Last weekend I participated in a panel at the Geneva Forum on Social Change (GFSC) and shared my impressions in a blog post: Can cause marketing damage reputations?

Another important topic that came up was Strategizing social media activities, and because of its importance, we will be conducting a webinar exclusively for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and charities on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 entitled Geneva Forum on Social Change: Accelerating impact (click to sign up if you are an NGO).

Article source: How dead is SEO marketing?

Among the many interesting issues, viewpoints, and insights that came up in discussion at GFSC2011, search engine optimization (SEO) and social media optimization (SMO) were very hot-button.

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SMO can include backlinks from individual social media sites such as Twitter. Pundits claim that the greater your impact on social networking sites, the more your SEO prospects will improve in the coming year. What is your opinion? Leave a comment!

    Trend 1: Using the same query does not mean we are looking for the same information

Image - graphic - Legislators & regulators are concerned that Internet users have been left with too little control of how their personal information is used - how it works and what data is gathered to serve you with targeted advertising - privacy quo vadis.Google recently stated that, “Google’s search quality is better than it has ever been in terms of relevance, freshness and comprehensiveness.”

Search engines have tried to improve results by evaluating queries in the context of users’ search history and other personal data compiled. In cases of no existing history for a particular search, Google or Bing may use another profile with similar characteristics and serve results accordingly.

However, multiple data centers may not be in sync, so the same search may return different results, depending on which data center is used. Since Google has made personalized search the default option, users will likely only experience personalized features UNLESS they opt out.

    Trend 2: Personalized search results are clear as mud

It is possible to limit Google’s efforts to personalize your search:

Why would you want to turn off personalized search? Because Google personal search does “not fully provide the much-touted benefits for its search users,” according to a research report, instead serving the interests of advertisers, i.e. giving you worse results today than a year ago.

    Trend 3: Organic search is becoming ineffective

Image - How face recognition worksThe ComMetrics site’s lack of popularity means that it is increasingly less likely to show up in research results. On the other hand, popular sites’ positionings usually improve quickly. In fact, Google may not even bring up your German site for a social media marketing search in Germany, because you are located in South Tirol (Italy). The search engine has decided that it is not relevant. Huh?!

What can you do? Build up your site’s branding by other means, and entice users to access it.

For instance, we suggest our users add our name to their search terms so Google will serve results that include those from our site. Does it work? Our server side statistics say yes.

    Bottom line: How much is SEO still worth?

Trends clearly show the increasing difficulty of achieving good rankings for a targeted search term such as ‘social media marketing’, so costs may often exceed benefits achieved. Constant attempts to game the Google algorithm have rendered search results less useful than ever before. To top it all off, Google’s attempts to personalize searches may actually give worse results than searching with a clean sheet.

Having your SEO firm ‘get you to the top’ without substantive changes to content is no longer a viable option. Instead, relevant content and getting subscribers to come back regularly seems a smarter way to go.

More resources

Okay, here are the questions I have for you:

    1. What has been your best SEO strategy?
    2. Have you recently discovered changes in search results from your favorite search engine?

The comments, as always, are yours!

  • Sarah Camut

    RT @Alltop_Social How dead is SEO marketing? Social-Media.alltop @SophieDelios — DEAD!!!!!

  • James Michell

    How dead is SEO marketing?: Moving from SEO to impact: a systematic approach for improving the targeted traffic …

  • Alex Hall – How dead is SEO marketing?

  • TarekMMourad

    How dead is SEO marketing? » cause marketing, CSR, Geneva Forum on …

  • Duncan Edwards

    How dead is SEO marketing?

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