In the modern digital marketing age, many experts claim that Search Engine Optimisation is dead… or is it?
Their reasoning is based on what they interpret as a pattern of demise based on changes to the Google algorithm, the rise of social media and the rise of ‘smart’ paid digital ads like real time bidding, retargeting and other ad innovations.
It’s not dead, it’s just different
Think about how SEO was done 10 years ago, build a ton of exact match anchor text links, create some keyword rich on-page content and you’ll see your site rising for your target keywords. Modern SEO algorithms, quite rightly, put the user first. Weak content and spammy backlinks no longer work. Either they are completely ignored by the search engines, or you will be slapped with a ranking penalty for dubious SEO practices.
With the Penguin updates that we continually see from Google, great quality content is still king. You are writing about a product, business or event anyway, so why not make that content good enough entice a real user? A rule of thumb; if you read your off-page content back to yourself and don’t want to find out more by following the backlink, you’re not doing it right! Here is a closer look at how the Penguin update changed things.
SEO vs Social Media and Paid Ads
The continual growth of social media and paid ad real-estate online is not the end of SEO… Here’s why:
Social Media is just that: It’s social! You don’t go round to a friends’ party and try sell him weight loss pills or non-stick frying pans, so why do we attempt to encroach on people’s lives while they are sharing real moments digitally? There is a reason that nearly every digital business reports far lower conversion rates in the social media space when compared to SEO, and the primary reason is that people are mostly on social platforms to connect with other people, not brands and products.
Paid Ads are slowly taking over the search results: Google now have four pay per click adverts above the organic results, but these are costly, particularly for broad terms. A number one organic ranking gets just as many, if not more clicks, than the top PPC ad and you don’t pay for the organic traffic! Why wouldn’t you want to rank organically? Another factor is that since the Google Panda and Penguin algorithm updates, the top three or four organic positions are generally occupied by reputable websites and this is known to consumers the results of which an be seen in multiple studies conducted around organic click-through rates.
Where do we go from here?
The importance of SEO has never been more prominent and it’s something that digital marketers cannot afford to ignore. Great content, solid on-page and good products or services that attract real reviews, shares, like and backlinks are what will drive ranking in the future. Search engines are becoming wise to manipulation of their algorithms and this means that the future SEO executive will be more of a ‘digital promoter’ that encourages real interaction and less of a ‘only for the search engines’ thinker.
Remember, if Googlebot was your boss, would you be happy to show him or her your content, on-page improvements and backlinks? If the answer is no, then yes, SEO is dead… It’s dead until you change your methodology.