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Should you focus on SEO?

I’m a marketer first and foremost, I spend my days wondering how I can better engage a specific audience to get a certain result, however SEO has been such a big part of what I do for so long I recognise that I tend to automatically go to the “How can this work from an SEO perspective” I suppose you’d expect as much having worked as a search marketer and freelance seo consultant for so long!

We tend to think that everything we do in online marketing is SEO and that search marketing has a legitimate claim on every element of the digital sphere, from content marketing, to social media marketing – I’ve even in the past argued that email marketing is a legitimate element of search because Google reads emails and those emails contain links!

If we’re being honest with ourselves though, SEO is only a small part of what we should be about as online marketers and then we have to take the step to say online marketing is only a part of the business’ whole marketing activity, which this Econsultancy diagram demonstrates nicely:


The problem arise when you just focus on seo, do everything you can, you tick all the boxes that an online marketer should tick and you get some results but they then don’t last or they don’t translate into ongoing growth and it’s because you’re not thinking about marketing in the round. Quite often we forget that we’re contributing organically to the growth of a business and it can be tempted to go after the 7th day to early – resulting in? Not a lot! Because there’s not a great deal in terms of brand, brand perception and storytelling for the customers to get behind.

More and more SEO is being dominated by the whole marketing activities of a business, if you were lucky enough to get and maintain your rankings with some funny linking a few years ago, you’re the lucky ones because the game has changed and it’s going to take more and more to make ranking work.

I think it’s become clearer and clearer to most marketers that online and offline can’t exist separately, we’ve been talking about content marketing and the general consensus is for a business to succeed online it needs to start thinking of itself as a publisher.

It feels as though we’ve kind of come full circle, I remember saying Content is King in 2007 and it’s a phrase that I’m hearing and reading more and more. However I believe Strategy is King, content without strategy; content without a joined up approach; content without a back story will not offer a long lasting solution. This is going back to good old fashioned marketing values, ie understanding USPs, competitive advantages, market research, segmentation to name but a few!

So don’t go hunting from those hints and tips and seo tricks that are going to get your website up the rankings faster, don’t expect a freelance seo consultant can completely transform your business, perhaps in the way they could a number of years ago, but think about how the seo sits with everything else you are doing and aim for the big time with a big marketing strategy.

Of course this also means smaller budgets are going to need much more creativity.



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