The other day someone said to me “isn’t SEO dead?” I replied “no, it is more important than ever.” I realize there are probably already 1,000 articles titled this, but I needed something on my own site that answers the question. This article is my response to the question of SEO being dead or not.
Is SEO dead?
First of all, there are many different definitions of SEO. There are literally tens of thousands of complete morons running around out there claiming that they are SEO experts. The icing on the cake is their definition of SEO.
SEO is dead if: If you were defining SEO as a tactic to trick or game the search engine via poorly written press releases, directory submissions, guest posting on completely unrelated blogs or blogs full of spam, obtaining massive amounts of low quality links, spamming, blog commenting, or otherwise being a nuisance and a menace to society, putting out terrible content and stuffing it full of keywords or underlining certain phrases or some other BS tactic, then yes, SEO is dead. Thankfully, the algorithms these days have devalued most of this kind of garbage and are trying to eliminate it from showing up in search engine results pages. I salute them for keeping this kind of trash out of my search results (most of the time). Maybe in 10 – 15 years lunatics will finally stop using these tactics after reality sinks in but I’m not holding my breath.
SEO is alive and well if: If you are building out high quality content, answering all of your client’s questions in your blog posts and creating a great user experience. It never ceases to amaze me just how much content can help a website. This was my personal strategy well over a decade ago and to this day it is more powerful than ever. If you’re still not sure why you need content please see Why your website needs content.
Are links still valuable?
Is salad good for you? It can be, unless it is a potato salad that is filled with sour cream, butter, and bacon. There are many types of salad; some are healthy, some are not. Links, and even link building, can be good. They can be great! As of July 2014 links are probably still the #1 or #2 ranking factor for most search engines. They are very important to Google. This said, not all links are created equally. If you have a huge portfolio of links from low quality sites pointing at your target site over and over with the exact same keyword, it doesn’t look natural and you will likely soon be penalized. If you purchase links from a known link seller, you will be penalized. If you submit your site to a million web directories, the links are worthless and of no value. Some links clearly violate Google’s guidelines. Just like salads, the best links are made up of all natural ingredients and are not artificial. Here’s an idea: create a resource on your site that is very useful that people want to tell their friends about.
Why is SEO more important than ever?
Showing up in search when people are looking for your product or service is vital to most businesses. Not all of them, but most of them. Here I have a case study of a business that has been positively impacted by Google search. As more people move online and away from things like the telephone book (remember those?) and mobile search takes over, exposure online actually makes or breaks many businesses. It is important to many and even vital to some to keep their doors open, their employees paid, and their family fed.