October 19, 2012

Why we take an integrated marketing approach to SEO

Google and the SEO industry have historically had a rocky relationship. Over the last couple of years Google’s algorithm updates – Panda and Penguin – have sent out a clear message that they don’t like some of the tactics used by some involved in SEO.

As result of these updates, many websites saw their rankings suffer with traffic and sales volumes being affected, and all of a sudden SEO became something that could do more harm than good. Does this mean then that traditional SEO is dead?

With questions such as: Are the practices of SEO still a valid form of marketing? Is it still possible to increase Google and Bing rankings by building links? Does ‘optimised-on-page’ SEO have any value? still doing the rounds, we decided it was about time we sorted the fact from the fiction and debunk that pesky ‘SEO is dead‘ myth. (We’d like to say ‘once and for all’, but realistically it’s more likely ‘until the next time’.)

1) SEO is dead and social media has replaced it

Search is what you use to find what you are looking for across the whole net, social media content included. Search will always be around – how else can you find what you’re looking for? In fact, it will only become more important in the future as communicating at digital speed becomes more intense and communication seems laboured if you can’t express yourself in less than 140 characters.

2)    Link-building will get you penalised

The days of obtaining lots of links to boost your rankings are gone. Some people in the industry still try to sell you products that promise 5,000 links for £50 and guarantee a page-one ranking. Unfortunately this is nonsense! And the search engines have been wise to this tactic for a long time. Gaining thousands of low quality links will only put you firmly in the spam camp and get you penalised.

(Don’t forget, link-building is still important, but only when the links are gained from relevant websites that offer users a mutual benefit. If you ask us, link-building should be renamed ‘relationship building’. Spending time developing a relationship with website owners can be hard work, but is a fruitful exercise if done well.)

3)    An optimised website will get you penalised

On-page optimisation still matters today. Many of the key ranking factors are the traditional on-page elements. And so that users know they are on the correct webpage there are certain elements that need to be optimised, such as page titles, header tags and so on. However, there is a fine line between being optimised and looking spammy. The key thing to remember is that any optimisation undertaken should be aimed at making life easier for users and not just the search engine spiders.

Yes, SEO is a technique that is ever changing and constantly evolving to stay effective, just as with most things these days. But the end goal for all companies online remains the same: drive as much traffic as possible, for the best possible cost, to deliver the greatest return on investment. And the best way to do that is with SEO.

So, considering all of the above, is SEO dead in the water? The fact that page-one accounts for 85 percent of traffic generated means the last thing anyone online wants is to drop off the first page. Thus making SEO more important than ever in the marketing handbook, if you ask us. However, we do believe that, as with all digital marketing techniques, an integrated marketing approach to SEO is the future.