Is SEO Dead?

Recently one of the members in an online group I am in asked a question;  "I was told not to worry about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) anymore.  Is that true?"

Well, I hope it wasn't someone doing SEO who said that.  If it was, then I would suggest an immediate career change for that person.

You can" google" "Is SEO dead" and get all kinds of blog posts on the subject, many of which are very well written.   But most of them don't say WHY or WHY NOT the author took that position.  Let me offer an analogy about why "SEO Is Not Dead"!

I'm in my 60's, but I do remember doing term papers in high school and college.  I' m not sure term papers are still part of any curriculum.  When I was forced to write a term paper on a topic, I went to the library and did a lot of research to find someone who was an authority on that topic.  Once I found 1, 2, 3, even more authorities then I read what they all had to say.  Then I wrote my paper based on the opinions the authorities offered, and gave it twist needed to address my specific topic.  

Google is a business.  Their mission is to serve the best web pages they can to the customers who are asking for them.  They want to serve results that are from authorities on the topic that was requested.  So the web pages who have the best content and are "authorities" on the search topic will be served.  What constitutes good content and an authority?  That is another lengthy subject in itself.  To keep it simple, it would be one who is expert as determined by both quality and quantity of information on the topic.  One who is credible  and recommended by others.  One who is experienced and verified through social proof.  Just think about it terms of how you would rate a new supplier, or a professional that you engage with.

In today's SEO world, that means:

  • quality content, and lots of it;
  • relevant and related backlinks;
  • optimized titles, descriptions, and h1, h2 tags;
  • social proof from social media engagement, citations, and positive reviews;

To provide more analogies, the title of your web page is analogous to the label on the outside of your physical file cabinet.  The h1, h2 tags are analogous to the labels on the folders within your file cabinet.  The descriptions are analogous to the elevator pitch you might give to someone at a face-to-face networking meeting.  Furthermore, the descriptions should serve to summarize clearly and accurately, the content in the file folder of each file.

People and businesses continually try to influence where they may be ranked by Google through black hat techniques like low quality content, spammy link farms, duplicate pages, and everything else under the sun.  Spammers have discussion after discussion about the number of algorithms Google uses, when the next algorithm update is, and how it will impact their rankings.  It is always a game of trying to be one up on Google.

Well, personally, I don't believe black hat techniques and games are worth the effort.  Why waste you time trying to outguess Google?  It is only a matter of time before Google makes changes to better serve their customers, or your spammy techniques are caught - resulting in a penalty. Do you want to rank well in Google?  Then understand what Google is looking for.  Write good content, write lots of content, engage with your customers and prospects, and build natural backlinks from related and relevant sites.  Understand a few fundamentals about html coding, and follow what Google wants.  It may take some time, but SEO will not be dead for your business.