Year after year we hear the common cry that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is dead or SEO is dying. And year after year those cries turn out to be wrong. Below is an example of a concern from a LinkedIn discussion last week which is all too common across the web.
In 2012 Google, the largest of the search engines, made some big changes in their ability to detect bad content and unnatural links to a site. If you classify publishing garbage content and building unnatural links as “SEO” then certainly SEO may be dead. But if you take a good hard look at what SEO truly is, then you have to admit there is a large future in truly optimizing content for users and search.
How SEO Has Already Died
1. SEO as a solo form of web marketing died years ago. It is no longer possible to take a site with no form of content publishing and no visibility on the web and make that site rank for competitive terms for any extended period of time. You can still temporarily trick the search engines by purchasing authority domains and redirecting them to your site but these tricks don’t last. If you have a site without great content, there is no SEO that can gain long-term results for you without first putting into place a content strategy.
Unfortunately many marketers still regard SEO as a one time tweak to their site they can pay for and walk away with rankings. Those who buy this type of service cry out the next year that SEO is dead and a scam because what they bought wasn’t truly SEO. What they bought was what they wanted to buy and that is a quick fix — which SEO generally is not. If true SEO was that easy, everyone would be ranking #1.
2. SEO as unnatural keyword stuffing is dead. You probably remember the days of reading articles on the web when completely unnatural link anchor text would appear in an article like this botox Houston and as you continue to read the article you continue to be interrupted by this obviously unnatural text botox Houston probably thinking it was a mistake the web designer made. Unfortunately these methods still work but the good news is they are no longer necessary. Google has become very good at identifying properly formatted content and we no longer need to be as explicit in our keyword targeting efforts. This is a big win for the users.
Why True SEO Will Never Die
- Properly executed SEO makes the life of a search engine easier. Search engines crave sites with properly marked up content, well structured content, thought put into user experience, and a purpose for being. The search engines will never stop rewarding sites that make their job easier.
- The search engines need organic results to keep visitors coming back. The moment that Google only shows paid ads in the search results is the moment they begin losing users. They walk a fine line between expanding the paid ads real estate and shrinking the organic results.
Why There is a Big Future for SEO
In 2011 Google served up 4.7 billion searches per day. And a lot has changed since 2011. The most notable change is the explosion of mobile devices putting Google search only inches away from your hand all day long. I would be shocked if there weren’t 6 billion searches per day in 2012 and 8 or 9 billion searches per day in 2014. The fact is that people rely on search engines to find information, products and services. And the search engines will always need to have an algorithm in place to determine which sites to show higher than other sites in the results. Having insight into what the algorithms like to see for higher rankings, will always provide high value to any business wanting exposure online.
With that said, there is no future for SEO without content and without a strategy for gaining real exposure from real people online.