SEO isn’t what it used to be

SEO whiteboardby Tony Fannin, CEO/Partner, BE Branded  |

Before, in the good ol’ days (about 6-7 years ago), SEO was purely a digital strategy. It was all about link-backs, key words, mark up, snippets, etc. The holy grail was to get onto, and stay, on the first page of search engines such as Google and Yahoo. Lately, I have seen SEO companies start to change their tune. Many of them now see SEO, not as an online strategy only, but as part of an integrated marketing approach. They now include such things as branding, design, PR and traditional advertising. SEO companies are starting to redefine themselves and retool in order to stay relevant in search. They are trying to acquire the skill sets of these “traditional” marketing tactics. Why is that? Here is a link that was provided to me by a colleague who is very knowledgable and works in the SEO world: Why we can’t just be SEOs anymore

The overview:

• SEO is bigger than SEO – True SEO is bigger than what many normally think of when they talk about SEO. Now search engines are looking for “brand signals”, social graph signals, user/usage data and even offline data potential.

• SEO is about “all things marketing” – Integrated marketing is what gives brands the edge in SEO. Now SEO must address defining the brand, culture, mission, community, email, social, product, etc.

• SEO  must be redefined – It used to be considered spam, manipulation, unethical and rule breaking. There are companies who are dropping the SEO in their names to become a more holistic marketing company who happens to have expertise in the digital arena.

• True SEO touches all marketing activities – SEO must be baked into design, advertising, branding, PR, email, development/engineering, social.

As I have always believed, integrated marketing is more effective, in the long run, than any single tactic used independently. Many of these “former” SEO companies are now calling themselves In Bound Marketing or Digital Marketing firms. Great branding is about everything you do from the warehouse employee to the CEO and from every piece of communication from the newsletter to major advertising campaigns to your online social graph.

So, if you are branding, advertising, emailing, building your social graph and have a robust PR program, along with your “traditional SEO”, you are now a digital marketer. If not, then you’re just a plain old SEO guy or gal, stuck in the “old ways.”


About Be Branded

Tony Fannin is of President of BE Branded, an integrated marketing firm who helps clients BE Somebody to their customers. If you aren't somebody, then you are commodity.


  1. Design is now a must-have in silicon valley | Be Branded - July 15, 2013

    […] advertising, promotions and many others. There is a great whiteboard that charts out this point (for more on this, see my blog post: SEO isn’t what it used to be). So how does design effect SEO? Your “brand dressing” as Apple calls it, must evoke everything […]

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