What is SEO? Is it Dead or Evolving?

Unlike many headlines stating that “SEO is Dead”, I disagree because I feel that SEO is evolving.

Searching for information on Google, search engine.

Search Engine is a program that collects and organises data all over the internet, at the same time allow users to find information on the internet. We can search for anything and everything on a search engine, and matching results will be made available.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of getting traffic flow from search results/engines. The higher the traffic, the better the company’s position. It is organic, once a website reaches the number one spot in the search results, the goal is achieved.

People claim that ‘SEO is Dead‘ because it is an easier term compared to expressing how it is evolving. With technology, traditional SEO is shifting towards higher quality content.

Have you searched for information yet not being able to find the answer you’re looking for? This is a common problem amongst everyone, creating a perception that SEO is ineffective, because of the amount of spams and irrelevant posts that appear in search results. These results do not bring real value to users. Keyword stuffing and low quality content will also appear.

When searching for a restaurant to dine at, do you use google, social media or take advice from friends? Personally I’d ask friends and read reviews made on social media because information gathered is quicker and more genuine, blog posts appearing on search engines tend to be sponsored posts. Therefore, people claim that SEO is dead, alternatives are appearing and people are going towards social media for a more real experience.

Using search engine to do online shopping

However, as a marketer, SEO is important and useful to keep track of web traffic. SEO also allows a high user intent, fast results, in-depth measurability analysis and also a greater brand awareness. Advertising on search engines are easier to implement, users will still search for information on search engines because there is a larger amount of data available. Marketers will be able to analyse the number of clicks to the websites to keep track. Consumer behaviour can be assessed based on the webpages visited, allowing companies to better understand the trend and current needs of their target market. Voice search from smart devices eg, google home, amazon echo will generate more web traffic when the user asks for information.

Google has also purged spams and low quality content, minimising keyword stuffing as well. To give users a better experience and information they need. If SEO is truly dead there will be no platform to find high quality information.

Internet Measuring Metrics

Internet measuring metrics are essential to measure and evaluate the success of marketing efforts online. There are a few ways to measure, I will be talking about my top 3 choices.

Firstly, Overall website traffic, the higher the website traffic, the more successful the campaign. Measuring overall website traffic will allow the marketer to analyse the campaigns that are more engaging and more popular. If website traffic is poor, it might be because of google algorithm penalty, broken links, poor content that does not appeal to the audience.

Secondly, New vs Returning users, the higher the number of returning visitors, means that the content is suitable for them and they enjoy reading it. New users will benefit organic traffic monitoring. This will create a sense of loyalty towards the website/brand.

Thirdly, Engagement Rate, this factor determines interaction between writer and users. It can be measured from the sum of the number of views, shares, likes, comments, upvotes, etc. generated by a content piece. This is essential because if engagement rate is low, consumers will not be returning and they will feel less connected to the brand. For example, in the cosmetics industry, reviews are very important. Reviews made by purchasers and makeup gurus on youtube, Instagram, blogs, allows potential users to analyse if the product is worth the hype and money. Existing users can comment on the product’s functionality on their skin and potential users would be able to make a decision after reading their honest reviews

Pepsi’s halftime show at the Super Bowl

Successful Campaigns
Pepsi’s campaign at the Super Bowl in 2017 garnered 555,675 interactions with the audience. It was really successful because after the event, especially with its guest singer Lady Gaga.

BTS as FIFA Spokesmen

Coca-Cola selected K-Pop group BTS as FIFA World Cup spokesmen in 2018, this garnered 1,005,475 conversations, it became the talk of the town. With the number of likes, shares and comments from this 2 campaigns, it was needless to say that the campaign was successful because of the data collected, after measuring internet metrics.

Failed Pepsi Campaign

Failed Campaign

The campaign had a low number of views, it had around the same number of likes and dislikes, viewers commented that the message of the campaign wasn’t clear so it was a waste of time. Pepsi had a successful campaign with Lady Gaga performing at the Super Bowl, they also had an advertisement that sparked controversy over protests, and these were measured through the interactions of users with their thoughts.

I feel that SEO is evolving to complement technology advances, internet measuring metrics help to determine if SEO is successful and this helps companies analyse their marketing efforts. Do you think SEO is dead or is it alive? Is measuring internet metrics useful? Let me know your thoughts below !

Thoughts on The Future of Marketing

Big Data Network

Big Data and Internet of Things are very important to companies in this digital age, it allows the company to connect with their consumers.

Big Data represents massive amount of data, these data are collected quickly, they also have to be of quality and updated in real-time.

Internet of Things allows everyday items to become smart objects, for example watches, fridge, cars, that connect internet to transmit data. When these smart objects are combined with information from other sources, it becomes Big Data.

Oak Fitting Room at Ralph Lauren

Big Data and Internet of Things has solved many problems, in fact they are necessary in companies who want to make a difference to people’s lives in this digital age. In luxury retail lines, data has to be collected to be uploaded to create an interactive online catalogue for customers’ easy surfing and improve customer satisfaction. For example, referring to the picture above, Ralph Lauren used Internet of Things and Big Data to store their product catalogues allowing consumers to visualise and choose from a wide variety, bringing interaction in a retail store to a higher level. It helps companies find out what their customer want, allowing them to create products to solve these problems and cater to customers’ needs. Marketers will then be able to better understand their target consumers based on their lifestyles and be able to spread news to them in a more engaging and efficient manner.

Service costs will also be lowered, customers will be more satisfied with the customer service because it allows the company to have a better engagement and interaction after analysing their customer profiles. Services such as deliveries will be more efficient with sensor monitoring (Internet of Things), allowing optimisation for driving routes reducing accidents etc. Marketers will be able to gather data quickly and spread news about new launches more effectively.

Smart Home Experience

From a consumer’s perspective, Big Data and Internet of Things, brings living to a whole new level. Because of technology, smart homes are made possible. Enhanced security system connected to the cameras around the homes, whereby in the case of break ins, the homeowner will receive a notification and the security system would alert the police at the same time. Imagine returning home after a long day, just giving simple commands, and the home system would do the rest, play music, turn on the TV, prepare the bath, work the microwave, etc. Isn’t it so convenient? I’d definitely want a home like this!

In healthcare, a patient’s waiting time will be reduced, accompanying guardians would also know the progress of how their loved ones are doing, eg. the updates on TVs with the queue numbers. Medicine can be delivered automatically to patients, ensuring they take medicine on time and lightens nurse’s workload. Their conditions can also be monitored and analysed through the sensors, in which will notify the doctors in the case of emergency when data collected falls below a certain level.

Although there are many benefits with Big Data and Internet of Things, security issues are unavoidable. Having confidential data stored on a database, also allows hackers to hack information. At the same time, viruses also be sent. There may be many smart items in the market with many separate functionalities, this can result in more inconvenience to a user, for example a smart watch and a smart phone, a smart phone can accomplish things that a smart watch is able to, is there really a need for a smart watch? Or is a smart phone sufficient? Are you a supporter for technology to change our way of living, or do you prefer traditional methods? Let me know your thoughts below!

Starbucks, a Step Into The Future

There are many types of mobile social media classification, with reference to the table above. With the advancement of technology, mobile has allowed applications to be more location-sensitive, therefore more people use space-timers application to advertise, for example dining areas or the location of consumer’s activities. People want to know information quicker as well, so they opt for quicker methods such as quick-timers and space-timers. Starbucks mobile application is an example of a quick-timer, where they update promotions and new launches on their social media platforms.

Starbucks heard their customers needs and they came up with mobile marketing techniques that engaged their coffee lovers. Starbucks has a strong customer base because it is located everywhere and this brings convenience to users, the 1-for-1 promotions makes it even harder to resist.

Mobile marketing statistics in 2018 showed that 90% of users who own smart phones use apps more than browsers. Therefore consumers are more open to mobile apps compared to mobile sites.

Starbucks came up with a ‘mobile order and pay’ service. Through the app, users would be able to pay for their drinks online. They can also make orders beforehand, for example maybe while still in the office, users can make their order first instead of waiting in the queue at the store.

The rewards system is also really attractive, the more you buy the more rewards you can redeem. Free refills and customisation is available too!

What is even better is the Starbucks app is synced with Spotify so the music played in store can be saved into your playlist. Students who study at Starbucks, good news for you!

Creating a good user experience for customers makes the business increase it’s brand position. When people talk about coffee naturally one would think of Starbucks and not Coffee Bean. This is because they keep coming up with new ways to bring more convenience to their customers and are moving forward with the use of better technology.

They even generate useful user-generated content, things that a user would want to know and not spam notifications. They follow the trend, nowadays users spend a lot of time on their mobile phones, so creating marketing techniques for mobiles was very effective. Users will buy more and this generates more sales for Starbucks.

Starbucks targets mainly 2 groups of people, the Victims and the Patrons. Victims are people who receive information and messages from Starbucks as the company is aware of them without permission because they are already members of the Starbucks community. Patrons willingly give their consent to Starbucks to contact them because they want updates and news of promotions.

The Starbucks mobile app falls under Quick-timers in the mobile social media applications classification. Where Starbucks would post news on mobile devices through their app, increasing immediacy and spread quicker at the same time become more user friendly.

Personally, I don’t fancy coffee but being part of the Starbucks loyalty program and their efficient marketing efforts. Whenever there is 1-for-1 promotions, I would go ahead and get it because the pricing makes Starbucks more affordable. Paying through the Starbucks app allows me to collect stars as well! Do you use the Starbucks app too?

What Went Viral in 2014?

During Summer 2014, a campaign the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Ice Bucket Challenge went viral and it was a really successful one.

To participate in the challenge, the participant would have to record a video of him/herself having a bucket of ice and water poured above the head, upload it on their social media and nominate a minimum of 3 others to do the same in 24 hours, otherwise they would have to have a forfeit by making a donation to the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association.

Bill Gates participated in the Challenge

The campaign went viral after popular celebrities started to upload videos of themselves and challenge more celebrities to upload their videos. Take a look at the video Bill Gates posted above. The ALS Challenge spread like wildfire across the internet after celebrities, Lady Gaga, Will Smith, Oprah Winfrey etc, uploaded a video of themselves doing the challenge on their social media accounts, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

It was also featured on a few shows to spread more awareness. Enticing more people to do it. For example, in the above video, Kim Kardashian did the challenge on The Ellen Degeneres show.

Isn’t it interesting how a campaign went viral? The team was really smart to come up with an Ice Bucket Challenge to raise funds and awareness, it is simple to do and it is fun because everyone’s home has ice and water.

It was really successful because ever since Summer 2014, this challenge has become a yearly event every Summer. By creating more awareness, people would donate, as shown in the picture above.

After the campaign was launched and popular figures did the challenge. It became the talk of the town, spreading through word of mouth. People started sharing it on the internet. The increase awareness allowed a huge increase in donation by 10 million dollars compared to the previous year.

Donald Trump doing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

This challenge became viral easily because it fulfilled all of the S.T.E.P.P.S framework.

People care about how they look to others so they participated in the challenge as a form of showing that they care, social currency and emotion. I feel that many celebrities participated to portray a better image of themselves and to encourage such practices in helping others.

It was also a trigger because everyone was talking about it, when someone mentions Ice Bucket, naturally at the top-of-mind, ALS would come to mind.

It had practical value, therefore it was shared so quickly to build more awareness about the illness.

Stories were created by sharing and making videos, that went public to garner more attention

This example uses all 3 types of characteristics to make this campaign go viral. Firstly, Seth Godin’s People Characteristics because the ALS challenge is targeting an interested audience. Secondly, as mentioned above, Jonah Berger’s Message Characteristics is used as well. Lastly Malcolm Gladwell’s Network Characteristics, celebrities learn the knowledge from the ALS association, social media connects celebrities to their fans and public to spread the message around. These 3 characteristics work hand in hand to make a campaign successful. Without an interested audience, having a meaningful message would not be as efficient, a network of people is required to make a message successful.

However, if I really choose 1 characteristics, it would be the Network Characteristics, in order for something to go viral, a large outreach of people is necessary. Celebrities and influential people are able to achieve this, their audience and fans will spread the message on social media, generating a greater awareness, because only influential figures are able to trend news quickly because of the network they possess.

It was a great campaign wasn’t it? Using a trigger with practical value was really smart because it would spread with a cause and people feel empathy towards it. What are your thoughts?

Smartphones, a Need

When someone mentions smartphone, what comes to your mind? Apple’s iPhone of course! Have you wondered why Apple has been so successful?

Apple Products made to bring Consumers more Convenience

Apple has constantly been creating new products to make the life of their consumers more efficient. Other brands do sell smartphones but Apple’s brand presence is far stronger although more expensive. They have a competitive edge over its competitors, by creating their own softwares and compatible devices specially made for their products, this is their business model.

Apple is very exclusive when it comes to their target market, the consumers that they want to appeal to. They make the best product for the best. They aim to target consumers who are young, high earners and are high achievers. The Millennials, because they spend a lot of time on the internet and social media as compared to other demographics.

Apple also became a product one would require to achieve a different social status, which made more people want Apple.

Consumers with Apple IPhones

Apple knows that consumers are becoming more exposed to technology. Therefore they have been creating the best user experience through vertically integrated models, building platforms for content on Apple devices and also expanding the network of retail stores.

When the user experience is great, consumers are willing to pay premium pricing for the products that will change their lives.

Apple uses Social Media Marketing uniquely to connect with their customers. They only release news of new products on Twitter and FaceBook, consumers will not be able to leave comments there as there are sub-teams that will address the problems. They are most active on Instagram whereby the posts are pictures taken with iPhones, inducing consumers to buy their products in order to take such great shots. YouTube videos are released to engage consumers with upcoming releases.

Apple’s loyal customers remain because of the experiential value that they provide in their services and product. They feel good about using the product and worth the money. They also selected the ‘recruit and empower’ marketing strategy, celebrities have a wide social media reach and the advertisement or news of products would spread quickly.

Take a look at the video they did to introduce the new iPhones, it is done with impacts to grab your attention. It definitely captured mine, did it catch yours?Are you an Apple user, if you aren’t one yet, did this video change your mind?

The Influence of Technology

In the 1980s, advertisements for brands were mostly done on paper for example magazines and newspapers.

Maybelline’s Eyeshadow Advertisement

Back in those days, all these advertisements were so appealing to us. In the 2000s technology became more advanced, more interactive and more engaging. These advertisements appeared more on social media sites and online media. Brands were able to engage with users online to understand their needs and innovate with more products that would sell in the market.

Now, technology became more advanced and people become more demanding, wanting more authentic content and products, this made marketers become more driven to come up with new ways to engage the audience. An example, Rihanna. She is a celebrity, who made use of media marketing so well to release her cosmetics line Fenty Beauty. I felt that she was a genius when she released news of her makeup line during New York Fashion Week. It was free marketing for her because to speak of her launch at such a big event, reporters and the media would do the advertising for her.

Beauty Gurus and Fans made YouTube tutorials about Fenty Beauty

Social media made advertising much simpler and engaging for consumers. Make up tutorials and reviews on YouTube allows people to feel more emotion and YouTuber’s honest feelings would spread either positive or negative feelings to their fans. Fans would then spread the news through word of mouth.

Fenty Beauty Instagram page

As shown in the above picture, this is Fenty Beauty’s Instagram page, Rihanna uses Instagram stories as highlights to introduce her products in a more visual and engaging way. Watching a short clip is more interactive than looking at a picture. In comparison with an advertisement before year 2000 discussed earlier, a reader would not be able to visualise how the product would look on a person. However, now all that is possible. She also made make up tutorial videos and wore her products to events, this way it increases her brand awareness, she is a true marketer.

Rihanna engaging her fans with Instagram

With the power of social media, Rihanna is able to communicate with her fans, to keep up with current trends as well as their needs. In fact she does make up tutorials with her make up line frequently, take a look at the video below!

Digital technology has definitely overtaken traditional ways. Will you be the next?