Win the customers your competitors have forgotten
For 5 years now Marketers have been speculating about the death of SEO. As far back as 2013, and weekly ever since, I’ve seen new blog posts proclaiming SEO is Dead! An irony of this, of course, is that the motivation to write a blog post with this title is an attempt to capture some of the Google search traffic; that’s right, SEO is dead, but I still want my blog post to rank. Another motivation is to be controversial on social media; because it feels good to blast other platforms. Or maybe it’s because the writer genuinely believes it to be true.
Well, amid all the reasons why SEO could be dead, here’s the reason it is not:
Social Media doesn’t do local search
And until it does, people will use Google. And as long as people use Google, SEO will live on.
I’m right. As much as I love social media, it will not play ball for local services.
Here’s a quick example.
Below is the search results for “where to eat”
I should clarify I am sitting in our office in St Helens writing this…
What’s great about Google search now-a-days is it knows where I am and delivers results relative to my location. So without having to put St Helens in the query, the results are restaurants nearby.
In comparison, this is the best Facebook could do, a food connection being really the only relevant connection.
Instagram results were pretty useless. Again, there’s a food connection, but nothing helpful.
Even Twitter was a massive fail when it came to providing information on where to eat.
It’s true, of course, that social media platforms are not search engines. A better way to use Facebook, for example, would be to post a status update that asked, “where can I get something to eat in St Helens”
The advantage of this is that I can expect recommendations from people I trust, this should never be underestimated. The disadvantage however is that I have to wait for a reply, and if I’m in a rush that might be a problem.
From a Marketing point of view, as a local restaurant who wants my attention, the rules are different for each platform. On Google, SEO practices will help my establishment remain on page 1 in the organic search results, and in the so-called 3 pack, which is the local (what used to be called Maps) listings at the top of the page.
On Facebook, I can’t rely on people finding my business via search (we established this above). Instead, I could use Paid Social to define my audience and put some promotional content their news feed. I would use a similar strategy on Instagram. On Twitter I could use hashtags that are specific to my location, eg. #sthelens… but none of these are as immediate as Google. And that’s why SEO isn’t dead.
We’re all about social media here. We spend our days brainstorming ways to use social media to drive, engagement, traffic and conversions for our customers. We also use Google to do the same… because Marketing isn’t about using one or the other, it’s about using all the weapons in your armoury.
It’s worth highlighting that it’s your marketing message and the behaviour of your business that attracts new customers, Google and Social Media are just routes to market.