SEO guru Adam Torkildson says Google is killing the SEO industry and predicts SEO will be dead within two years. Most Google searches are full of advertisements and junk, which makes reaching your audience a fruitless venture. So now that SEO is on its deathbed, how are we going to make sure our websites stay fighting fit?
SEO has always been a flawed concept. Dan Graziano has revealed that a Google search may only display 13% of authentic results, meaning that web content is less engaging for the reader and ranking is based on robotic searches.
For those still confused about how SEO is structured, here’s a quick review. There is internal and external SEO. Internal SEO is designing your site following proven practices that promote high rankings on Google. External SEO strategies are now quite outdated where articles, press releases, blogs and comments were embedded with keyword ‘backlinks’ to your site.
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Google aren’t doing their job if the content you search isn’t relevant. Google want relevant, organic content on the internet that people find engaging and want to tell others about. That’s why paying to be at the top is no longer an option. The trend is towards localised results delivered to mobile users via apps rather than webpages, another reason why traditional SEO is so outdated.
So if SEO is dead… how can you ensure that your website is relevant, organic and ranks highly on a Google search?
The answer is your online reputation and we all know reputation is everything. You should be modelling your digital strategy around customer service-based interaction and dismiss this notion that setting up a web property and paying for keywords will deliver high hits on Google. Word of mouth and social selling is worth its weight in gold and will always trump any paid ads and positioning.
So what’s going to ensure that you have a strong online reputation and how do you do this? Start conversations: engaging and interesting conversations. Discussions that people want to get involved with and respond to. Broadcasting messages with the only intention to sell won’t work in this day and age. Never underestimate your customers – they are savvy, more informed than ever and know how to get what they want. According to a study conducted by Market Sherpa in 2012, 78% of people believe that online reviews are more credible than advertising.
Be an active listener – all those people tweeting, Facebooking and commenting are providing you with endless insight into providing your audience with what they want. Would you ignore someone making a valid complaint in store? No, you wouldn’t, otherwise you’d be out of business. Make sure you have a responsive web and social media team in place; ready to respond to social chatter and take necessary action. Having that social media presence is something Google considers to be relevant and engaging. Which means your website is more likely to receive genuine clicks and function a lot more successfully rather than shelling out thousands for standard key words.
Once you listen to the people, then your content (which is obviously going to be authentic) needs to focus on communication with customers and prospects. Forget about selling. Inspire business and loyalty by providing consistent, valuable information. The latest news, videos, e-books, personal anecdotes, how-to-guides, personal blog posts and answering people’s questions will build your company’s online marketing campaign. Your target audience will respect the content you deliver if it is relevant to them, which means more page views and better conversions.
Transforming your audience’s experience is the golden ticket to staying relevant in Google’s eyes. Boost your rankings by remaining relevant with trends, as to remain stagnant will mean a harsh death in the big wide world of Google.
Fi Bendall is the managing director of Bendalls Group, a team of highly trained digital specialists, i-media subject matter experts and developers.