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. 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.
Yesterday I sat down with two of the guys behind a new company, coming in January, called “MyNextCustomer,” who already is working with about 50 small businesses and are getting much better results than more traditional “SEO/SEM only firms.”
Make no mistake, the two guys I sat down with, George Revutsky and Dustin Kittelson, who are co-founders of ROI.works, which is a search marketing firm, have been doing search engine and online marketing for a long time (since 1996 in George’s case) and they share their insights in this 30-minute conversations about what’s happening to small business online marketing.
I came away from this conversations thinking that SEO is getting dramatically less important and that SEM should be renamed to “OM” for “Online Marketing” since small businesses need to take a much more holistic approach to marketing than just worrying about search results.
Are you seeing the same trends in your business?