Oooh, that’s a controversial title, isn’t it?  I suppose I’d better substantiate this wild claim…

What is SEO?

From Wikipedia:

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a web sitefrom search engines via “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results as opposed to search engine marketing (SEM) which deals with paid inclusion. Typically, the earlier (or higher) a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search and industry-specific vertical search engines. This gives a web site web presence.”

Surely search is still important?

It is.  Saying “SEO is dead” is a bit of an overstatement, really.  It’s still important as people still use search engines but it’s not as important as it used to be because the realtime web and and viral propagation are taking over.  This means that when you do search for something on Google (or whatever) the realtime search results will come up before those with high page ranks.  Also, which is better: A search engine listing or a recommendation from a friend or trusted source?

So what is more important than SEO?

Anyone that regularly reads my posts will probably already know that my answer to this question is social media!  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this does not mean banging your press releases out over Twitter and leaving it at that.  It’s much more than that.  You’ve got to engage and above all else, you have to listen!  Only with real engagement will you be able to build a community of evangelists.  You need to build a relationship with your target demographic.  Engagement leads to trust, trust leads to evangelism, evangelism leads to virality, virality leads to WIN.

So should we forget about SEO?

Definitely not.  You still need it because there are always those special deep searches for finding out the stuff that not a lot of people know.  Also, there are always niche applications where you may not easily build a community (although I’m yet to find one).  There is also the added bonus that someone might find you via Google and enter your community via the back door.

The back door

So, SEO isn’t dead, it’s just that since building the extension, what was your front door has now become your back door.  Social media is the new front door!

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