Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not dead

There’s lots of talk about the importance of social media, and there’s been a continued discussion about the relevance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in the wake of new media technologies like Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest that not only provide a social space for people to connect, but also are oftentimes people’s FIRST delivery system for news.

A few weeks ago, the Internet was all a-buzz about news that The Atlantic was ditching their SEO efforts in favor of social media, since they felt that creating content for humans was more important than creating it for machines. The Atlantic now focuses on “spinning” a story and making it compelling enough to its readers that it goes viral, and with millions of monthly viewers, that’s a game they can afford to play, because they’ve now built the audience that most online marketers hope to one day have.

For those still in the business of building their online reputation and finding their audience, please keep the following considerations in mind for why SEO is not dead:

People Still Use Search Engines: Even though news comes to us via our preferred social media space, when people need information fast, they use a search engine. It may be an established search engine like Google, Bing, or Facebook Search, or something as simple as a search box on a popular website that trawls the web in addition to its own site. Wherever people are searching, good search engine optimization practices are sure to help by improving the chances of yielding relevant results to the searcher.
Content Still Has To Be Seen In Order To Go Viral: As great as social media outlets are for disseminating news, that news still has to get in front of key connectors who share it with their network. While there are certainly a variety of ways that news gets in front of these connectors (RSS feeds, tweets, e-newsletters, etc.), there’s a great chance that search engines are still informing people about the topics they care most about. When you don’t have the benefit of millions of people that will likely peruse your site on any given day, search engine optimized text is your next best bet for catching the attention of people that ultimately make things go viral.
SEO Has Long-Term Benefits: After news has gone viral and fallen out of the news cycle, search engine optimization has the added benefit of providing search engine robots with the necessary meta data they need to effectively archive the information and have it readily available the next time someone’s looking for an authority on the topic. Because longevity and relevance are key factors for most search algorithms, this aspect is even more beneficial to you while building your reputation with your audience, since being cited will continue to show your expertise as an online marketer.
The debate over Search Engine Optimization (SEO) versus Social Media Optimization (SMO) likely won’t end soon, but it’s certainly not time to throw the SEO baby out with the bathwater!

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