I’m (Less) Focused on SEO in 2020: The Case for a Holistic Marketing Approach
I'll finally admit it...I'm less focused on SEO in 2020.
About a year ago, I exited agency life and set up my own business.
I had an LLC. I had a brand with a complicated, hard-to-spell URL (who knew finding a business name was so difficult?).
But I also had a stack of keyword data—a roadmap for directing my content calendar and optimizing my articles for Google. It was the fodder I needed to finally implement search engine optimization (SEO) for myself.
Last year, reality met the ideals of an SEO-trained copywriter—and my spreadsheet of keywords sits in a (figuratively) dusty corner of Google Drive. I got as far as creating a few boring, SEO-driven articles. (And since I'm still committed to optimizing my content, I'll internally link to them here and here.)
My keyword data is useful, and I might employ that research in the future. However, I entered 2019 with a myopic understanding of marketing and placed far too much importance on SEO. Today, my marketing perspective has become more holistic.
I’m less focused on SEO in 2020. Here are four reasons why I’d encourage fellow business owners and marketers to reevaluate their approach, too.
1. When it comes to SEO in 2020, we need to be aware of Google's self-interest.
Earlier in 2019, I ran across an article with this headline: “How Much of Google’s Search Traffic is Left for Anyone But Themselves?”
Rand Fishkin reports on data from Jumpshot and writes that Google “[s]olved 48.96% of those searches without a click” and only “[d]irected a click to non-Alphabet-owned websites (aka, the rest of the web) after 45.03% queries.”
No, Fishkin isn’t decrying the usefulness of SEO. In the article, he states unequivocally, “SEO is far from dead.”
But the stats are sobering. We need to broaden our horizons so we don’t place all of our marketing eggs in any one basket—SEO included.
2. To successfully execute SEO in 2020, you'll need significant resources and effort.
SEO isn’t a get-ranked-quick scheme.
It requires immense effort: creating a strategy, optimizing your site, creating link-building campaigns, and more. Many companies won’t have the time or resources to pull every lever for SEO in 2020.
I can’t credit myself with originality on this insight (as I’m pretty sure I’ve heard it before). However, it bears repeating: The power of SEO falls to companies with deep pockets.
Let me caveat this. I’m not saying that a small business can’t implement SEO tactics in 2020. In fact, I plan to share an SEO hack that I’ve found helpful in an upcoming newsletter. But—to use my business as an example—Comprehension Content, L.L.C., doesn’t have the resources to benefit from SEO as IBM does. It’s a simple fact.
As a marketer, I know that the rewards of SEO can be difficult to obtain. As a content writer, I can only accomplish so much. To help my clients, I need to follow SEO best practices. But I also need to identify other marketing opportunities, which leads me to my third point…
3. Sometimes, it’s better to focus on the low-hanging fruit.
It’s a mistake to focus on the hard-to-reach fruit of marketing while ignoring the value of the low-hanging fruit.
There’s value in marketing tactics that yield more immediate results. And that doesn’t mean ignoring SEO or compromising SEO best practices.
It’s important to target your blog around keywords, but let’s also leverage networking events. If your site is slow, that is a big SEO problem, but let’s not forget to harness the power of email marketing as well.
4. In 2020, SEO is popular. My guess is most are late to the party.
SEO has been around for a while. By the time I received SEO training, I was practically late to the party. My experience is like that of a naive investor who eagerly buys over-priced stocks...when the pros had bought their shares 10 years earlier.
What’s next in marketing? I’ve been told that it is video, but I can’t make a prediction—at least not now.
Here’s the bottom line…
I’m glad that I know how to target content for search queries, and I love using Moz’s keyword explorer. But 2019 has broadened my marketing horizons in a way that’s beneficial for my clients.
Want to discuss your marketing efforts with me? You can send me a message here.