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SEO is dead: long live content marketing?

SEO is dead: long live content marketing?

Very recently, search marketing firm SEOmoz decided to get rid of the SEO in front of its name and call itself Moz. This was a very interesting move from a firm well known for providing useful SEO software tools and information for nearly a decade.

It was a sure sign that firms were moving away from focusing on the technical aspects of SEO and towards a more holistic approach through search marketing. The main trigger for this was Google: the Penguin and Panda algorithm updates of the last couple of years meant that sites with high-quality content are the ones that reach the top of search results.

It penalised many sites with lower-quality content, causing people who focused on black hat tricks, like stuffing keywords in content and buying links, to panic. But it was great for content creators like me, who think more about creating interesting digital content than using technical tricks to con search engines.

For digital marketing, it has put the focus more firmly on quality content. Instead of requiring experts and specialists in the technical aspects of search, businesses are finding they need to go much deeper. To do well in search marketing, they must employ people with the creativity and skill to understand what information people like to look for online, either creating or finding ways of providing it.

This doesn't spell the end for SEO – far from it. It means that the traditional characteristics of good SEO, such as keywords and site navigation, need to be married to the characteristics of good content – telling a story and providing visitors with the information they’re looking for. Also, the influence of social is becoming more pronounced:social media is a way many people find content.

The good thing is that this isn't a trend that is likely to change. However, it does mean SEO agencies, content providers and social media firms need to rebrand somewhat. The way Google is moving, it's a wise time to start thinking about integrating these services. Digital marketers also need to get a firm handle on what's happening, if they haven't done so already.