet spot. I’d be OK with that but it is also limited in scope to activities intended to drive traffic to a website. It doesn’t really include CRO or web development or user testing or even analytics and goal tracking all of which are huge priorities for us. That’s why we are an Internet Marketing company.
Much of the SEO confusion seems largely to be a result of fuzzy terminology…what is SEO, what is not SEO. Even the pros have trouble agreeing. So we are keeping it as a pretty significant channel in our toolkit but our ‘SEO-only’ campaigns are slowly working their way out.
Photo Credit: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1126222