The evolution of search and social, and more broadly the interaction of the public at large with the internet and the available media online, is naturally of huge interest to all those that offers services in the industry.
As search engines continue to evolve and social media stretches its own boundaries, this set-up really tests the agility of a companies offering. I’m predominantly working with clients, who are looking to harness their assets for greater visibility online, and maintain and develop channels that work commercially with them as a brand.
Now my title makes me an SEO specialist but in all honesty, I keep on thinking that the remit of ‘search engine optimisation’ is really being tested – especially as there is far too much cross-over with other channels…maybe something along the lines of an organic visibility specialist / earned media specialist would be a better way of describing what we do as SEO’s? The future of SEO in my mind, given whatever budget, needs to promote access to the optimisation of all media and marketing channels for organic visibility…and shouldn’t be restricted to only websites and link-building.
This means that not only do each and every company out there create a huge competitive advantage in developing an agile culture and digital business model, but so too do the agencies that support them. That should be a given but in all honesty, I really don’t think it is where it should be. Are agencies struggling to keep up with all the changes that are occurring in the marketplace and the technologies and marketing opportunities at large? Maybe, but I really think it needn’t be this way. A solid grounding in training and development to encourage inquisitive and analytical thinking, and the subsequent support and promotion of a culture where the understanding of these opportunities should be held at the heart of every team wit ha long-term agenda in this sector.
I’ve been lucky enough to have had exposure to a wide range of SEO practice and strategies from around the UK and abroad, and I think that agility needs to be made into a much greater priority. When was the last time your documentation, processes, ‘best practice guides’, reports, training and overall approach to SEO was revised to reflect the changes? Every month or each year? Maybe this could be an on-going process, whereby your team lives and breathes the development of better opportunities? Old school management would put this sort of thinking down as the continuous improvement process, or Kaizen.
Without this sort of thinking, your team is going to be immediately on catch-up, and I know from speaking with many SEO’s in the UK that a number of specialist agencies are certainly not allowing their staff to generate this value – not only doing an awful thing by their staff, but also degrading the reputation of the industry. And I for one don’t want the reputation for driving exceptional CPA’s, innovative ideas and resounding outputs to be lost to those with crumby management of their staff without any thought for the sector at large, the company’s reputation or the people that work for them.
Market changes to tested ideas to genuine opportunities
This isn’t meant to be a post saying that my SEO is better than their SEO, but simply to prompt you, as the reader, to answer the question: what are you doing for your team to promote the creation of ideas, the diligent testing of those ideas in order to develop their commercial proposition, and the presentation of those ideas as a genuine opportunity for the brand that you are working for online? A big question, but a VERY important one!
How is this being nurtured within your team, your company and the industry at large? Is it simply through reading case studies online, or are you creating your own case studies, your own ideas frm multiple channels in a much more proactive, fluid and expansive way?
The link-building team at MEC frequently astonish me with their ideas in creating new opportunities that have the direct or indirect result of building links, not simply recycling other people’s ideas – something I absolutely love to see – genuine ingenuity in the SEO industry. It reminds me every day that it’s the best sector to work in! How can we all encourage this development of testing, doing and promoting of how we work as specialists in the industry?
Evolving digital media from within
The evolution of search and social is vast, but just think of where it has come from: banner impressions to targeted, interactive display, paid search, SEO, social media optimisation, social media monitoring, online PR, to ever-maturing channels such as usability, conversion rate optimisation, forms of semantic search, personalisation, integrated marketing planning and implementation, re-targeting, eCRM, optimisation of multiple offline media channels…truly amazing – there’s so much out there to inform what we will be doing in months and years to come.
As such, the shaping of marketing in the digital arena is going to come in so many different forms as each company interprets these opportunities in their own way, but this is only going to come from within. This unique approach isn’t not necessarily a bad thing, though – it’s more important to encourage and celebrate this change and innovation after all, as long as those that are driving this innovation are developing these opportunities with an eye on the commercial value that they are going to serve – not simply to flog a poorly tested, planned and implemented ‘opportunity’.
I hope that those now entering this field are entering because they are energised by the opportunity that exist, and that companies that employ these folk nurture this energy in a way that shapes the next generation of digital marketers and the industry itself – in this ultra fast-paced, exhilarating and truly challenging environment to work in, it’s worth thinking about this today. So, I’ll put that question to you again: what are you doing to nurture your team’s talent and create new value for the brands that you work with?