digital marketing and SEOIn the past week, digital marketers in the know have noticed a number of indications pointing to a Google ranking algorithm update: “the ongoing WebmasterWorld thread has seen an uptick in chatter around ranking and traffic changes from Google,” wrote Search Engine Roundtable’s Barry Schwartz on Tuesday. “Plus, many of the tracking tools … are showing signs of a Google update.”

Algorithm updates are a frequent cause for concern in SEO circles, as is a changing search engine environment that places increasing emphasis on paid and local results. Together, these issues present SEOs with a dilemma, summed up here by Search Engine Land’s Julian Connors: “In today’s search landscape, SEOs and digital marketing specialists have to consider whether it’s worth the amount of time and resources it takes to achieve premier rankings, considering the click-through rates associated with organic rankings that are positioned under PLAs, local results and other forms of content.”

While grabbing a top organic ranking position was once a uniquely effective means of connecting with your audience, the rise of social media networks, local search results, paid search advertising, email marketing, and other digital techniques – not to mention a slew of more traditional marketing options – means that brands no longer have to rely solely on SEO. And they shouldn’t: digital marketing has grown from a collection of unique practices into a holistic strategy that should be implemented in tandem with digital marketing approaches.

But while SEO is no longer the only choice for brands to gain attention online, it remains a critical element in any effective digital strategy.

“Despite diminished visibility and CTR within particular types of search listings,” writes Connors, “organic rankings remain one of the most powerful entrances for brands to connect with new customers.”