In the last couple of years or so, a CMO worth her salt have probably invested, one way or another, in search engine optimization (SEO). It’s very logical to do so. Ultimately, our marketing efforts—whether traditional ads or digital—have a rather straightforward goal: bring traffic to our website.
We want people to visit us, engage with us, learn more about us, and in the end, patronize what we offer. Our website is the funnel where we actively process leads for conversion.
Simply put, marketing wants traffic. Traffic brings in leads. Leads turn to sales.
For the past half a decade, search engines such as Google have been considered kings when it comes to delivering traffic to websites. In fact, this phenomenon has brought about a brand new industry – the SEO – because companies are willing to invest a lot just to get traffic to the website to increase their bottom line.
However, research firms are now telling us that there is a new traffic referrer that is on the brink of dethroning search engines: Social media.
In a report by traffic research company Shareaholic, it seems that social referrals have more than doubled their capacity to bring people to websites, from 11.23 % in November 2012 to 23.69 % in November 2013. Search remains on top, but has posted a decline from 41.83 % in November 2012 to 39.37 in November 2013.
More alarmingly for search engine marketing practitioners, BuzzFeed, citing a yet unpublished detailed report by Shareaholic, said that in 2014, social has literally crossed paths with search.
In a separate report, Shareaholic said that among the social media outlets out there, Facebook remains the top referrer of traffic accounting for 24.63 % in December 2014, more than nine percent higher than the traffic it brought in December 2013, which was 15.44.
Search is dying. Now what?
The decline of search engines in delivering traffic should force companies in the Philippines to rethink their digital strategy. Instead of being all gung-ho about search optimized content, Google Ads, and—god forbid—black hat SEO, companies should focus on delivering content that will sail past the social media waters.
Time to wind down all efforts to bid your way through key words. What you need to do is to make your content interesting for real people, not search engines. This, after all, is the cornerstone even for white hat SEO. In producing content, Google’s own webmaster guidelines reminds us to answer these questions: “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”
For the past two years, Comm&Sense has been telling companies that content marketing in the Philippines will be big. That prediction has apparently arrived. Content will deliver people to your website and to your brand. The new battleground is no longer in the search engines, but in Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Our recommendation: Get really good writers with excellent journalism backgrounds. Give them a free hand in creating content that will make your brand relevant, and for heaven’s sake, let these content bring traffic to your website.
Online media is too important to be left in the hands of webspammers, no matter how much they want you to think that they could lead people to your site using their SEO magic wands.