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You might think, with all the talk of social media, real-time, and video/viral marketing, that SEO is not as important as it used to be. Don’t be fooled. It’s still as important as ever and, if anything, is more important than it ever was.

There are two things more than anything else that influence the importance of SEO – increased competition and search engine policies.

Regarding competition, there’s not a lot you can do other than try to out-optimize your competition. That requires some competitive intelligence, but it also requires some aggressive search engine marketing and keyword research. You need to know what people are searching for and how you can meet the demand for information better than the other guys. That’s a bit of a no-brainer.

The tough one is search engine policies. They change, and they can change drastically. Sometimes without much notice. But they rarely change in ways that are unforeseen and illogical.

For instance, in the past couple of years we’ve seen the search engines go from offering 10 blue links of organic results to offering a handful of organic links along with images, video results, and listings from other verticals. Savvy web marketers should have seen that coming. The rise of the verticals almost ensured that would happen. And people demanding better search results all around was a huge factor as well. Plus, it just makes sense. People searching for information on a given topic may not necessarily be looking for a website – they could be looking for a video or an image.

So, search engines change. And that means SEO can sometimes change. But, again, it rarely changes in ways that can’t be unforeseen or that are totally illogical. Just because your friends are going social doesn’t mean that SEO isn’t still necessary. It is – now more than ever.

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