Many have been claiming the death of SEO for years, something that I have never bought into and time has proven that belief correct. I do, however, believe SEO-only providers will be dead within the next four years… if not substantially sooner. The reality is that while SEO will remain an integral part online marketing, those that focus exclusively on achieving top search engine rankings will fail. Not only will they fail to deliver any kind of valuable service to their clients, but the bottom line is that without incorporating marketing aspects into an SEO campaign, achieving top placement for competitive keywords will become increasingly difficult if not impossible.
Over the last year, Google has released a plethora of free user tools and products. If you look closely at these products, most are really nothing more than information retrieval devices for Google to use to gather data about user behavior on the web as well as on particular websites. This information can then be used to build algorithms that take site popularity and conversions into account when determining ranking results.
The best of these tools released by is Google Analytics, which is a powerful traffic analysis tool for webmasters, which also provides a considerable amount of data about your website to Google. With Analytics installed, Google can see how users use and navigate to your site, and even how well your site converts visitors into customers.
I have previously defined SEO as being only about achieving top rankings. This is a narrow interpretation, but I used this to point out that many so-called SEO companies are still providing SEO as a stand-alone service without any thought to other more marketing oriented services such as usability, conversions, etc. These marketing issues are now, more than ever, necessary for any “optimization” campaign to succeed. Those seeking optimization services that fail to understand this will ultimately choose a firm that will be ineffective in meeting their needs.
Many SEO companies already integrate usability into their optimization services. While these companies may still operate under the “SEO” banner, their services truly are not SEO-only services. Any proposal received for optimization services should spell out the marketing aspects as well as the optimization aspects. Those that don’t often rely on useless guarantees as a means to sell you their service.
It’s far too soon to put “SEO” to rest, but it’s not too soon to ensure that your SEO campaign properly integrates the marketing elements it needs to succeed.