SEO is DEAD???
I didn’t even know it was sick.
The “death” of Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, has been a subject of chatter for some time now. Given how things come and go in technology, this perception is understandable.
I look at it another way. To paraphrase the great Mark Twain, “The rumors of SEO’s death have been greatly exaggerated.”
Let’s stop for a minute and consider the term “death.” Briefly, it is defined as “the cessation of life.” So for SEO to be dead, logically, it must have once had life. Flip forward several hundred pages in the same dictionary and you’ll find life defined as a state that is “characterized by capacity for metabolism and growth.”
I put it to you that SEO is NOT dead. To the contrary, it is, by that definition, full of life and still just as necessary to understand in order to help your business’ website succeed in doing its job. How do I mean that? Consider this very simple comparison. Once upon a time you were a newborn baby, and very much alive. You are still the same person who was once that baby, although you have grown and changed. Because no one sees that baby anymore, does that mean that the baby is “dead?” Of course it doesn’t. The baby, like SEO, possessed life, enabling it to develop into someone, or in the case of SEO, something, that appears different, yet still is the same being.
In its early form, SEO consisted of methods that today either don’t work or can actually damage your search engine ranking. These include keyword stuffing (word density is no longer part of the ranking algorithm), keyword meta tagging (search engines stopped looking at those years ago), link buying (Google Penguin rendered that useless), and even content spinning (Google Panda stamped that out for the most part). Early SEO often resulted in the creation of websites that were focused on ranking at the expense of quality content. Modern SEO places greater emphasis on the quality of the content.
But is quality content alone enough for modern SEO?
It’s a start, but it’s just a piece of the puzzle, albeit a crucial one. Today’s SEO is all about making quality content easier to find. Modern algorithms have improved search engines by effectively blocking more SPAM and elevating the most relevant websites. So, while your website may have strong content, you still need to learn the steps to the modern SEO dance in order to affect your website in a positive way. These include:
1) Use Relevant Keywords – While the search engines don’t use the meta keywords they way they used to, keywords themselves are quite important in good ranking. A potential customer doing a search for your type of business will enter certain keywords or phrases. It is up to you to figure out what these keywords or phrases are and to use them effectively in your web page content, titles, etc. This does not imply the meaningless stuffing and overuse of them, which a search engine will detect and flag. That sort of keyword usage is not only liable to get your website ranked lower, but it is perceived as unnatural, even robotic, by those who will read it.
2) Link Smartly – Link buying, as mentioned previously, is no longer a useful part of increasing your search engine visibility. That does not mean that links themselves are no longer key in good SEO. Inbound links tell search engines that people are finding certain information on your website valuable enough to link to it. Focus on creating great content that people will want to naturally link to and share with their readers. Also, listing your site in relevant, reputable directories. Local or professional directories are preferable, rather than putting your site in any and all directories, as that can actually have a negative effect.
3) Socialize Well – It had been thought that social networks would render search engines obsolete. As it is turning out, social networking now actually plays a part in rankings. When executed optimally, social network presence can elevate your site’s search engine position. This is accomplished by engaging with people (conversations, re-posts, acknowledgements, etc.), promoting your brand, posting easily shareable content, and having a basic understanding of which platforms your target audience is frequenting. Also, it is good to note the value of having a Google+ presence. When considering search engine rankings, Google is naturally going to give more weight to Google+ when it comes to social network worth.
Clearly, the notion that SEO is dead is not accurate. Granted, what used to pass for effective optimization is no longer relevant. However, when you look at it as the ever evolving field that it is, you have to admit, it is not only “not dead,” but vibrantly, dynamically alive and well. No longer in its infancy, it is young and growing in ways that are often quite helpful (in regards to reducing meaningless sites reaching prominence), if not occasionally frustrating, such as when a new algorithm is thrown your way.
Perhaps it was a funny-looking baby…but baby, look at it now!
Just hang on for when it hits its teens.
This post is from Bola Olonisakin, Creative Head & Online Strategist at GTechDesigns LLC. Bola specializes in web design and development techniques, standards and methodology. She works to enable organizations to grow their web strategy and increase the visibility of their websites. If you’re interested in improving your web presence, feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or @gtechdesigns on Twitter. This post was originally posted at www.gtechdesigns.com.