Is Search Engine Optimization Still Relevant?

I have been covering sales and marketing software for a long time, and to this day I can not adequately explain to a layman the concept of search engine optimization (SEO). Maybe, it is because this is an area that for the most part involves human interacting with technology (search engines and the net in general) as really isn’t a packaged automation software genre.

Until now. This week marks the official launch of Yield Software, a firm looking to basically turn what SEO executives do as an art into an automated science. Basically, Yield looks to increase web site traffic, increase conversions, etc.

OK, so here’s why I like this concept. It basically simplifies operations for those looking to do business on the web. This model demystifies a concept that many hold to be an art, and makes it more manageable – and makes the cost more streamlined. I liken it to the way CRM and marketing automation software finally brought accountability to marketing departments.

And here is why I’m not so jazzed about Yield: I don’t really see the need for SEO tools in this day and age. I mean, in an era where you can create huge audiences via blogs, Twitter, facebook etc. – is the old notion of web traffic still relevant? Maybe I’m just naive, but I think online marketing from a demand generation standpoint has grown beyond Google ad words.

As an example, SugarCRM has an amazing amount of web traffic at all of its web properties, and has an amazingly high search relevance on Google. But, SugarCRM has never purchased a SINGLE ad word. The traffic and customer momentum has occurred – gasp – because people checked out Sugar’s free software and told their friends.

In this day and age, old concepts like word of mouth take on a new meaning, and a rapidity that some traditional demand generation models have yet to mimic.

2 thoughts on “Is Search Engine Optimization Still Relevant?

  1. Shouldn’t your title be “Are AdWords Still Relevant”?

    SEO is about optimizing a page’s visible and invisible content so it will rank well in the natural search results of any search engine. Having well designed pages for both people and for search engines helps match ideal customers with their desired solution.

    If someone searches for “free CRM software” the best place to be is in the top 3 search results. The AdWords area is for product and services which don’t have those positions and have to pay to get placement on the first page.

    Oddly SugarCRM doesn’t rank highly for “free CRM software” but does rank well for “open source CRM” and “CRM Software” in the natural search results for Google. There is no reason for them to pay for AdWords.

    Other terms SugarCRM would be smart to go after would be “SaaS CRM Software”, “trial CRM software” and “CRM software ROI”. I suspect these are highly searched terms for people starting a search for CRM software solutions.

  2. Of course search engine results are still relevant. I mean, come on, you may have a few followers on twitter, but 90% of the nation doesn’t know what that is (regardless of how much media attention it has recently). Old tech is not bad tech. In fact, I still find myself going to the phone book to find people. That’s a product of poor search results and idiots not even putting a phone number on their “contact us” web page. Does your company have a Yellow Pages ad? If you sell to consumers it does. Would you suggest dropping that ad because newer technologies are available? Also, I’ve noticed a trend of people getting even lazier with their internet usage. Half of the “searches” that get to our site are searches for our domain name without the .com. Either they typed the URL into a Google toolbar or they where too lazy to type the .com. Either way, search is just as important today – maybe more so.

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