Oh boy… If I had a dollar for every time I have heard something similar to the title of this article over the years I would be sitting on a beach on my own island in the middle of the Caribbean without any concern for earning a living. So is it true? Is search engine optimisation really dead? Should people forget about writing great content people really want to read and share and move on to the next “big thing” in online marketing? Well the answer is both yes and no to the original question. Confused? Well you shouldn’t be if you are applying correct practises to your SEO strategies.
The answer to the question “Is SEO Dead?” depends on what type of definition you apply to the term SEO. If what you mean is manipulating search engine rankings to place websites that don’t really “deserve” to rank high, than yes, SEO is dead. Long gone are the days when thousands upon thousands of keyword targeted backlinks from any and every site imaginable will ensure a site or page of content will rank for its targeted keywords. Sure, if you are using link spam and other black hat techniques a website may rank well for a while, but ultimately it will come crashing down when you either receive a manual spam penalty of some sort or the algorithms which Google have designed to catch these exact techniques trigger your site to plummet into oblivion. Now I will admit that there are still many niche markets around that are thriving off the “churn and burn” tactics that many a spammer has used in the past. Buy a domain, put up a website on server that they control, generate thousands of links using some well known toolkits, use all sorts of cloaking or other manipulation techniques or poorly designed or auto-generated content and yes you can still rank websites temporarily. But the sites are no longer ranking for anywhere near as long as they have in the past using these cheap and nasty practices.
The above things are the exact techniques Google has cracked down on. I have personally dealt with many clients who have been online marketers for years and believe that they know everything about SEO, but fail to understand why Google have implemented algorithms such as Panda, Penguin and the targeted manual reviews that they perform on sites that are being flagged for breaking the Webmaster Guidelines. These are the old school SEO’s who have survived and thrived off services they can purchase from many underground black hat forums. Failure to adapt and understand the state of the SEO industry as a whole has caused many people sleepless nights as they sit back and blame Google for the choices they as website owners have made which have lead them to no longer receive the free referral traffic their businesses models depend on. It has been too easy to rely on targeted search traffic to generate sales and leads. Without this easy and cheap traffic their businesses no longer thrive in the way that they have in the past. To these people, the methods of SEO that they have used and relied on is long a thing of the past.
So lets get back to the reality of the question above. No SEO is not dead. Proper SEO practices will continue to thrive now and well into the future. If the examples of people I have listed above would have spent the time and effort building websites that follow the Google Webmaster guidelines, they would not have lost so much as the SEO industry as a whole adapts and develops. Implementing a true content management strategy, writing content that people are willing to share and link to, building a brand instead of just expecting to rank for niche keywords, earning backlinks instead of generating backlinks, building websites with correct coding structure. If these things all sound like hard work, then you are 100% correct. It is hard work. Trust, authority, content management and all of the things it takes to build a great overall search engine optimisation strategy take a lot of time, effort and hard work to do correctly! If you are paying an SEO company to do this work, it is quite expensive to get a quality service. There are no shortcuts to a true SEO strategy and if you think you can game the system, you are in the group of people I have listed above. SEO is a process. It takes time. And it is extremely effective and long lasting when done correctly.
Now SEO is just one part of a great online marketing strategy that could also involve social media marketing, PPC and other marketing channels. But it is also one of the best, most cost effective means of getting target traffic to your website. It will continue to be this way for a very long time to come. If you expect to game the system and get away with it, you are wasting your time. If you are following the Google Webmaster Guidelines you can expect for SEO to be a true long term investment into you overall business marketing strategy. So no, SEO is not dead if you follow the true definition and goals of the industry.
Long live SEO!
Webpire Marketing are the leading digital marketing & SEO agency located in Hobart, Tasmania. We offer web design & online marketing services such as SEO, social media marketing & PPC to businesses of all sizes.