Not long ago search engine optimization (SEO) was the core strategy Internet marketers used to improve ranking in the search results and drive visitors to their sites. But buyers are now searching for information on the web in places other than search engines.
Buyers now get information from many sources on the web. To stay current with the behavior of web users, we must expand search engine optimization methodologies to include social media marketing and content marketing with help from Webmynd. Search engine optimization (SEO) needs to become part of a broader search term…search optimization (SO) to include social media ranking results.
Despite the current weakness in the economy, many companies are already taking action to ensure that their products and services will be found by searchers who have moved beyond search engines. According to a new study released in March, 2009, by the Aberdeen group:
- 63% of companies surveyed plan to increase their social media marketing budgets
- 21% plan to increase spending by 25% or more
- 34% responding plan to make no change.
- only 3% plan to shrink social media budgets
Given that search now includes much more than search engines, why do we still use SEO to refer to activities which go far beyond ranking well in the SERPs (search engine result pages)? The answer is simple. It’s an entrenched term. When a musician has a new release it’s still called an album. Some terms persist despite no longer accurately describing current realities.
Are we doing harm to our industry by using limiting terminology? By calling “search” SEO, are we failing to adequately communicate the need for a more expansive search optimization strategy to achieve optimal Internet marketing results? Searching on the web is no longer the sole domain of search engines. Buyers can easily find information on the web without ever using a search engine. For example, users of Twitter pass relevant content by re-tweeting it.
People who search on the web are still finding information from search engines as well as from other sources such as Technorati, Blogsearch, DIGG, Stumbleupon, Slideshare. Many searchers are also finding what they need on vertical industry web destinations that include industry blogs and other links to relevant sources of information. An example of search optimization “beyond” SEO is a new browser plug-in from WebMynd which allows social media search results within page rankings.
My case and point, this is a screen shot (above) for the search query string “inbound marketing agency.” On the first page of Google for “Inbound Marketing Agency”, you will find our company, Find and Convert highlighted in yellow. The amazing demonstration to view here is on the right hand side of the SERP. Follow the red arrow and you will see that Michelle Berdeal from Find and Convert is listed in the LinkedIn social media results for the keyword search query “Inbound Marketing Agency.” By using the Webmynd browser plug-in for Firefox and IE, anyone can now utilize the social media search results for any given term.
BUT HERE’s THE MAGIC >>>
In real time, I can tweet about Inbound Marketing Agency and my tweet will show up in the social media search results.
(Shown here in the second screen shot capture)
As I was creating this article, I went in and tweeted about Inbound Marketing Agency and also update my LinkedIn profile to reflect the keyword term as well.
Now, in REAL TIME, I have created social media ranking results on the first page of google, pertinent to my keyword phrase that I want to rank. I do not have to wait for Google to re-index my pages. I do not have to wait not 24 hours for blog posts results to ping. In real time, database changes are showing my social media conversations for the keywords I want to rank and draw links to my webpage.
Just minutes after taking the first screen shot, you can see where I have highlighted, my own Twitter tweet and my own LinkedIn profile. Now, Dianna Kersey of Find and Convert, is showing on page one of Google by utilizing Webmynd’s browser plug-in.
Immediately we can view rich content media in the form of tweets, LinkedIn members, You Tube videos, CNN news results, Diggs, Amazon products and much more that are talking about you, your company and your product/service offerings.
A company is able to find blog posts, tweets, and polls and join in the conversations directly about them and become a part of the immediate social response that is necessary in today’s growing search optimization climate.
Members of online communities are creating content and expressing opinions about products and services 24/7. As the content spreads, it shapes buyer’s perceptions and influences their decisions as it gets shared on the social web. It makes sense that buyers could easily begin to trust information being shared socially more and more because it is real time results and experience. The sharing that occurs on the social web is much more dynamic than a simple search engine result and can show up to develop new potentials of networking and communication.
SEO as we know it is not going to dramatically change tomorrow. But, like our example with Webmynd, a more holistic methodology of search that includes focus on web traffic, networking and conversation must be implemented in order to stay competitive. The websites with rich media will get the best results in Google and other search engines. Google recognizes the shift in content on the social web and will begin displaying results of all rich content media, not just websites. Their recently announced changes to more useful related searches and longer search result descriptions support this shift in content consciousness.
Google doesn’t view Yahoo! and Microsoft as its only competitors. The people working in the Googleplex understand that information seekers can find answers in a variety of places on the web. Rather than resist the inevitable, Google search engineers have recognized that SEO is rapidly becoming SO. Developers are creating functionality that web users desire and demand. The evidence is clear when a tool such as Webmynd is created to show social media ranking results. However you arrive at it, SEO is evolving and it’s new name is SO – Search Optimization.
So… what’s on your Mynd?