Watch out, the ‘Social Media Experts’ have arrived! This new professional, meant to be the Van Helsing to SEO, turning each found search engine optimisation campaign to dust.
Like a vampire, the arcane art of SEO refuses to die, but is Social Media wielding the right stake to bring about its demise?
A huge marketing trend has developed where advertisements not only carry website addresses but also ‘Find Us On Facebook’ and # tag Twitter links. Twitter is particularly appealing to advertisers as it appears to offer personal interaction directly with consumers. Tweeting and retweeting a # tagged post certainly requires decision and action, all positive responses to a marketing campaign, but what does this actually achieve? Social media interaction may be good at casually sharing information between consumers in a virtual ‘word of mouth’ environment, but it does nothing to help people find unknown websites. Facebook and Twitter expose brands and products to an increased market by social interaction, but there’s virtually no consumer activity at the end of this process. You can’t normally buy products and services from a Facebook page or a Twitter account; you must visit a website…
In the bad old days, SEO was an idiotic process of hidden key words, nonsense articles and dodgy backlinks, all attempting to push up a website’s ranking. Search engines today run on highly complex algorithms, with many rotating several of these algorithms daily to achieve different listings over time. For example, Google’s algorithms prioritise websites that are fully functional, offer a comprehensive site map, and contain up to date original content. There are certain ‘tricks’ but nothing works better than having an excellent website. Google places great value on organic SEO, something born out of quality and content over tricks and short-cuts. For example, new content used to be the genie of a good Google ranking. This created a market for poorly-written, content-poor articles written for pennies in copy sweat-shops. A revision in the Google algorithm two years ago somehow tested originality and quality of new content as well as volume. Poor content is now actually penalised.
As long as there are search engines, there will always be a need for excellent organic SEO. On the one hand, internet surfers will always need to be directed to the best websites their search criterion achieves. On the other hand, Google want to enable the best websites to be found, encouraging surfers to use their search engine again.
In the final analysis, social media marketing has negligible incidents of ‘click through’ to actual websites. Consumers will always need ways of navigating the internet and finding websites that fit their enquiries. Excellent information and a true ability to interact in the virtual arena is still only really possible via a website. And websites are found via search engines.