A recent Entrepreneur blog is essentially calling Google out as the middle man in internet searches, saying the need for search engine optimization (SEO) is fading. Google, once just a brand name for an internet search engine, has become a verb. "Google 'how to turn milk jugs into lampshades'" and you'll get all sorts of answers.
Search Engine Optimization is the effort, through specific action and word usage, to increase your website traffic through high ranks in organic search results. High SEO practices include:
- writing clear meta descriptions
- good keyword placement in content, headers and image alt tags
- using link both internally and externally
- content marketing, now especially through social media sites
But changes in social media trends might be having a trickle-down effect on users' trust and need for Google searches. Facebook, Pinterest, Yelp and other niche social media sites take the need out of broad searching and puts the user in touch with specific information faster or under the influence of friends.
Is Organic Still The Best?
Everyone advocates organic--when it's food. But are organic search results still driving traffic to your website? Some say that because niche sites like Pinterest and YouTube are stealing away Google search usage, that organic reach is down. Others still believe organic methods outscore the other channels. Web research by Conductor shows organic search bringing in 54 percent of traffic, and that those visitors are twice as likely to be engaged and visit five or more pages versus less committed visitors who bounce to your site via social media. In fact they report social channels carry the highest bounce rate of any marketing channel.
Best of all, organic reach is free, with no expiration date. Contracts with newspaper or other print ads, radio or T.V., are, first of all costly, and have expiration dates. Good SEO lasts as long as the website is live.
Optimizing for Social Media
Twitter launched their search engine in late 2014, perhaps taking organic search from Google. But properly optimized tweets can score high ranks if you use relevant hashtags and keywords within your content. Same with YouTube, which is now the second largest search engine, processing more than 3 billion searches a month. Keyword research, keywords in the title, tagging, description and video promotion can boost your rankings within YouTube's search engine.
Whether or not your web visitors are coming via a Google search or other search engine, a solid SEO plan is worthwhile. Sixty-one percent of consumers report using search engines when they make a purchase, to research product specifics, read reviews and comparison shop. Although the way we optimize our web content may be changing, it's still a necessary part of the online marketing plan for any business.