SEO is not going away any time soon.
Maybe Hubspot goes public and inbound marketing becomes all the rage and the term du jour for Internet marketing/SEO/SEM/online marketing/etc.
But that doesn’t change the fact that the majority of your marketing actions online have the end goal of increasing search engine presence. You can call yourself a content marketer or inbound marketer but you are likely aiming for the same thing at the end of the day as the guy down the street calling himself an SEO.
Why is search still the most important end goal for marketers by any name?
Because search is a freaking awesome marketing channel. Search embarrasses most other marketing channels and here’s why:
1. It’s cost effective. SEO can get expensive at times, but you aren’t paying a dime to anybody when a qualified customers discovers your business through organic search.
2. It scales. Once you learn SEO or hire somebody who knows what they are doing, there is nothing stopping you from rapidly growing your search traffic and online revenue. Compare scaling a local outdoor advertising campaign to a national level vs. scaling an SEO campaign to a national level.
3. It’s targeted. There are very few wasted impressions with search. Qualified people are finding you and your time isn’t spent blasting out a message to people who don’t care.
4. It’s democratic. You could debate this one, but the search medium makes it just as easy to click on a result for Walmart as it does a local general store. It may be harder for a local store to rank highly, but there is no infrastructure to battle if you are a small business. The platform is the same for everybody (in theory).
5. It’s learnable. Not only is SEO a powerful marketing platform for all of the above reasons, but it’s one that can be self-taught fairly easily. It’s much easier to learn SEO best practices than to learn how to produce a nationwide television commercial, write an editorial or plan and execute a viral campaign.
No matter what you call your online marketing efforts, chances are you are hoping to boost your presence in search engines. Even if you “abandon” SEO and focus on content creation, usability and social media, a marketer worth his salt is still hoping that those efforts will result in an increased search presence.
What we refer to our occupation will certainly change as time passes but as long as people are searching for information on the web there is a place for search engine optimization.