Over the last few years I’ve written or started to write a number of articles / posts along the topic of SEO is Dead. I know I’m not the only one, I’ve considered running an experiment like this SEO is Dead website, but hey what’s the point if it’s already being done. A quick search for SEO is Dead and that site appears 8th (in my firefox, UK based, Google logged in session). Get my point! for some time now SEO’ers have struggled to prove to themselves and their clients that ranking in SERPS for preferred keywords is something measurable as a KPI, for a while it’s been impossible and during my time consulting and working for leading SEO agencies I had to battle with clients that the work we were doing is evident in their browser searches.
Regardless of personalized results based on your browsing preferences (which for sure proves SEO is Dead) there’s a new killer in town who goes by the name Google+ (G+)
Lets put aside the recent social failures of; Orkut, OpenSocial, Buzz and to some degree Wave the present iteration of Google attempting to understand and dominate the social space may just have hit the mark. Not least because this time instead of rolling out beta’s, invite only or over complicated integrations…. this time Google+ in our faces before we’ve even accepted and internalized the notion of Search + Your World
Quietly, deviously but with usual intelligence we’ve come to expect from the guys at mountainview, Google+ is going to rewrite the books on SEO, Online Marketing and indeed the very way we consider search and discovering information. The underlying concept of Social Marketing that Google now understands clearly is that we care less about what’s pushed upon us through advertising or savvy SEO’ers and more about the recommendations, incidental thoughts and musings of those people WE CHOOSE to put in our social circles.
Now, depending on how much we use Google, how much we as individuals have adopted social networks as our source of engagement and discovery will dictate how much G+ will change our lives. If we presume that we (or at the very least the emerging socially aware generation) have opted to share our lives on FB / Twitter then the simplicity of organizing our contacts into Circles is a no-brainer.
Now, consider the scenario where we have enough like minded friends in circles to cover any interesting query we may have, then there’s every chance that in the coming year or three the entire SERPS for any query will be filled with answers from people we’ve pre-chosen to trust. SEO’ers and Spammers start to worry just about now!
It means a devaluation of standard SEO a devaluation of any content not pre-approved (or +1′nd) by one of our nearest and dearests, it means a devaluation of Adwords (althought the clever introduction of +1 on Adwords should cover the concern Google accountants may have over a drop in a few billion ad revenue bucks.
For smart marketers, there’s significant opportunity here and it comes in the way of two things (and this folks is where I love Google for coming full circle to return marketing to an honest endeavor)
1. Provide users with good experience
- Lots of quality content
- A quality product or service at a good price
- Excellent customer service
2. Encourage users to share
- Create an online social funnel (FB Page, + Page, Tweet)
- Like / Follow / +1 Buttons on-site
- Incentivize sharing
And there we have it, Google+ comes to life, SEO is dead but the fundamental work flow of White-hat SEO lives on in the social universe.