Is SEO still the ‘Holy Grail’ of search?

The world of search engine optimisation (SEO) is a place where change happens quickly and often with little or no warning.

It seems like one day there’s a way of implementing a particular procedure – and woosh – the next day it’s considered ‘good practice’ to do it differently. Then there’s the huge arsenal of online tools that suddenly appear only vaguely familiar despite the fact that they were used just a couple of days previously.

And change isn’t just confined to SEO techniques and web technologies. Do you find yourself asking, “Should I be targeting different keywords? Or “I wonder how many backlinks I currently have? How about, “What’s my current PageRank? Or even, “How many of those links are no-follows?”

All legitimate questions of course but while it’s vital to keep our ears firmly to the ground (or is that shifting sand?), are we obsessing too much over the detail? The problem with detail is that devil’s likely to be in there somewhere. Shouldn’t we instead be getting our SEO heads out of the sand of scrutinising micro-procedures and instead looking to see the wider picture?

Wouldn’t it make more sense to cut out the ‘middle men’ and go route one? In other words, go straight to where people can be found; an increasingly better bet in generating more website traffic.

As the web becomes increasingly more sociable than searchable, does it still make sense to be gripped purely by an addiction to ranking? And particularly given that search engines carry no warranty whatsoever regarding the shelf-life of your search terms should you be fortunate enough to have some perched at the very top of their results pages.

Shouldn’t we fixate less over the finer points and, instead, preoccupy ourselves much more with finding out whereabouts people are on-line, what they’re doing there and trying to figure out where it is they want to go?

A great many people spend their time online absorbing video, audio, podcasts, screencasts, blogs, tweets and contributing to forums and commenting on blogs. It’s therefore well worth considering that by producing and publishing quality content you’ll be helping to convince people that YOU are the person they really should be watching, listening to or interacting with.

In particular, remember also that:

  • Conversion rates may well improve dramatically as a direct result of your credentials and influence
  • Syndicating quality content to a wider audience can generate more qualified traffic than you could with search alone
  • Producing and deploying quality content is a lot less hit and miss than scratching round for in-bound links
  • People will find you from 100s or even 1,000s of places – not just from a few of the popular search engines.

So put your SEO feet up and get your word processor and video camera out instead. Syndicate your content into a wide range of different channels using different media in your quest for all the traffic you need.

Comments 2 Leave a comment

  1. I agree Tony. I have never been one for over analysing keywords or keyphrases and more and more traffic is coming from other sources other than the [fixated upon] Google natural listings.

    For B2C, Facebook is finally offering good value – especially for localised businesses such as sole retailers, as well as brands. But, the message and content has to be different, such as your suggestion of video. AND, marketers still naively want to use broadcast methods to reach customers!

    For B2B, I still think a well rounded website with specific content is a must, backed up by sharable quality content and case studies. In these instances, the message needs to ‘engage’. By that, I mean it needs to be written with the client in mind – what’s their problem?

    Comment by - Craig Killick Date Posted - August 3, 2010

  2. Highly recommend this book that discusses / challenges the same thinking….

    Comment by - Craig Killick Date Posted - August 3, 2010

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