My first official session of the day was a discussion led by a panel of search veterans that looked at the future of Search Engine Marketing (SEM). The speakers on the panel were Chris Boggs (Director, SEO, Rosetta), Robert Murray (CEO, iProspect) and Bruce Clay ( President, Bruce Clay, Inc.). The moderator of the discussion was Anne Kennedy (International Search Strategist, Beyond Ink USA).
After each panelist introduced themselves, they were asked what direction they think SEM is headed in and if they feel SEO is a dying practice.
Is SEO as we know it over? The consensus seemed to be that SEO is not dead; it has just become much more complex. Some of the main points discussed were that:
Ranking is no longer the sole factor of success.
Content is extremely important; focus on this, and generally rankings follow.
Put more budget towards developing content in order to compete.
Google is becoming much more localized for organic results so SEO should be geo-targeted.
Focus content and budget on local searches.
Over 90% of all online mobile transactions are done on one of the top 3 platforms/ smartphones.
PR departments should be involved when planning out SEO strategy because they deal with press releases, which are content, and should be optimized for search.
It is natural for links to come and go.
Links are now coming from news sites less and from social media more.
Google Instant Changing SEO: After the main discussion, Bruce Clay noted that Google Instant is helping us to find not only the keywords that we should add to our campaign but keywords that we should be using as negatives. This tool shows us results that are going to pop up that we did not think about before. This is going to cause PPC ads to become EXTREMELY targeted and the nature of content creation to change.
Key Takeaways: Before the session ended, each Panelist was asked to give one takeaway for audience members to implement in the next week:
Boggs: Make one employee understand auto-complete and go out and use it.
Murray: Syndicate your content based on your company’s category.
Clay: Everyone in the room needs to start over on their keyword research campaign. Decisions that were made a year or two ago no longer serve the new market. He then elaborated, “Everybody is in a redesign stage, they just dont know it yet.”