Time to Change Our Thinking...Again

  |  December 19, 2011   |  Comments

We need to stop thinking about our social media strategy on one hand and our search engine optimization strategy on the other hand…because they literally go hand in hand.

One of the most difficult aspects of the information age is having to change our perspective.

People hate change.

There has been a wide adoption of social media in the business world. I continually get businesses of all sizes desperately trying to figure out how to use social media. But I don't think it's because they want to grow into better human beings. I think it's only because they are being forced to use it.

I believe two things happened:

  1. 800 million people got on Facebook
  2. A massive recession swept through the country

I believe many businesses have been suffering over the last couple years and have, therefore, been scrambling to find new ways to promote their products. Fundamental shifts in business always happen during recessions and depressions. If things are good, there is no reason to change.

Businesses gravitated to social media because everyone is there. And there is no cost of entry other than time.

So while we are all on the change train, I would like to suggest that we just keep the change coming.

The change I am suggesting has to do with the silos we have all created.

I hate segmenting and siloing things. But I believe it is a necessary evil. There's simply too much information to have a flat, non-departmentalized system. However, the structure we have today is wrong.

Look at how this, and virtually every other site in the online information market, is structured. The topics are organized like this:

  • Email
  • Analytics
  • Marketing
  • Media
  • Mobile
  • Search
  • Social

This is the approved and accepted structure of most sites. The issue is that virtually every topic crosses over almost all of those segments.

Take Google for example. Gmail is, on its face, email. But it also has paid search listings. It has a mobile component that includes apps. And, I don't know about you, but it is the search bar I use most often right after Google.com.

You can email people in Google+. And of course, it is considered a social tool. Google Analytics is increasingly incorporating social statistics within its interface. Google AdWords and Google.com are now incorporating +1's within those results. We also now recognize YouTube as the second most used search engine. And of course, you can buy ads through YouTube Promoted Videos.

I bring this all up because I was getting stuck with each topic I wanted to write about today. Initially I wanted to talk about the Google Panda update. But then I thought I was going to probably have to talk about video and social signals, not to mention usability. It seemed like a search column. But it could've easily moved into virtually every other topic within this site.

I believe that you would not be telling the whole story of search engine optimization if you were not talking about virtually all the topics segmented here. This isn't just something that ClickZ and other publishers need to address. This is a way of thinking that we all need to change.

We are no longer doing search engine optimization from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., social media from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., and paid search from 11 a.m. to lunch time.

You cannot be a search engine optimizer today without a Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ strategy. Search engine optimization is bigger than on-the-page content and link building. You need to think about it by the brand and product you are targeting.

Strategies you have will be:

  • Google SEO
  • Google AdWords
  • Google+
  • Facebook Pages
  • Facebook Ads
  • Bing SEO
  • Microsoft adCenter
  • Twitter
  • Google Analytics

We all are thinking about how to get the most use out of the specific product. We need to stop thinking about our social media strategy on one hand and our search engine optimization strategy on the other hand. They literally go hand in hand.

It would be like segmenting your business publishing website by office supply:

  • How to use pens
  • How to use paper
  • Getting the most out of paper clips
  • Making the most of manila folders

You would then tell your writers that their topic is one of the above. "You can talk all you want about how to use paper. But just don't get pens involved."

We are thinking the same way about online promotion.

We as businesses and we as publishers need to start thinking differently. We still need to segment but the segmenting needs to be done by the tool and what needs to be accomplished. Not by individual activity.


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Sage Lewis

Sage Lewis is the president of SageRock Digital Marketing. SageRock has been a leader in Web marketing since 1999, offering search engine optimization, paid search marketing, social media marketing, and analytics.

Sage speaks nationally with SES and other prominent Web marketing organizations. He is one of the most sought after speakers and coaches in the field of Web marketing. From coast to coast, Sage has trained, coached, and consulted with some of the largest brands and conferences in the country.

Sage is also "The Web Marketing Video Guy" with nearly 500 Web marketing videos published. Sage writes as an expert for ClickZ in the "Search Engine Marketing" section. He lives in Akron, Ohio with his wife, Rocky, and son, Indiana.

His columns can be found in the Search Engine Watch archive.

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