I was reading a post this morning on the Single Grain blog about how social media will replace the search engines. Here is what I have to say about this post and social media and SEO strategies in general.
To start off, I don't believe that social media portals will ever replace SEO. However, in order to have a successful online marketing campaign, leveraging social media and implementing solid SEO strategies will be absolutely necessary. Any Director or VP of Marketing will need to fully understand and embrace this or risk falling behind and losing loads of market share to their competitors.
Participation on the different social media portals will be the game changing factor in terms of success with social media. It is not only crucial to be everywhere your target audience "hangs out" online, but it is also vital to be participating in every way possible so you are in front of their faces when the time comes when they need your product or service. No matter what you believe, or what you have been told, putting up a Facebook page or setting up a Twitter account and doing nothing with it is not going to help you whatsoever. Being active and participating in the community is key!
With the roll out of blended search or universal search, optimizing videos, images, news, blog posts and other forms of media will be vital to your success. I'm sorry, but if you rank at the bottom of page one, you are no longer safe!
Personalized or customized search engine results are really causing SEOs to focus on three things: core SEO strategies that will help a website rise in the SERPS, quality content that provides REAL value to the website visitor, and conversion optimization. It is no longer good enough to get to the top, you need to provide value so that your customers will want to keep coming back for more. When a someone visits a website multiple times, bookmarks a website, or stars a website, that site will start to show higher and higher in their personal search results.
So as you can see, search engine marketing is changing and it is changing fast. Will social media replace search engines? Not any time soon, but it is necessary to start participating now.