But SEO Lives…Let’s Hear It for the Rise of The Machines

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I opined that SEO was dead when Google pushed Google+ into everyone’s faces. But, of course, what really happened is that Google made organic links a little harder to find, added a little eye candy that might tear your eyes away from preciously obtained top 3 position.
But enter BloomReach. Coming out of stealth this week, they take a big data approach to the problem of relevancy. Over on TechCrunch, I started a bit of a flame war when I dared defend BloomReach’s approach. So let me opine a bit more:

  1. Most SEO consultants do NOT understand marketing. Nor do most SEO consultants truly understand what enterprise-level marketers are facing in terms of scale, complexity and competing marketing and IT priorities. (Although many SEO consultants are awesome and can think at the scale needed to help a major marketer. These are a rare breed.)
  2. If you are a large scale marketer (millions of pages, >$100mm in online sales, or whatever metric you need to define big), regardless of how talented your in-house SEO or SEO agency is, they are limited by the fact that they are human. This is where traditional SEO falls apart. If I am a marketer that sells widgets, I obviously want to be optimized for widgets. But what if I sell 5,000 kinds of widgets, in any of 300 different colors, and I sell them in 17 countries and targeted at 30 different industries. My keyword list has just expanded from the manageable (widgets) to the unmanageable (quick…gimme 10 keywords for blue widgets sold in Tanzania to tanzanite miners who like the color blue.) Moreover, if you manage a business that is this complex, the individual benefit of optimizing for the tanzanite miner is pretty small, compared with focusing on your head term. So obviously, your management team is going to have you focus on the head term – widgets. It makes you more money. It drives your brand into the eyeballs of the right potential group of customers. It is the right business decision. But what about the miners? We’ve left them unoptimized and our competitors will steal that market. Yeah…probably.
  3. How does a business justify optimizing for the tail? They don’t. How does a business optimize for search terms and language constructs it never thought of before? It can’t. Enter the machines.

Google is an algorithm that has arguably the world’s largest data-set from which to make choices. A human optimizer can’t keep up with all facets of the algorithm (the smart guys at Google don’t understand every aspect of the algorithm either). So, here comes BloomReach. They listen to what searches are happening and create relevant pages. They use an algorithm to meet an algorithm. Fighting fire with fire. They leverage what you already have to create what you need. This is the creation of a fluid and organic web presence that anticipates what your customers are going to search for before you can possibly create content to match. Smart. Smart. Smart.
This does not deprecate any of the work needed to create a quality website, or great content, or any of those other things that marketers do. BloomReach makes your website able to be where the puck is going….isn’t that what The Great One said was the difference between good and great? BloomReach doesn’t kill SEO. Algorithmic approaches to search visibility don’t kill SEO – they makes it better, more scaleable and seamless.
The Rise of the Machines is a good thing.

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