Marketing professionals claim that SEO is dead, and they’re right! Search Engine Optimization involves choosing certain words to make your content rank higher in search results. It’s a vital aspect of making your website stand out, and people rely on SEO specialists to increase their traffic and conversions. So if SEO is so important, then why is it dead?
The Big Picture
When we say SEO is dead, we mean the term rather than the practice. While people still use search engines and they’re a great way to find information, marketers have many other tools available. The term Search Engine Optimization is outdated and there’s a negative public opinion about it today.
Marketers relied on SEO so much they forgot the importance of creating copy for customers. Their content became spammy and was tailored for search engine results instead of consumers. This lack of quality is why people are turning their backs on SEO and finding other ways to reach consumers.
One of the biggest issues with SEO is it was the catalyst of unprofessional practices such as link buying and spamming for better article placement. However, SEO is still important and there are legitimate practices that benefit companies and showcase great content for consumers. It seems the biggest issue with SEO is it doesn’t cover the broad range of optimization content marketers use.
While SEO used to be the term within the marketing industry, it’s been replaced by content marketing. There are many practices marketers use, but content marketing has one specific purpose – to optimize content for discovery and conversions (OC/DC).
Optimizing content means finding popular keywords and adding them to your content. This is because the internet algorithms recognize these terms which makes your content accessible to users. A conversion is when someone clicks on your content, signs up to your emailing service or perform an action.
Content marketers used to focus on their SEO efforts, but today people recognize the value of other outlets. Statistics from Smart Insights show that Social Media usage continues to grow, and companies know how important it is to promote their content on these platforms.
Facebook and Twitter are ideal for sharing blogs, articles and website links. Facebook especially has plenty of groups, so marketers can find their target audience and post to them. Instagram and Pinterest are essential for promoting visual content, such as photos and videos. Marketers even use podcasts to reach consumers, so they need to optimize their content across the whole internet.
Content marketing describes all optimization practices, and it’s the reason SEO is dead. If new content marketers focus only on SEO, they’ll find their content doesn’t reach people, and their efforts won’t match those who use a comprehensive OC/DC strategy.
If you’re a marketer, then you’ll probably use OC/DC regularly, but still refer to it as SEO. When you optimize your copy, do you think about Google, or consider the other ways people might find it? Search engines are still important, but we need to consider other platforms such as social media, blogs, photo sharing websites and syndication sources such as Medium and Business Insider.
Performing OC/DC requires you to focus on two areas:
External Optimization involves tailoring your content to attract visitors to your website or blog. This is through many traffic sources including social media, blogs, and syndication sources. Many marketers use popular keywords and long tail keywords for their target audience.
On-Site Optimization is important for conversions. External Optimization directs traffic to your website, but you should never underestimate the importance of On-site Optimization. If you want visitors to sign up, make a purchase or visit your website regularly, you must ensure it’s optimized properly.
Tips For OC/DC
Here are some excellent tips to optimize your content and move away from traditional SEO.
Improve Your Headlines
Headlines are a vital part of your content but are often overlooked. A captivating headline will entice readers to click on your article and it will make it stand out from others. You should also edit your headlines regularly to keep your content fresh.
Mobile Responsive Design is Essential
The days of surfing the internet in front of a computer are long gone. Today, most people use their mobile, so it’s vital to optimize your content so it’s responsive. You should also remember that bad designs compromise your OC/DC efforts. You can find excellent designs that work for mobiles here.
Do Your Own Research
Services such as Survey Monkey have made it easy for anyone to publish their own report. Conducting your own research is excellent for OC/DC because it’s original. You’ll also get to publish your research in a variety of ways. Basically, a quick survey and money will make you an optimization superstar.
Calls to Action
Calls to action are critical for conversions, but are yours attracting people? Most consumers have seen the tried and tested ways, so try to reinvent your calls to action and make them original.
Change is Good
It seems like there’s plenty to think about, and content marketers can feel nervous about the drastic shift from traditional SEO to OC/DC. However, there are so many ways to optimize content and they can all result in more customers and conversions. Accepting that SEO is part of a much bigger picture will open a new world of opportunities for you. This includes:
We know that content marketing will continue to change, and voice-activated devices are a big part of the future. Your content will need to be optimized for these devices and as more technology comes into our lives, SEO will lose its relevance. SEO is dead in some ways, but the idea behind the name is still a vital part of content marketing.