From time to time, I read blog posts and comments online that search engine optimisation (SEO) is dead
, eclipsed by social media or other new online shiny objects. I can assure you that SEO is not dead, it’s alive and well, but just evolving… very fast!

The principles of SEO have never changed in my mind, they are the same now as they were ten years ago – comprising a well designed website, optimized for search, which attracts, retains and converts visitors. It contains useful information, not just full of automated or poorly written web copy which is only there to attract the search engines.

However, as I mentioned above, SEO is evolving very fast. Search engine technology is very sophisticated and evolves as technology advances, so no surprise that the way search engines rank web pages is constantly changing. They are becoming much better at eliminating spam and poor content. This is ultimately making a better experience for searchers as results are improved and more relevant. Consequently, it should also make for a better website experience, as website owners are forced to improve their overall web content. This means that your online marketing needs to keep up.

Another key change in SEO is how it is intrinsically connected with other online marketing activities such as social networking and content marketing. In fact, content marketing is so important for businesses that any SEO strategy has to include the creation of useful content on a regular basis. And I don’t mean the creation of content as search engine fodder!

It’s not only the search engines who are good at spotting below par content. Web savvy users now have very high expectations when it comes to website content so it doesn’t take much to disappoint and let them surf away from your site forever.

Your content needs to serve your visitors in multiple ways:

  • Answer their questions about your product or service
  • Show that you know what you’re doing, that you’re an expert in your field
  • Prove that your products are high quality
  • Entertain them
  • Allow them to experience your product or service, perhaps via a video
  • Show them how your products could be used, look in their home or could look on them (e.g clothes) via high quality photos
  • Teach them while on the move via recorded podcasts
  • Keep them up to date with the latest news in your industry via your blog
  • Keep them informed of your special offers…

 In fact the list is endless

So where does this fit in with SEO? Well pretty much all content you create can be optimised. Google still refers the highest number of visitors to websites, so every piece of content you create needs to be found. The more regularly you produce content, which is optimised for search, the better your rankings will be and the more visitors you will attract to your site.

And it goes further. If people like your content, they’re far more likely to share it with their friends and contacts, or even link to it. This means that your content is serving multiple roles, and not just there for the single purpose of attracting a visitor from Google.

For what it’s worth, this is my take on how SEO is evolving and what you need to do if you’re serious about improving your online marketing over the months and years to come.