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Monthly Archives: July 2014

Is SEO a dirty word?

Ask anyone what they think of SEO and you may sense a negative response in the offing. Even if that person has an SEO provider they are completely happy with, the 27 spam SEO emails they receive each day from India and other far flung places has probably contributed to giving the industry a bad name in their eyes. If connotations of spam were not bad enough, the issue is supplemented by the underhand tactics our search god Google uses to manipulate SERPS to suit none but their own needs. With changes to Google algorithms causing loss of rankings, loss of visibility, loss of sales and in some cases the loss of a business, there is a lack of trust in the marketing strategy that provided this visibility in the first place.

Call it what you will but it looks like SEO has become a dirty word.

is SEO a dirty word

For a long time the term ‘SEO’ hasn’t sat particularly well with internet marketers, purely because the name itself suggests we optimise search engines. We don’t do this because if we did we’d have spammed the hell out of Google and got the search giant to slap a manual spam action on itself! We optimise websites for organic search but that is now, only the beginning of the story.

As competition levels swell and progressively more brands demand a place online, marketing has become so much more than simply SEO.  Gone are the days of building huge amounts of backlinks to a website using optimised content and specific keywords. Now it’s all about making a great first impression, then sustaining and compounding that level of interest. Websites need to be full of interesting, engaging content to fly under the Panda radar and poor quality links removed ready for the next Penguin refresh to demonstrate to Google that you are on your best behaviour and have learned your lesson. It is no longer sufficient to simply publish content, you need to syndicate it socially, get people talking about it and prove that you are a brand worth engaging with. How do you do this? By spending more money with an SEO, or if you have the budget, hiring an in house team of search and social gurus. Dream on.

If SEO is a dirty word then perhaps you’d rather do it all in house, save yourself the shame of working with these minions from the internet underworld, or, better still, maybe you don’t need it at all? Perhaps that new website that you have spent your entire marketing budget on will deliver all the shiny, new traffic you need to make your fortune online? Again, dream on.

What is often neglected in the debate about beating algorithms and recovering from black-and-white-animal-related nightmares, is the fact that without optimisation, websites simply can’t be found, putting us back at square one. This suggests SEO is not an option, but a given. However, if the term is tainted what should we now refer to our services as? Online marketing? Digital marketing? Internet marketing? They surely do a better job of describing what we do?

Online marketing certainly offers a more precise description – after all that’s what we do – market businesses online, but with the consumer just getting their head around the SEO concept how much confusion will bringing in a new term cause? Many will rightly argue that they have used the term ‘online marketing’ all along but if they had any sanity or financial hunger pre April 2012, they will have optimised the heck out of certain SEO related keywords to ensure when people were searching for a little online voodoo, they showed up on page one.

So call it online marketing, digital marketing or SEO, it means the same thing – it is just the service behind the name that has changed. Search Engine Optimisation helps you reach new audiences, increase traffic, improve search visibility and engage with potential audiences online. So too does digital marketing, content marketing, social media marketing and so forth. If SEO is a dirty word then so too is any other synonym and if you call yourself an SEO you’ll have a history of spyntax to apply here.

Posted by Frances Berry