Everything you need to know about SEO, published jointly with Search Engine Land every Thursday.
The New SEO = Social Engagement Optimization
SEO is not dead. As with all living things, SEO is always evolving. While many in the search community are witnessing and acknowledging the evolution, they cling to the notion that SEO only stands for “Search Engine Optimization.”
The concept of search dates back to the days of cavemen searching for food. So does social interaction and the exchange of information, which inevitably impacts how people search. It’s time to add an additional meaning to the Three Letter Acronym of SEO and start teaching this to all the people with C-Level titles (COO, CMO, CTO, CFP & CEOs) in the world.
The Influence Of Social On Search
Over the past few years, the influence of social properties (Facebook, G+, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) on where people search, how they search (i.e., crowd source), and even how the search engines rank content in their search results, have dramatically increased. The influence of social on search will continue to evolve and become more critical over the next few years.
In the late 1990’s, organizations and their respective C-level management were slow to embrace the Web, and in the early 2000’s, they were slow to embrace strategic search engine optimization.
Today, the C-level management team is slow to embrace the structure and strategic use of social properties (Social Media) to enhance their findability when a potential customer seeks the products and services the organization offers.
What’s puzzling is this is old school marketing and something that was taught in business and marketing classes for the longest time. It’s called “word-of-mouth marketing.”
Yet, the latest generation of marketers don’t seem to know about it and professes that it’s something else. Something new and shiny that must be tried out and tested. Meanwhile, the perplexed senior executives in their organizations learned about word-of-mouth marketing when they took their business classes back in the 70’s & 80’s.
The key to old-school, word-of-mouth marketing is simple. If someone asks you to recommend a vendor for something, you give them the name of someone that you were happy with or warn them of someone who you were unhappy with.
This is what search engines started replacing (word-of-mouth marketing) in the late 90’s. Two decades later, search engines are being replaced and influenced by online social engagement, which is basically electronic word-of-mouth marketing. We’ve come full circle and any organization that doesn’t realize it is failing to compete with more nimble businesses and likely destined for the scrap heap.
Social Engagement Optimization
To effectively and strategically implement a Social Engagement Optimization strategy, the C-suite can simply let their organizations hire a recent graduate who completed a social media college course and set them loose with the corporate social media strategy.
This may be less expensive than someone who has years of traditional marketing experience, possessing the expertise and ability to relate historical successes and failures to the new social technologies for doing old-fashioned marketing. Yet, the reward for using experience to create measurable benchmarks and milestones based on historical and traditional concepts, is that your organization will succeed in the new environment of online social media marketing.
Corporations and their executive teams need to think about how they are going to use social properties to engage with both current and potential customers and then how to optimize their experience to maximize sales and profits. In essence, they need to relearn how to do something that businesses have done since the dawn of commerce and to educate their marketing teams that SEO must now also include Social Engagement Optimization.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.