Sometimes it’s hard to define SEO. After all, the rules are constantly changing. White can be grey, grey can become black. But whatever color hat you wear, the danger is that if you don’t keep up with what everyone else is doing, you’ll become old hat, and you’ll be out of the game.
Arguably “social media” has replaced SEO as the biggest buzzword in traffic generation on web 2.0 — another buzzword that’s here to stay. Of course creating good content that people will want to link to has always been an integral part of SEO strategy, because more links mean higher rankings. But with many people bypassing search engines altogether and relying more and more on direct recommendations from trusted friends on Facebook and Twitter, it’s definitely time for SEOs to start concentrating their efforts on producing sites that offer instant linkbait.
Does this mean that SEO is dead? Far from it. Yes, SEOs need to pay more attention to generating original content that’s as appealing to people as it is to search engine spiders indexing pages. After all, people don’t care how many H1 tags there are on any given page, but they do care about whether content is well written, easy to understand, and informative. But that doesn’t mean you can forget about the H1 tags. Far from it.
If social media and linkbait are good short term strategies, then building a strong online presence through consistent, high level search rankings should remain the number one long term strategy for growth. Good SEO should provide a bedrock of steady hits — social media tends to send visitors over in flurries, with long periods of inactivity. Good SEO should still focus on building a steady web presence through good search rankings. They just need to be aware that social media is essential to any contemporary strategy, too.
In short, SEOs need to adapt. In fact, they need to be doing what most have been doing all along — helping to produce streamlined, accessible, websites with high quality content that lures in visitors. But as social media becomes more important, SEO definitely becomes less scientific and relies more on marketing. Good SEO is important, but with social media being what it is, it might be time to dust down those old PR textbooks. Or better yet, take time to read up on the latest developments in social media. Knowledge is power, and that’s as true today as it always has been, and always will.
This week WordPress announced support for the new RSScloud system to make syndication closer to realtime — just like Twitter. Like it or not, the short term strategy of harnessing realtime social media is here to stay. Web 2.0 requires SEO 2.0. It’s a case of adapt or die. A good SEO is still a good SEO. He just needs to become a good social marketer, as well.