Search engine optimization is important and it probably always will be. But real webmasters know that it is becoming harder and harder to make organic SEO pay. Sure, you’ve got great rankings. And, sure, your making a little money. But have you noticed that organic search results without a business plan is a lot like a wedding without a bride? Even if it happens there is nothing really to celebrate.
I’m not knocking SEO. I, of course, rely on it for my business as much as anyone. But I am saying that you can’t really build a solid business just relying on SEO. Not any more.
In the old days, that’s all you really had. Think 1995. You had Yahoo!, a Web directory (not a search engine), and you had Metacrawler and other search engines that were very basic. This was pre-Google.
Even after Google came on the scene in 1998, SEO continued to be a big deal. I’d say it was the primary driver of traffic and you could build a solid business on the Web with the expectation that organic SEO would be your primary source of traffic all the way up to 2005. For most business, maybe even up to 2007. But then things started to change. What was it?
I think social media had a lot to do with it. YouTube came around and people started taking videos seriously. Musicians began marketing themselves through a Website called MySpace. Then two college kids came up with an idea called Facebook. And the rest is history.
Did I leave out Digg? I’m sorry.
Yes, social media consists of more than just updating your friends with your lunch habits as you blow virtual kisses and take a bit out of each other’s vampire necks. It also consists of sharing what you’re reading with a bunch of strangers. And that’s pretty strange in itself.
What I’m trying to say is organic search is good and you should include it in your business plan, but you’ve got to include other things in there too. And that’s becoming more and more true every day.