Because of changes to Google's approach to search, some are beginning to question the future role of SEO in inbound marketing. Google is beginning to link search results it delivers to the social media behavior and browsing history of the searcher. This is one result of Google's foray into social media with Google+.
In the future, which in a limited way is now, what comes up on page one of search results will be different for you than it is for me. This puts the notion of high search engine rankings into question. Why bother with SEO if we no longer care about page one? But we should care. It just requires a shift in how we get there. Here are the three key areas that will be important to successful SEO in the future.
1. Keyword Research - What continues to be critical about the activities involved in SEO is keyword research - regardless of how search engines decide to parcel out results. The reason? Key word research gives us true insight to our buyer personae - our key audiences.
It's critical to success that we understand the words our prospects use to search for products and services like ours. I can bet you that the words they use are a far cry from the words we use in our carefully constructed website copy.
2. Social Media Context -- Where we need to shift is to become much more aware of where our prospects are engaged in social media. In addition to knowing where they spend time and effort engaging online, we must also become more engaged ourselves. Our associations with key audiences, our interconnectedness with their communities will influence our being presented to them on page one query results.
3. Great Content -- I agree with some online marketing experts that the most important inbound marketing component will continue to be creating great content. Keyword research helps assure that the content will appeal to the intended audience and will include language that resonates with them. Social networks assure effective targeting and delivery of our messages.
But ultimately, it’s our level of creativity, professional knowledge and awareness of our audiences’ needs that will contribute to producing content that moves to the top of search results. Such content will not only attract search engines, but will move people to action by showcasing our capabilities to provide the products and services being sought.
The image is from the flickr photostream of Aurelian S under Creative Commons license.