Matt Cutts’ blog on the evils of guest blogging the other week has thrown up a very predictable reaction – that SEO is dead and buried, again!
Know why? Because as long as search engines exist then some form of optimisation will always be needed, no matter how big or small.
The horror within the search community is stemming from a worry about betting the farm on tried-and-trusted ranking methods.
The SEO industry, though, has always prided itself on a mantra that the practice is for ever changing.
But people like to resist change! And if they can’t adapt then maybe they’re in the wrong industry.
The rise of content marketing has assured that – for the next few years, at least – search engine optimisation is firmly in the realm of the creative.
SEO being dead, though? Far from it. It’s more alive than ever. And here are five reasons why:
1 – You will always need to optimise your site
Google without doubt, for many, provides the best sources of natural and organic traffic. But it isn’t the only search engine out there.
For instance, I read a fascinating article the other day about how it may be more beneficial for PPC practitioners to focus their campaigns on Bing.
There are more search engines out there than Google, and if you’re striving for organic visits, then it’s essential to know the strengths and weaknesses of each one.
More importantly, it’s essential to optimise your site for search visibility.
By that I don’t mean by building huge amounts of backlinks and churning out articles for blog sites. I’m referring to getting your site indexed, cleaning up meta tags, making sure your brand is optimised for local searches, loads quickly, is technically sound and much more.
That’s where I feel a lot of confusion has come from over the years. Optimisation doesn’t mean cheating your way to first position in rankings.
Rather, optimisation means cleaning up your site for the benefit of search engines and users to make sure it performs to its peak in all areas.
What’s your definition of search engine optimisation and how does that train of thought affect your overall strategy? Let me know in the comments below!
2 – Link building is still hugely beneficial
Link building’s a dirty phrase at the moment. That baffles me.
The biggest reason I can see why is that people were violating Google’s link building guidelines, Penguin hit them hard, and they had nowhere else to turn.
The very nature of the beast, though, meant that so many people were hit that link building got tarred with the same brush.
What’s risen from the ashes though is the theory of content marketing and how creativity can provide more solid, effective, and natural links back to a site and brand.
An analogy I like to use relates to Monsters Inc., where Mike and Sully discover that laughter is a more powerful and friendly source of energy than scares and screams!
While it may be harder for people to earn natural, organic links, it opens up a huge wealth of options to the clever, creative marketer.
As I mentioned last week if people can guest blog and inject some media relations into the practice and use the right data then there’s potentially nothing stopping them.
A full, organic, and natural link portfolio is still hugely beneficial for search success – if you incorporate the right strategy and way of thinking.
3 – You don’t have to sacrifice offline for SEO
A lot of people think that search engine optimisation is a separate entity from their other marketing activities.
That’s nothing but plain poor advice. The best SEO strategies take in all parts of a brand’s promotional movements, whether on- or offline.
Even if it is something as simple as rejigging a site’s metas to give it a brush-up that is still, essentially, search engine optimisation. To make sure the site’s pages are as optimised as possible for search engines.
When people refer to SEO dying a death, what they’re really saying (possibly without realising it) is that Google has cracked down harder on site owners looking to manipulate rankings and results.
A great search campaign may have 90 per cent of it based on offline media, with the other 10 per cent focused on search and social. But it will still generate clickthroughs, ROI, and other results for the brand.
The key thing to remember with search engine optimisation is that the term is so broad that it encompasses many forms of media.
Its success relies on planning, strategy, and bringing all those forms of media together in one campaign.
4 – Google is trying to help you!
Many people I’ve seen lamenting the death of SEO have rang the bell because they were hit hard by Google’s Penguin, Panda, and Hummingbird updates.
Such change has scared them and, I feel, encouraged them to throw in the towel rather than adapt.
The funny thing is, though, that Google is trying to help people and not hinder them!
The search giant’s mission statement hasn’t changed. Google still exists to ‘organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful‘.
Any algorithm that filters spam away from quality, accurate information then can therefore only be good.
But Google has also released and revamped a number of its tools to help marketers and give a stronger voice to content creators.
Google Authorship is a fantastic way for content marketers to build personal authority and trust with the search engine, whilst Webmaster Tools and Analytics continues to get refined to provide better data and statistics to site owners.
In short, Google is not the enemy. It’s your friend!
Or is it? Are you at the end of your tether with Google and its policies? Why, and have you changed your outlook because of them? Let me know below!
5 – The best tools of the trade still work
I’ve previously written about how costly a deep search campaign can be – and justifiably so.
It’s worth pointing out that a lot of tools available to help online marketers are still incredibly useful and still provide the data needed for a successful campaign.
Having tools that aren’t affected by algorithm changes or, at the very least need a huge update – as a marketer – are worth their weight in gold.
That doesn’t include only search tools, but social media programmes, email marketing software, and others.
If the right tools have been performing well for your brand over the last few years, haven’t broken, and have still delivered results when a search algorithm update has been released then it’s a great sign that you’re doing something right strategically.
Is it just a matter of time?
Whatever you choose to believe is firmly up to you. If you believe SEO is dead then I probably won’t be able to change your mind.
I think the death knell is incredibly premature, and that instead the medium has evolved to a more creative method of marketing.
There are other reasons why I think SEO isn’t dead, but the points above are my main ones.
But the most important thing you should take from this blog is that strategy and creativity are the keys to success.
And, that as long as a search engine exists, then so will the practice of search engine optimisation.
If you’d like to learn more about the future of SEO and how it can help your website contact us today to find out more!