At PageLadder we got our start with SEO which was nice and profitable right away. When we started the company back in November 2011, only two years ago, we would guarantee first page rankings or the client would not have to pay. This worked great for us for awhile. Then we started to struggle and it wasn’t entirely our fault but we saw a need for change.
SEO is Not a Silver Bullet
There were a couple parts about being an SEO company that just weren’t working for us if we were thinking long term. First, the elephant in the room, algorithm updates from Google. The second reason things were not really working is that our clients struggled to ‘close the loop’ with their marketing. Meaning we’d send them qualified traffic their site but they would fail on converting that traffic into leads and customers. SEO is not a silver bullet, we’d tell them this, but that still didn’t deliver the value they were looking for.
So why didn’t we just offer conversion optimization and marketing automation services to our clients at that point? Well let me tell you it’s not exactly easy to upsell someone on services you tell them they need when they are not getting a good ROI on what they’re currently paying you for. Not to sell us short, we provided some very impressive SEO results during that time for our clients, but we couldn’t go on acting like that was all there was to it.
The 2014 SEO Landscape
Flash forward to today, right now actually. Is SEO dead? I certainly do not think so. Shit, I’m still chasing competitive rankings for all our clients right now! The old way of doing SEO might be dying as the Google giant stomps around crushing private blog networks and link farms one after another. Can you feel the ground shake? I can but honestly I’m on the same team as Google and these mini earthquakes I truly believe leave behind a better landscape for the internet.
SEO is not dead but the old way of doing it is slowly slipping into the Mariana Trench and something else is emerging. Content marketing. Well, content marketing has actually always been a player in the game but the algorithm updates I mentioned above seem to be catering to it these days. I’ve seen that Google wants to see other pages on your site ranking and getting traffic besides the homepage for longer tail keywords. I’m not going to back up that statement with facts but you don’t have to believe me to keep reading.
The Stock Market of Online Marketing
Have I mentioned that I love Google Trends? Do you use it? You should. I play with it all the time like it’s the stock market of online marketing. And yes, I do plan on getting rich off it. The other night, after some time away from the tool, I started doing some Google trending and came across some very telling yet simple data.
Search data from last 3 years:
If you want to keep selling ‘Search Engine Optimization’ services after seeing that then have at it but I’m a little more inclined to jump on the HubSpot and Inbound Marketing train. In case you don’t know HubSpot is the tool and Inbound Marketing is the methodology. So what is Content Marketing? Content Marketing is how we do HubSpot and Inbound Marketing at PageLadder. You can read more about how that all ties together on the PageLadder Content Marketer’s Blueprint process page.
The Google Trends graph embedded above is really the highlight of this post. To me it paints a clear picture of where we should be headed and gives me confidence in the decisions we made months back to start the shift. As SEO alone was starting to wear down my pride for what I do, I have been re-inspired by a new force that I foresee remaining very relevant in the years ahead. Inbound marketing, HubSpot, and content marketing are three things that I feel very confident will continue to climb to the front marketing stage. They may seem complicated but really they are far more simple than SEO and it’s ‘unknowns’ that are dictated by an algorithm nobody really knows.
— Nick Sal (@NickSalinbound) November 13, 2013
We’ve been able to produce some amazing results for ourselves at PageLadder and our clients with the new direction we are headed. If you’d like to talk more about my agency’s transition from SEO to Inbound I’d be happy to talk with you just contact me or leave a comment below.