It would appear Aaron Wall was right back in 2008 when he first started pointing out how Google was creating the ultimate conflict of interest by charging businesses for traffic and then becoming an affiliate themselves putting them in direct competition with the people they were charging.
Wall Street is abuzz today with rumors flying that Google is about to launch their own e-commerce network with the intent of unseating Amazon from its throne as King of online shopping. The difference is Amazon does not control over 65% of searches on a global scale.
So, the value of traditional SEO takes another punch in the kisser as Google now has personalization, (pretty much eliminating one of the milestones used to gauge the effectiveness of an SEO campaign for most of the 90's and 2000's), forced local results, (which we can all pretty much live with), place pages and maps above the fold, (who but an SEO gives a damn about "ORGANIC"???), Blended results intermingled with "organic", (actually there is really no such a thing anymore. there are only results shaded a virtually invisible shade of pink and everything else), the added relevancy points for drinking the Google plus kool-aid and now the ultimate invisible screw stick, Google as their own destination for transactional searches !
So now what??
Social media marketing may be the web marketers best survival tool going forward. I realize this implies a paradigm shift in the mindset of professional SEO's and that is scary. It's easy to grasp the concept of ceasing interaction with spiders and starting to learn to interact with humans, but after close to 20 years of traditional SEO being mostly about tech, the actual shift for some will be about as much fun as a funeral on a rainy day.
I'm sure there won't be anything to give a marketer a break. In fact, you can count on competing ads being shoved into the faces of the very humans you've gotten to talk about you and/or your product. With the focus on showing more relevant ads to more people who have emailed, searched, texted or talked about a possible purchase, it's very likely Face Book, Google, Amazon etc, will be trying to use their superior technical resources to gain an unfair advantage and your prospect in mid pitch.
That may sound a little too grounded in reality for you but consider the fact that this may still be better than never even getting a conversation started in the first place because your prospect has been stolen, (to enhance the user's experience course), from the moment they start their trip to the virtual store.
If you are intimidated by the thought of having to actually engage humans in a meaningful conversation, well I'm afraid getting over it or outsourcing social media to someone who is not intimidated by the thought may be your only real solution. I mean really, what are our options going to be when we have to compete with Google on Google with PPC, blended, personalized, place pages, checkout AND organic???
Maybe it's just me, but it looks a little like the cards are stacked in favor of the house!
Bob Massa, CEO Techndu Internet Services, Pvt Ltd
Proud Parent of Blikini - the Social Media SEO Management Machine
Social Media SEO, Marketing, Metrics and Management