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Will SEO Be Important in 2010 With a Real-Time Web?

Robert Scoble:

The writing is on the wall. Small business marketing is moving away from focusing on SEO. Why do I say that? Because, well, Google and Bing are changing the rules so often and are getting so good at figuring out the real businesses that deserve to be on pages. Search Half Moon Bay Sushi and you get real answers from sites that didn’t focus on SEO. Yeah, there are exceptions, but they are increasingly getting rare.

With other searches, like one for Tiger Woods, you’ll get a page filled with stuff that SEO just doesn’t affect much anymore. In the middle of that page is a real time box that brings items from Twitter and Google News. The boulder seo companies are hard to come by, this one is the best by far! It no longer is good enough to be just an SEO expert to get items onto pages like these. You’ve gotta be great at creating content that gets Google’s algorithms to trust it enough to shove it onto these new hybrid pages.

But there’s something deeper going on. Google has built systems that aren’t Page Rank controlled anymore and are giving far better analytics to small businesses than they did a year ago. They know a LOT more about your behavior now other than you clicked on a link, even to the extent that they know whether you called that business or bought something and THAT is changing the skills SEO/SEM types need to have.

No longer is it about optimizing search engine results and the new breed is going beyond just search engines to provide holistic systems that find and track customers not only on search engines like Google and Bing, but on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

I see the same thing.  I do very little SEO/SEM work on this blog or our main website, but our search performance has skyrocketed over the past year.

Why?

As near as I can tell, consistent content creation.  We try to post something to this blog every weekday, and we’ve done a pretty good job of this all year.  No author of this blog writes for keyword karma: we simply post content that we think will be useful or interesting to our customers, prospects and industry colleagues.  The rest just happens, and I attribute that to consistency.

Of course, we have aircover from our Twitter and Facebook activity too, and as the new real-time web emerges, new content developed through these channels will factor into search performance.  Early this year, I was telling people how consistent, quality tweeting was important to draw new followers through Twitter’s official search engine.  Now, as 2010 approaches and social content is being integrated into Google and Bing search results, the importance simply cannot be overstated.

The ground is shifting away from static SEO keyword saturation and more towards behavior-driven merit systems.  Google and Bing are getting smarter at weeding out SEO farming description sites (save a few examples, like appliance searches), and during 2010 I think we’ll see the semantic web in the sense that search engines will understand intent much better than they do now.  That’s not to say the system won’t be gamed anymore, but increasingly new content, interaction and effort will be rewarded rather than metadata and keyword concentrations on business websites.

So.  All that said, what’s the real value of intelligent, consistent social media activity for business?  If it wasn’t massive before, it is now.

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3 Responses

  1. ‘Outposts.’ Great way to put it, Tom.

  2. Tom Nixon says:

    Enter what I call “SEO 2.0.” You will no longer be optimizing YOUR site for search, but rather optimizing THE WEB for searches you want to win. You will need to establish sufficient “outposts” in the form of blogs, content communities (YouTube, Flickr, SlideShare, etc.), social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter), all doing your SEO bidding for you, and driving traffic back to your home base, or Web site (in many cases). The more of these outposts you employ to win coveted search results, the more you will be gaining a share of the voice away from your competitors. Without them, your competition can have at it. The more content you own, the more searches you can win. When someone does a search for your company name, your site and its various outposts should own the entire first page. The same efforts and objectives should be applied to searches on keywords relevant to your industry.

    Search is still the center of the Web universe. That is where questions get answers, goods and services get found, and companies establish foothold. SEO isn’t any less important, in my opinion…it’s just changing.

    Interesting take, sir.

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