• http://localreachlabs.com/ Russell Hayes

    Effective SEO for most small local businesses means more sales, more customers so the important aspect most often overlooked in my opinion is landing page and conversion optimization. Ranking high means nothing if you aren’t helping your clients convert visitor into real money.

  • http://www.rankontoponline.com/ Troy Curfman

    This is a great article. I have been telling companies some of this stuff for over a year now. it’s great to see your depth and vision as it is headed in certain directions and your knowledge on the path its taking was great to see. Thanks for a great write up.

  • Emily Hunter

    it was really just a matter of time before Google took its toys and went home, begging you to follow them. As a businesswoman, I can see it – they’re almost like those who offer you a free sample, get you hooked, and then take it away. The change that i was most affected by was the removal of the Adwords tool – that was the single most effective tool in my arsenal, and, quite honestly, the Ad planner has turned out to be.. shall we say, less than stellar from my perspective.

  • Molly Richardson

    I agree ROI is one of the most important factors. The problem I see here though, is that there are many steps along the “sales” chain that aren’t affected by how the search engines rank the page. Website design, customer service, store and product quality are all factors that attribute to the success or failure of a marketing campaign. Also a lot of times Social Media is included. the good thing about page ranking was that it was on its own. As an SEO manager, I could prove what I was doing was helping their site reach a higher target audience. Now, millions of people could be flocking to the site and nothing is purchased because the store is non efficient, not user friendly or even broken. I know other data from analytics will help, but it’s just not the same.

  • janetdriscollmiller

    Thanks, Troy!

  • Geoffrey Setiawan

    Great job on this Janet. This really sums up what has been happening in the world of SEO in the recent months. I have 1 question about your comment on SEO being tied to ROI. I do agree that ROI is really the bottom line for SEO, however, if you ask yourself how can I improve that ROI, you always go back to keyword rankings and performance as the primary means to do this.

    Am I missing something here?

  • http://www.zimbio.com/TV+Shows/articles/szV9C4Vq3ge/Watch+Hannibal+Tale+Crime+Drama Puneet Sharma

    Great Article!! According to you SEO is dead now??? What do you think??

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    Does anyone have another analytics tool that they find to be pretty accurate and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg? I’ll event settle for good enough at this point, especially if Ian is right and the Webmaster Data is pretty much pointless.

  • Conor Treacy

    That’s one of the things that I’m struggling with here on my end. It could be any mix of things that are failing the conversion – the product, the price, the pictures, the position on the page.. but if my job is to drive the traffic, it’s someone elses to execute the sale. Figuring out what to include in the new reports has become a challenge for our team.

  • Paul Johnson

    Dead, no. Dying, of sorts. I think that SEO is emerging as a sort of chameleon field. By this I mean that as an SEO manager, we are forced to look at all the factors that influence the website we are trying to promote. With social media engagement now having a direct effect on rankings, we are forced to take the websites design, usability, content, audience, and many other factors into consideration when we plan and implement our SEO. With every update, the search engines are getting closer and closer to removing the spam sites from the rankings. Thanks to social media, it is now more important than ever to have a great website that people will share with their friends, or at least won’t be embarrassed to like on Facebook or another social media platform. I for one am very happy that this day has come because it should be people, not machines, that judge the relevance of a website. I think that SEO should be called Internet Marketing because the two are quickly becoming one and the same. If one piece of the puzzle fails, the whole thing does. As Janet states, what good is ranking high if you can’t convert the visitor into a lead or sale? I think that social media management, website design and SEO absolutely go hand in hand, and anyone who say’s differently is naive.

  • Dan Patrick

    I’m trying to change the expectations of our clients, but it seems that rankings are the SEO metric a lot of clients can immediately grasp. I’m trying to shift the metric from rankings to incoming calls as that metric is the true ROI. But even that’s a hard road when my clients aren’t seeing any additional sales and when they do, they may blame the sale on any of the other advertising channels. Besides, sales are hard to come by when you’re dealing with an item that’s $50K+.

    Rankings were simple to explain because it was kind of a game to a lot of our clients. They enjoyed beating their competitors whereas calls and real-world sales can depend on a number of other factors including seasonality, the quality of their sales staff, whether the item has a competitive price, etc. It’s a hard road, but I’ll keep fighting the good fight.