From the conception of SEO to now, the whole goal and purpose of SEO was to get your website to rank #1 in the search engines for your “trophy keywords.” Over the years people have found many different ways, both ethical and not-so ethical, to increase their search engine rankings; but the times of traditional SEO, or focusing on just page rankings, is over. I believe it is time for SEO firms to emerge as Website Marketing Companies.
So, why is the shift in focus needed? As Google and other search engines try to literally personalize peoples’ search results, people from different regions and countries will not receive the same search results. Because of these variations, I have heard one SEO expert claim, “ranking is dead”. Now that may be a bit extreme, but I believe his claim is valid in the fact that SEO definitely needs to move from page results to a more balanced online campaign.
Marketing a website is about more than search results today. When you begin marketing a website, you should start asking more questions than just: what are my page titles and H tags? How many back links do I have? What is my page rank for my trophy keyword?
You ought to ask questions like: What is my conversion ratio? What are my major sources of traffic? And how is my website leading to sales?
On a previous post written last month by Scott Cowley, an excellent comment was made by one of our readers: “Would you hire your carpenter to sell your house?” Although a web designer is great at their job, I know from first-hand experience they are focused on designing the website, and not promoting the website when it is complete. Just as real-estate agents are specialized at selling homes, SEOs need to be specialized in selling your website. They need to become your online marketing team who should be able to market, sell and brand your online presence.
It is now necessary to make a shift. Instead of only orienting SEO with rankings, it is time to focus on how to optimize a website for conversion, generate more traffic, and consult page layout. We should know how to optimize videos, images, podcasts and other multimedia for Google, and whether these media types are important for their online image. And although Flash gives websites pop, we should let the clients know that Flash can’t be seen from iPhones and other internet devices, and online traffic comes more from devices than a computer.
This is SEO 2.0
I sit right next to our sales team, and my favorite quote that one of our sales reps is constantly reminding our future clients, is: “You are putting your online reputation in the hands of your SEO company.” Although this warning is given in context to your reputation with Google, I think it is very applicable to your global online reputation. As social media sites, online advertising, SEO, online sales and purchasing increase, your online reputation will become more important than ever. SEOs need to manage more than a company’s online reputation to Google, Yahoo and MSN. They need to manage online reputation to the World Wide Web.