Is SEO dying?
As a digital marketer, I get this question a lot. My response is always the same.
SEO is not dying. It is evolving. And anyone who practices digital marketing needs to evolve with it.
No, the sky is not falling. But the ground is shifting. And the sooner we get a grasp of the big picture, the steadier we’ll be.
From Tactics To Strategy
Why is the death of SEO question omnipresent? Because it’s easy to miss the forest for the trees.
SEO is flashy term for a tactic. It’s a tactic that helped thousands of businesses get rich during the dot-com boom. But it’s just a tactic.
Tactics matter. But they’re only effective when there’s an overlying strategy in place.
This is a prime reason why I use the term SEO as little as possible.
In fact, when people ask me what I do, I say I’m an Internet Marketer. Or I work in digital marketing. Those terms better reflect what I do than SEO does.
I consult with agents across the United States and Canada. My primary focus is to build the best digital strategy for each of my clients.
Building a core strategy is critical if I want to see success with any tactic, including SEO. After all, as Sun Tzu said, “Tactics without strategy are the noise before defeat.”
The Principles of a Digital Marketing Strategy
What type of digital marketing strategy do I use? The specifics vary from client to client. But, I generally try to build the online version of the following story.
More than 50 years ago, my grandfather – a doctor - opened his own practice in a suburb outside of Philadelphia. He put a sign on the door with his name on it, and he waited for his first patient. And waited. And waited.
Why did he wait? Because his practice was an unknown entity in the town. The townspeople didn’t know enough about his abilities to trust their business to him.
One day, a woman rushed into the front door of his practice with her young son in tow. The boy needed immediate medical attention. My grandfather treated the boy, and his health improved. The woman was so impressed, she told all her friends about the experience.
Word of my grandfather’s abilities spread through the community. His business boomed in the following weeks.
Several decades later, my grandfather retired from the practice. I went to his retirement party, and it seemed as if the entire town was in the room. I watched in awe as person after person shared how he helped improve their health, and their lives. It was one of the most amazing scenes I’ve ever been a part of.
That’s a true story. But it’s not an unusual one. It’s how small businesses form and grow, and have for centuries. The evolution of SEO is about conforming online marketing to this tried and true pattern.
Consumer trust matters. Organic growth is about more than the number of keywords you rank for. It’s about going from being a strange, unknown entity in your space to gaining a loyal following.
Helping agents along this journey in their business is what inspires me to come to work every day. That quest will never die, and neither will my passion for it.
That’s the case regardless whether the term SEO goes the way of the dodo. And regardless which tactics I use to help my clients get to that true north.
Adapting A Big Picture Strategy
How can your agency find its optimal digital strategy? It starts by looking inward.
Consider which values your agency holds dear. What change are you looking to make in your community? Sure, you want to provide financial protection to people in your area. But so do your competitors.
What makes you different? What makes your agency special? This is your unique value proposition.
Next, consider what your target consumers want and need. What questions do they have, and how can you provide a solution? Focusing on individuals and audiences over keywords and products is critical here.
Then, think about how you can bridge your value proposition to your consumers’ needs. This is where the rubber meets the road in digital marketing.
Effective storytelling can be that bridge. Great marketers gather these consumer insights. Then they tie them to stories that resonate and help consumers in their moment of need.
You can do the same. Focus on delivering the right message to the right person at the right time.
(An insurance website and email marketing platform can work wonders here. Especially when they’re integrated with an agency management system.)
Follow up those targeted messages with great customer service. Then, encourage your clients to spread the word to people they know.
This is how my grandfather grew his practice. This is how many agents started their businesses started in the pre dot-com days. It still works. The only difference is it’s all done on digital channels today.
Don’t panic about the future. Look at the big picture and refine your digital marketing strategy to match. You’ll reap the benefits, regardless of which tactics get you those results.