Next up today at FutureComms15 is a panel debate titled 'The death of SEO & the rise of the brand story'. It's chaired by Neville Hobson with Alex Myers, Gem Griff, Max Tatton-Brown, Carlos Menezes and Lukasz Zelezny. Neville is starting by defining what we mean by SEO today according to Wikipedia and has asked the panel whether they feel this description is fit for purpose today.
The main feeling is that SEO was previously about technology and technical expertise in order to manipulate google page rank. Now it is predominately about people and ideas for how to create content to drive people to websites.
Critically it's about content that engages people authentically rather than trying to game a system.
SEO remains about achieving the relevant ranking for search terms and most simply it can be done by making a brand's content more visible and relevant, and ensuring it has more authority than that of competitors.
Carlos is saying that comm's practitioners should have a handle on the technology that is needed to maximise SEO, especially now it is much simpler to use than it ever has been. Gem agrees - consultants need to know how things work in order to advise clients and employers appropriately, even if they don't actually implement the work themselves but bring in the relevant expertise.
Alex reports that today the key to SEO is making content magnetic so people share the content for you (whereas before you would only have used digital tools to spread the content far and wide yourself). The challenge is how to ensure the backlink is included when it is shared to secure the value.
Max's view is that the rise of Apple and other search platforms is going to make life interesting because previously search was solely linked to Google. The quality of a brand's content will need to be extremely high if it is to appear in ranking and app's.
This is why it is vital people who understand how to engage with their audiences and can generate what they want are involved with the SEO and search process - and therefore why the SEO role sits naturally with the PR profession.