When you perform searches online about search engine optimization, chances are you’ll come across at least one article in which the headline claims that search engine optimization is dead. Marketers have long listened to the chatter circling the rumor mill that search engine optimization (you know, the necessary process of making your website visible to your audiences online through search engines) is dead or currently dying.
Is search engine optimization dead? While there is some truth in this statement, SEO is not gone forever. In fact, search engine optimization is alive more than ever before.
Why am I reading article headlines that claim SEO is dead?
Critics of SEO have claimed for nearly a decade that SEO is dying a slow, painful death, and while many marketers are ready to throw in the towel, (or, hey, release the confetti, and celebrate!) the death of SEO simply isn’t true.
So, why are some people saying SEO is gone? What some of these critics may be referring to is not necessarily the death of search engine optimization altogether, but the death of primitive SEO practices and tactics. In this sense, SEO is dying…and being reborn again.
So, you’re saying SEO is both dead and not dead?
As Google constantly makes improvements to enhance its user experience, it’s updating its search algorithms to further exclude older practices known as Black Hat SEO. These outdated SEO tactics involve keyword stuffing, link buying, and over-optimizing things like meta-tags on your website. What started out as features were easily gamified. As with most things – if a loophole exists, people are going to exploit it. That’s one reason Google is constantly making updates: to close the loopholes. These types of SEO practices certainly are dying. And good riddance.
But SEO has been reincarnated! With new Google algorithm updates occurring every few months (and sometimes more frequently), and, the rise of mobile-friendly search and websites and searches have kept SEO alive and well.
What about the argument that SEO is no longer effective?
Although critics argue that SEO is becoming less effective, it’s simply because marketers are working harder than ever to keep up with Google’s algorithm updates. SEO remains extremely important to generate brand awareness, direct traffic to your website, and show up in relevant search results.
Why is Google’s algorithm becoming more difficult to keep up with? Google is customer-centered, so they’re always searching for new ways to improve the user experience. This forces brands to consistently modify and maintain updates on their website that contribute to a positive, user-friendly site.
While it sounds like Google only loves the customer, their adoration isn’t only for searchers. They’ve added neat updates for brands, such as Google Posts, which allows businesses to share messages and updates with their audiences through Google My Business. A well-built and maintained Google My Business page is one aspect of Local SEO – the process of optimizing your website for particular geolocations. This is especially useful for service-based businesses that operate within a certain city or local stores or restaurants that want to get in front of people that are physically near them.
How can a business get ahead in the SEO game?
1. Is your website optimized for smartphones? These days, it’s all about user experience, so if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, it should be.
A recent survey showed that 79.1% of Americans have a smartphone. That’s a lot of people walking around with a portal to the internet sitting right inside their pockets. Additionally, more people are using those smartphones to search on the internet and browse websites. These days, simply having a website won’t cut it. Your website should look great on desktop and mobile devices. If a user visits your website on their smartphone and has a poor experience, they won’t revisit on desktop, they’ll simply move on to a competitor.
2. Are you making regular content updates to your website?
Content marketing can be incredibly powerful. It can get your audience to know, like, and trust you without ever interacting with you or your business face-to-face. If you can’t remember the last time you updated your website or added content, it’s time to let our marketing team create and maintain a content marketing strategy for you.
3. Are you reaching your audience through social media marketing?
Many business owners are unaware or have forgotten that social media marketing can help you rank for SEO! That’s right, having a social media presence and updating it regularly with useful posts and content will boost the credibility of your brand and website. Curious? Ask us how it works!
4. Are you keeping up with how Google ranks your website?
There are a lot of online and digital marketing components that affect your ability to rank for SEO. These involve including foundational SEO on your website, ongoing SEO, contributing to SEO through social media, blogging, advertising, having a fast, responsive website, and more.
Because SEO is here to stay and evolving all the time, it’s best you leave the practice to the professionals. Have questions or want help with your SEO? Let’s chat!
Recent Public Relations graduate and intern-turned content marketing specialist. When I’m not swimming through waves of web pages for new content, you can find me at hockey games or reading a fantastic book.