Friday, November 19, 2010

Why SEO Doesn’t Matter Anymore and What You Should Do Instead

Search engine optimization used to be the holy grail of getting more traffic. Placing high in search engine rankings for prime keywords related to your niche could send thousands of visitors to your site on a regular basis. But more and more, search engine traffic isn’t as important to most websites. They’re finding their traffic from other places.

What do you think is the reason for this? Here in this post we trying to explain why search engine optimization doesn’t matter anymore and what are the alternatives for getting more and more traffic.

7 Reasons SEO Doesn’t Matter Anymore

Social media is a big part of the blame for this situation. People can now ask their friends or complete strangers for recommendations on virtually anything, and get human-filtered results within minutes through Facebook, Twitter, or other social networking sites. Internet users are also becoming more savvy and can cut through search results to find the best content, regardless of optimal placement for the best keywords.

Even in cases where search engines still send significant traffic to a site, search engines are becoming so much more intelligent that it’s getting harder and harder to get good placement unless you’re providing the best content.
Read on fore more information about what’s making search engine optimization less important, what you should do about it, and even when it still is important.

1. Facebook

More often than not, people aren’t using search engines to discover new content online. Instead, they’re turning to their friends. And with its new “Like” button appearing all over the web, Facebook is becoming an ever-more-important source of finding content online.

Rather than using Google or Yahoo! to find information on a topic, users are asking their Facebook friends and groups about whatever information they need. People also trust this information more, as it’s coming from people they know, rather than just being returned in what often seems like a random pattern.

According to a latest research it’s been indicated that Facebook has currently More than 500 Million active users. If Facebook were a physical nation than this would make them the third most populous country in the world, after China and India.

 And if the service continues to grow as rapidly as in the three months to July, it will reach one billion in about 15 months—almost the size of India.

What You Should Be Doing — Facebook opens up a host of possibilities for driving traffic to your website. Incorporating a “Like” button on your site should be your first step if you want your visitors to be able to easily share your site. You’ll also want to create a page or group for your company or website, and encourage people to join.

You can put a link to the group on your website, as well as send out recommendations to your current FB friends. Another option with FB is targeted advertising, which can be relatively inexpensive.

Be careful not to use Facebook to spam your fans, though. Post information on your page or group that is relevant to your niche and will also be useful to your fans. If all you do is post about your company or product, you’ll drive away fans.

2. Social Bookmarking and News Sites

A lot of people are actively involved in social bookmarking and news sites. Sometimes these are niche sites devoted to a particular industry, while other times they’re more general. In many cases, it’s more effective to turn to sites like this when looking for information on current events or information of interest than it is to use search engines.

Really involved users might turn to their social bookmarking and news sites when looking for virtually any information. Because of tagging and built-in search functionality on these sites, it’s easy for users to find pretty much anything. And the fact that someone else has already looked over something and decided it was worth saving for later reference or sharing with others, the sites found in this manner are considered more trustworthy.

What You Should Be Doing — Adding social bookmarking links to your website is a great way to encourage your visitors to promote your pages for you. You’ll also want to set up accounts on the major social bookmarking sites (Digg, Reddit, Delicious, StumbleUpon), as well as any sites specific to your niche. Promote relevant content both from your website and elsewhere; otherwise you might be viewed as a spam account.

3. Better Search Engine Algorithms

Search engines get smarter every day. SEO tactics that worked brilliantly years or even months ago don’t work as well now. Search engines know how to weed out the obvious SEO tactics to get at the meat of a site’s content. Because of this, SEO tactics are becoming less and less effective.

As search engines get even more intelligent, on-site SEO strategies will only get less effective. While search engines will still recognize good, relevant content, there will be few strategies that will give sites a boost outside of providing good content. Off-site SEO strategies will likely still work for quite a while longer, but search engines are aware of many of the tactics used to make sites appear more popular than they actually are. It’s a trend that’s going to continue for the foreseeable future, at least.

What You Should Be Doing — This one is pretty obvious: you need to provide high-quality, relevant content on your site. Forget about keyword stuffing and writing with SEO in mind. Just provide content that’s important and useful to your target visitor and trust that search engines will be able to sort out the best sites in a given niche.

4. Blog Roundups and Showcases

There are blogs for virtually every niche in existence. And many of these blogs post roundups of content from various sources online. These roundups are a fantastic way of finding information about a given topic without having to wade through search results.

Again, one reason people turn to these types of posts is the idea that someone has already been through the content featured and has weeded out the content that isn’t any good.

What You Should Be Doing — There are two ways to approach this type of content and promotion. First, if you have a blog, you’ll want to do a couple of these roundups. Include both resources from your own site and elsewhere. These types of posts get bookmarked and passed around for months after they’re written.

The second thing you’ll want to do is create content that’s well-suited to being included in these types of posts. Email bloggers who write about your topic and make sure they’re aware of your site (but also make sure you don’t nag them or become annoying). Getting featured in a post like this can drive traffic to your site for months.

5. Twitters

When looking for information about a topic, a lot of users turn to Twitter. It’s easier to ask a question there than it is to do a search, and you often get much better results. In a lot of cases, people have more Twitter followers than they do friends on other social networking sites, and so there’s more chance to find the information they’re looking for. Plus, Twitter lets anyone see your updates (unless your feed is private, of course), which opens up some great opportunities for promotion.

Twitter is used for everything from breaking news to research. Trending topics give us insight into what’s going on at that moment, and what’s being talked about. Hashtags let us focus on particular topics and see what people are saying whether we’re following them or not. Twitter is a giant conversation, among both strangers and friends, that anyone can become a part of.

What You Should Be Doing — Every business should have a presence on Twitter. Businesses should set up Twitter accounts to interact with their customers and prospective customers, and to see what’s happening in their industry. Businesses should also use Twitter as a proactive customer service tool. You can see the experiences users are having with your business almost in real-time. You’ll also want to follow relevant hashtags related to your industry and answer questions being posed by other users. This can be a great way to pick up new followers. If the information you provide is useful and relevant, people will view you as an expert and will turn to you next time they have questions.

6. People Already Have Their Favorite Sites

Because the Internet has become such an integral part of the lives of so many people, most regular Internet users already know their favorite sites for certain things. If they’re looking for an apartment to rent, for example, they’ll go to Craigslist without bothering to search elsewhere. If they’re looking for a book, they might go straight to Amazon or Abe Books. What they won’t do is use a search engine.

Internet users find websites they’re comfortable with and are hesitant to deal with a new site, especially when it comes to actually purchasing something. When they do business with a new site, they often do so based on the advice of someone else, not based on search engine results.

What You Should Be Doing — Figure out who the big sites are in your niche and then figure out how you can get your content featured on them. With some sites this is pretty easy. If you’re a local business, put ads up on Craigslist that direct people to your website. If you sell a product, see if you can become an Amazon Associate to sell through their website. If all else fails, see if you can place an ad on the site that leads your industry, or see if they’d be interested in featuring some of your content.

7. More Savvy Searchers

Internet users are much more savvy than they were ten or even five years ago. When someone goes to a search engine to find something, they often know exactly what keywords will yield the best results and can quickly weed through the results that don’t offer what they need.

Search volume also plays into this. Searchers can use very specific search terms and still often get thousands or millions of results returned. Because of this, they’re not afraid to search for very specific things, since they know they’ll still likely get enough relevant results. This is where the long-tail comes in, and the long-tail is harder to optimize for effectively, since you never really know how someone is going to reach your site, or what search terms they’ll use.

What You Should Be Doing — Again, this comes down to providing great, relevant content. Stop trying to game the search engines and simply put the best content on your website that you can get. Search engine traffic is becoming a smaller and smaller part of traffic for more established websites, as they get more incoming links and referrals. Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay any attention to how searchers are finding your site. And by all means, if you find some obscure search term is sending you significant amounts of traffic, consider adding more content around that term.

When SEO Is Still Important

All of the above isn’t to say that search engines have become completely irrelevant. There are still plenty of industries and niches where search engines are vital for sending new traffic.

Informational websites are probably the most likely to benefit from good SEO. Part of this has to do with the volume of content. If a website focuses solely on providing valuable information, they’re already a step ahead when it comes to good search engine placement. Making other adjustments to further optimize your content (like good alt tags on images, etc.) only helps improve your placement even more. And people still use search engines when looking for information.

Industries that deal with things people might not be comfortable discussing with strangers (or even friends and family) also benefit greatly from SEO. After all, if it’s not a topic someone wants to ask their Facebook friends for advice on, they’ll turn to search engines. It’s still a relatively anonymous method of finding information online.

Author : Cameron Chapman
Cameron Chapman is a professional Web and graphic designer with over 6 years of experience. She writes for a number of blogs, including her own, Cameron Chapman On Writing.

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