It is a running debate these days because many feel that SEO is no longer strong enough as a standalone service. We are SEO Traffic Lab and while we could never discount the effectiveness of a strong SEO strategy we have also embraced content marketing, social media and serious outreach orientated digital marketing to gel the business to current market trends. The full digital marketing package these days has to embrace many mediums, be adaptable to trends that Google is capable of altering the course of in seconds, and appeal to a potential audience of millions, even billions, of social media subscribers.

The question remains though: what do businesses think SEO is all about? To face this head on we did the rounds at the Autumn Fair 2014 held at Birmingham NEC. We asked each business three questions:

  1. What does SEO mean to you?

  2. What are/is your biggest marketing strength(s)?

  3. What is the biggest marketing challenge you face?

And here is what we found out…

To most SEO means a service that gets you to number one on search engines. Not everyone actually understands the term and those that do feel that it is all about good and bad rankings, dependent on how Google views your site.

The best answer for ‘what does SEO mean to you?’ was:

‘So you mean what is SEO now – I don’t do search engine optimisation to be honest. I refine my target audience and go after them – the key is engagement’ Mike Turner, Hair2Wow.

I also particularly liked the response:

‘A bit like YMCA but different?’ I am of course sworn to secrecy over who said it.

The second question was less worrisome to the businesses we approached. It felt as though by asking them what SEO was we were trying to catch them out. Similar phrases were banded around like ‘behind-the-scenes’ and ‘is it rankings on Google?’

When asked what are/is your biggest marketing strength the answers were more free flowing:

‘Email newsletters direct to clients – building a strong customer base’ Nicky Haynes, Tyrrell Katz Ltd.

‘100% Social’ Mike Turner, Hair2Wow.

‘Website’ Rukhsana, Jewellery London

‘Instagram’ Fahad Lashari, Sepals London

‘Facebook and email distribution’ Rupert Samuel, Italian Bag Company

‘Creativity, our new website will be going live soon and that showcases what we are all about…watch this space,’ Hanna Latham and Hanna Breckons, Besp-oak Furniture

And finally what are the biggest marketing challenges faced by businesses? Here are the key responses in order of their popularity:

  • Building and regularly updating an ecommerce site
  • Getting those face to face meetings that matter most
  • Reaching the right clients who are of a niche audience
  • Keeping current
  • Maintaining quality content that keeps our audience engaged
  • Not spending big money to compete with giants in the same industry niche

We learnt a lot from our survey and we met some great people who are in many ways acutely aware of what they need to do to stay current and be counted on the digital landscape. There were two comments made that resonated for us the most:

‘The challenge is always keeping up with trends. Engaging with a community of likeminded individuals and sharing updates and knowledge on a regular basis is how I keep up. People feed me and I feed them’ Mike Turner, Hair2Wow (@michaelturner)

That is a top insight into how you can create a stronger digital presence. You only need to check out Mike’s Klout score to know he means business in the social arena. Building networks is how you can sustain your outreach and stay on top of constantly transitioning trends.

And the second quote:

‘These days it is very much about quality of content because that is what gets people talking and engaging with your brand and ultimately your product’ Nicky Haynes, Tyrrell Katz Ltd.

We could not have put it better ourselves. SEO is changing but we are changing with it and some of the takeaways so far from the #AutumnFair2014 remain the same from previous years.

  1. If you are in the retail sector then a digital presence is a must whether that is an ecommerce site or a well-honed social media campaign.
  2. Social Media – In the words of PrezzyBox’s Zak Edwards- ‘Just do it’

And here are some of the fab businesses that took the time to be part of our short survey:

Nicky Haynes, Tyrrell Katz Ltd: www.tyrrellkatz.co.uk

photo (11)

Mike Turner, Hair2Wow: @Hair2Wow @michaelturner

photo (12)

Fahad Lashari, Sepals London: www.sepalslondon.com

photo (9)

Team Hanna, Besp-oak Furniture (MD Steve Mosley): www.besp-oakfurniture.co.uk

photo (8)

Rukhsana, Designs to Impress: www.rukhsanajewellery.com

photo (13)

Rupert Samuel, Italian Bag Company: www.italianbagcompany.co.uk

photo (14)

Peter Wrobel, Thinkgadgets Limited: www.thinkgadgets.co.uk

photo (10)

 

Our huge thanks to all who took part – we hope you have a great final day of the #Autumn Fair 2014