Last night I had the pleasure of attending “Who Killed Social Media” put on by Nemo and Group Y. I’m going to pick on one comment that Tony Welch, Social Media Guru at HP made. And that is “SEO and SEM as we know it will be dead in 6 months”. Now here at Anvil we focus on comprehensive online marketing strategies for client which includes both SEO, Social Media and then some other things irrelevant to this discussion. See our real website if you really want to know what all we do.
Anyway, some of us at the panel last night were taken aback at this statement. That’s crazy talk! Blasphemy!
Alright, maybe. Let’s all take a deep breath and think things through and gaze into our magic 8 balls…
Ok fine. Here’s my prediction.
First of all, if we’re just talking about “SEO as we know it” sure. Why not. SEO as we knew it in 2000 (so I’m told) died. The Internet is always changing, and the smart folks adapt and adjust strategies and service offerings based on those changes. With the rise of social media, brands are having to think harder about how they are engaging their customers, what messages they are sending out to the world, and what messages are coming back at them. But just because there is another piece to the puzzle doesn’t mean you abandon all the work you’ve already done. Having your own online property (your website) that can be found easily and provides a good user experience is still going to be more important than getting your Twitter profile to rank. And no matter how much Google’s algorithm changes, I can’t imagine that they’ll weigh social media sites more heavily than your company’s site, for say, a branded search term. And lets face it, if you’re a big brand, branded keywords are probably driving 90% of your organic search traffic.
So what would make Welch say this? Oh sure some students got an article to rank at the top of Google for some super competitive keywords (including Social Media) but are they there now? Nope. The conversation with social media changes so quickly that ranking for super competitive, broad terms is not going to bring you any sustained traffic. Those search terms will continue to be dominated by Wikipedia (part of the social web) and sites with those keywords in their URL. That’s who is currently on the top of Google for “social media”. Use social media for long-tail keywords, such as Spaghetti Cat and Muppet Scat (apparently, Kent has a rhyming thing going on).
The bottom line is integrate. All of these things are important – SEO, Social Media, monitoring your reputation online. And they’re all changing. Some day the appeal of Twitter and Facebook will be replaced with the next big thing and social media as we know it will be dead. Don’t panic. Just keep your eyes open and learn to be flexible.