Digital marketing is more important now than ever – yet only in the last few years are some of the most crucial best practices coming into focus. A good digital marketing campaign is no longer about trial and error: You can achieve repeatable success by knowing your customers, using data, and continuously optimizing.
The big risk is this: Even a campaign well-architected in virtually every way can still fail. How? Every aspect of a digital marketing campaign works together, creating a seamless experience that lets prospects effectively sell themselves on your solutions. If one part of your strategy is missing, the rest won’t produce results.
In B2B digital marketing, more professionals are falling into this trap in a very specific way: Believing the hype that search engine optimization (SEO) is dead and leaving it out of their plans.
Why Are So Many Marketing Pros So Wrong About SEO?
SEO has been a part of digital marketing since the beginning. Rudimentary SEO tools and tactics were in place almost as soon as Google started handling millions of queries yearly in 2000. Over time, the specifics have changed, but much of the effort is still focused on visibility in Google.
With Google’s growth into an indispensable part of billions of lives, anxiety has grown. There are plenty of self-proclaimed experts, half-baked conspiracy theories, and plain wrong-headed ideas out there – and, unfortunately, they influence digital marketing strategy every day.
The biggest myth is this: Google doesn’t want SEO to succeed – and that means SEO is “dead.”
What’s the truth? Google wants its search results to reflect the best content on the Web for a given search query. It doesn’t want poor quality sites to reach the first page, no matter what methods are used. But that doesn’t mean SEO is discouraged! And it sure doesn’t mean it’s dead!
So What’s the Real Truth About SEO and Digital Marketing in 2016?
The changes Google has made to its technology over time all have one goal: Making search results better. However, there are just as many “ranking factors” Web designers have influence over more than ever. Google knows that rewarding sites that tweak these factors in the right ways improves user experience.
Second is this: Even with Google’s power, no change it can make would “kill SEO.” Doing so is not only impossible, but would remove a tremendous source of influence over Web-based brands. As much as SEO has changed, much of it remains the same at heart. Unless Google transforms into something unrecognizable, so it will remain.
It’s more difficult today to develop a successful SEO approach. But SEO is still a defining factor in where you fall on search engines’ results pages – and search queries are still the richest source of targeted, low-cost, organic traffic that any business with a major online component can hope for.
In Today’s Cutthroat B2B Markets, You Can’t Go Without SEO
B2B industries that used to be dominated by just a few players are becoming more diverse and competitive. Your rivals are out there, looking for ways to expand digital marketing as part of their prospecting and relationship management mix. Give up on SEO and they could build online momentum you can’t beat.
SEO provides you with crucial traffic you can use to develop insights on how the other aspects of your strategy are working. Without it, prospects are more likely to see and engage with your competitors first. Plus, you won’t have the raw data you need to hone your site into a true conversion machine.
The verdict is in: In 2016, SEO is indispensable.