SEO and Inbound Marketing Trends

   by David Brown
Inbound marketing consultant
Logion Web Design

What are the news and public knowledge trends of the terms SEO and Inbound Marketing?

As SEO consultants, our job is to know which methods, techniques, and messages from Google (and Bing) are needed to produce the best visibility and traffic to our client's web site, blogs, Facebook pages, local listings, and other internet sites that are sources of business.

The topics on SEO include some of the methods, tools, and strategies that are used for improving web traffic including actual guidelines that Google has provided that sometimes need to be translated and interpreted into a usable action list. Others topics related to social media such as  Facebook marketing (SMO - social media marketing), also directly and indirectly contribute to SEO depending on the context.

SEO, search engine optimization, specifically for web sites,  is a term that is getting watered down by the minute. However, now that the term is becoming more widely known, and searched for as a major keyword, we will see it continuing to trend in public knowledge. The graph below from Google Trends shows that the term SEO in news headlines has plateaued since 2011 after having a strong increase from 2005 to 2010. This does not mean that SEO will not be recognized as an important internet marketing term. It does show that it is not appearing in headlines as much, but has potential to have unexpected spikes due to a new program or Google announcement that affects SEO. As with many trends, just as the term SEO is becoming more widely known by the general public, it is appearing less in news articles.What term is gaining in popularity with news releases and reporting?

The term that more clearly describes the process of total internet marketing is inbound marketing. Originally coined by Brian Halligan of Hubspot and included in a title of his book, Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs, inbound marketing is customer driven, where content that is engaging causes the customer to want to visit a web page or be curious about the product or service to the point where the motivation threshold is crossed and action is taken. Social media such as Facebook is a prime example. People choose to become a fan and like a business page for various reasons, all relating to the content on the page or some news that is posted, shared and found. Authority and popularity are based not only on the company and products, but on what others like about that company, and share with their friends.

The Google trend for the term inbound marketing shown in the chart below indicates a strong and steady increase as the term is being used more frequently in news headlines than SEO.    

As Google continues to integrate social signals into their algorithms and Google Plus 1 is becoming more popular with SEO consultants, search engine rankings are still important. However, other factors such as Google Places, social media, news releases and blogs have been getting a stronger focus than just SEO by itself.

That is why a more generalized term, such as inbound marketing, is a better catch-all term that includes both methods and strategies of SEO and SMO. It has it's own abbreviation that is not really being used yet - IM. Will IM become the new buzzword replacing SEO? Trends may indicate a possible yes, but it would be down the road a bit. With all of the spam emails going out with SEO in the subject line, it might be time for professional SEO consultants to promote a different reference term, with or without an abbreviation.

Update: Thank you Rand Fishkin from SEOMOZ for this video that addresses this change:

Likes, Tweets and SEO is written and published by David Brown, CEO of Logion Web Design
Inbound marketing and web services

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