Jen Doyle of MarketingSherpa and Nick Stamoulis, President of Brick Marketing and a blogger with the SEO Journal , shared their thoughts on the five key SEO questions we've asked several other thought leaders. Their perspectives were very complementary, providing a few specific tactics every SMB should employ to get found online.
How have you seen SEO as a practice change over the last few years?
"Over the past several years," Stamoulis notes, "I have personally seen a shift of more educated clients which has been great. When I first got involved in the SEO world back in the later 1990's and into the early 2000's there was great mystery surrounding SEO. Over the years small and mid-sized businesses have taken the time to learn the basics and understand the true value and power of SEO as a marketing medium." This trend was mirrored in Jen's comments that "because search engine marketers are becoming more mature with their practices while social media is emerging and providing massive benefits to SEO, search is hardly recognizable to its' state just a few years ago . Gone are the days when marketers could simply optimize a few title tags and get a few inbound links to achieve search engine optimization success."
Is search engine rank (page rank) important? Why or Why not?
Both experts agree that while page rank provides some gauge of authority of a site, it is not ultimately the metric marketers should use as a benchmark. Doyle sees "some marketers focus on page rank as if it were the most important SEO metric to track, but it is not. There are a number of more impactful metrics that represent measurable results for your business including organic traffic, conversion rate, leads and sales generated ... I would recommend focusing more on bottom line metrics like these rather than page rank."
Stamoulis supports the sentiment. "I think Google page rank is one minor factor that shows the trust factor of a website, but it should not be the leading factor to make SEO decisions ... page ranking (positioning of specific keywords) in the major search engines is becoming less important and a less useful measurement aspect of SEO. Organic search engine visitor growth and website conversion are much better SEO metrics."
How do you think localization and personalization have changed the relevance of search ranks?
Doyle asserts that "Google has done an exceptional job at creating innovative solutions to make the search experience more personal." The result of this innovation both at Google and across other search technologies means that "...as search engines evolve more in the future ranking fluctuations will continue." Stamoulis continues, "in my opinion, I think this is a great thing that is happening it will make the search engines to continue to provide the best possible relevant search results and will improve the overall user experience."
What will be the impact of social media inclusion in search?
Stamoulis sees "social media inclusion having a huge impact in search as it will continue to bring relevant search results (even if they are real time)."
"As more brands integrate social media into their search engine optimization plans, consumers will be presented with more data on the brands they are considering for purchase than ever before. Just by conducting a quick search, consumers are already presented with product reviews, images, videos and in some cases even competing products." Doyle elaborates that "the wealth of information created by social media empowers the consumer and enables them to make better purchasing decisions. This consumer empowerment will force brands to be more transparent and customer centric."
Based on where things are going, Stamoulis does not think though that social aspects of search will replace normal search, "although time will really tell!"
What is the most important thing an SMB can do to improve organic traffic?
Jen advises that "the days of easy optimization are long gone, so prepare yourself to make SEO a priority. In order to perform in today's competitive search climate, you must have a well rounded, strategic optimization plan that includes keyword and competitive research, optimized content generation, code optimization, site structure optimization, link building, and social media integration."
Some specifics from Stamoulis include:
- "Properly optimize your website and
- Market and promote your business online via link building
The bottom line is that businesses should be proactive with the web marketing to build their brand and reputation, not only in the eyes of the search engines but in their visitors too!"
One consistent finding across all our experts to date has been that while search technologies are constantly changing, one thing remains constant. Content is king. Creating fresh content that is remarkable and relevant to your target audience is the most sure fire strategy to deliver search results in the form of traffic and new leads.
How is your site keeping it fresh? Are you incorporating multi-media and ensuring it is available via social media?
Image Courtesy of myfear