Search engine optimization is an effective marketing strategy but not ‘The marketing strategy’ as some Internet marketers have begun to sell it as. This simply means that SEO is effective and there’s no doubt about that, but it is never something that you could solely focus on as your marketing be all and end all.
SEO is no longer a technical exercise that can be done in a vacuum which would start generating millions in sales for you overnight. It will have to be done in conjunction with other marketing efforts and it certainly isn’t going to generate overnight results especially if you take a casual approach. Unfortunately, a lot of smaller organizations are falling prey to suggestions by third party SEO providers who promise the moon by portraying that SEO will address all their marketing challenges.
Renowned technology blogger Chris Dixon ruffled quite a few feathers in the SEO industry when in a recent blog he suggested that SEO is no longer a viable marketing strategy for startups. While Dixon’s extreme position on SEO seems far from accurate, concerns certainly exist for organizations and especially startups when employing SEO as a marketing tool. SEO requires a lot of effort to have a truly meaningful impact on an organization’s sales. Startups are increasingly finding it difficult to find resources to devote to such an increasingly complex task. The nefarious means employed by black hat SEO practitioners means, even more, competition, more effort and more resources required to reach the top of search engine results. Startups naturally do not have the wherewithal to deal with resource-rich but unethical SEO practitioners.
Search engine algorithms also keep changing in response to the evolving threat from black hat SEO, which further impacts the marketing efforts of those looking at genuine white hat SEO as their marketing prima donna. You could be at the top of search engine results for your chosen keywords and phrases one day and be nowhere in the search results the next, thanks to such dynamism in algorithms forced largely by unethical black hat SEO practices.
Despite this efforts are being made to offer more integrated marketing tools that incorporate other online elements apart from SEO for effective marketing through the Internet. Software platforms are emerging that help organizations use and measure a variety of web-based marketing techniques such as blogging, social media, content management and email.
Unlike what Dixon believes SEO isn’t going to die anytime soon and is, in fact, garnering more believers from the high echelons of marketing. This is only natural as people don’t only continue to search for products online, but also the tribe of such searchers keeps increasing to already account for a significant portion of humanity. While black hat practitioners may continue to throw billions into gaming SEO, the pressure and wallet share from billions of users searching for genuine content online will be an effective counter to such efforts. In time, the search engine industry is sure to find a permanent solution to this problem.