Over the past five years, search engine optimization has gone through a pretty extreme growth spurt – so much so that I think it’s worth reevaluating what it means to “do” SEO and its expected results.

In a previous blog, we discussed this evolution of SEO and its new relationship between companies, search engines, and the end user. What I would like to discuss further, however, is what search engine optimization looks like now, and what this means for the future online marketing.

The Myth

SEO IS DEAD! Just kidding, it isn’t. You can put your flowers and tissues away. It has, however, evolved at an amazing rate to the point of being almost unrecognizable.

I imagine the transformation of SEO to be a lot like a caterpillar. If a child witnesses the transformation from caterpillar to cocoon, it might be a little jarring, if not devastating, to see. What this child doesn’t know is that this is the beginning stages of something even better.

We are at this point in SEO. Search engines have consistently challenged SEO to be as organic as possible – this means more time, more effort, and better engagement with current and potential customers. It is is no longer a simple strategy that you could throw money at and hope to see rankings increase – it is much more complex now (and you have to be a real “people person”.) Office Space - People Person

The days of paying cheap writers to churn out low-quality content or buying backlinks from as many sites as possible is over – that part of SEO could be considered dead. This should be more of a celebration than a mourning, though, because the good, honest aspects of SEO still exist…and it is only getting better.

The Transformation

“SEO” is currently used as an all encompassing phrase for online marketing, when really, it is just one piece to a much larger puzzle.

Keyword research, audience analysis, competitor evaluations – all of these are crucial factors to SEO and help you to be intentional with who you target and why. It then becomes the question of how this information is put to use that is little more difficult to define.

In most instances, SEO cannot be successful without frequent and consistent content development, social media, blogger outreach, reputation management, graphic design, online advertising, and so on. Some may say that this is all incorporated under the SEO umbrella. I believe that these are separate, stand alone tactics that are in a close partnership with SEO.

With this in mind, could “SEO” just be the process of ongoing research and analysis that sets the foundation for making deliberate, educated and purposeful decisions about your online presence?

While some may still call this blended approach “Search Engine Optimization,” what they are truly implementing is more of a holistic online marketing strategy with the end goal of increasing online visibility among your target audience. So what should this “larger strategy of numerous tactics to achieve the same end goal” be called?

The Result

We were so excited about this new perspective on “SEO” that we made up our own acronym (everyone else is doing it, why can’t we?)

DRO: Digital Reach Optimization

Transformation: SEO is not deadThe strategic process of building and implementing a marketing campaign that optimizes all customer-facing assets online with the purpose of increasing brand awareness and the visibility / accessibility of a company in an online setting and improving user experience to increase online engagement and conversions defined by the business goals and objectives.

A mouthful, right? What this means is that all decisions made in a DRO campaign are made on the basis of thoughtful brand, industry, and competitor research and analysis. A DRO campaign can encompass social media, online reputation management, website engagement analysis, content creation and optimization, inbound marketing, on- and off-line customer outreach and engagement, SEO, and paid advertising.

So SEO is always DRO, but DRO is not always SEO. Got it?

Digital Reach Optimization puts more emphasis on the end user by building relationships online to accomplish real business goals. This is the new essence of digital marketing and much more important than the means by which to rank in a search engine.

Learn more about Digital Reach Optimization with Garlic Media Group.


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