The misconception that SEO is dead

It’s 2017, a new year. I guess it’s time to talk about how SEO died… Again.

First and foremost, I would like to start out by stating that SEO is not dead; is alive and well. What did croak was the way SEO once was: a wild internet frontier.

Search engines have been around for a bit more than two decades. Within this time, especially within this later-quarter, search engines have really cut the wheat from the chaff by defining, as I’ve mentioned before, the one’s who serve the most relevant content will be the one’s rewarded.

Who killed SEO?

Stop that – SEO is not dead!

OK. The reason why some in the past have considered that this marketing practice is no longer effective is because the easy route was no longer something which worked. Mainly due to people trying to scam the system. Aw, yes you – you cheeky marketers!

Whither it was targeting a particular phrase by obsessive keyword stuffing or using popular keywords in the meta keywords tag and trying to own the most irrelevant positions for the content on the page. There were many ways to have ranked a website which no longer work today.

I believe that’s a good thing too! What search engines are trying to accomplish is to ensure the service they provide is better than their competition. For example, might there be a reason why you don’t use Bing? ( a little SEO joke right there – Bing prefers a bit more spammy content. Apologies to all you Bing users out there. )

Reliance Upon a Single Engine

Google can be seen as the major player within the search engine game. Large businesses have opened, and have crumbled, in the hands of this internet giant. Much of this “SEO is Dead” rhetoric has derived from Google optimizing their services to overcome the spammers.

As predicted described back in 2008 within this great Bruce Clay interview:

If I were anywhere in the United States, at 2am I broke my tooth, the last thing I want to type into Google is “Dentist.” I want to type in “City name 24 hour emergency tooth repair” right? I want to be specific. People looking for things on a local-level are going to search that way.

As Bruce “The Optimizer” Clay identifies, more localized phrases will enter the search race. This idea can be identified over the past six years with the popularity of local optimization. If you know how to do it, it really works!

Continuing, another factor which I accredit in the misconception that “SEO is Dead” is due to the huge amount of content which is steadily being created.

Staggering Amounts of Data

Some have estimated that over one million terabytes are created daily. Now mind you, not all of this is available within search engines, although a growing portion is.

Dave Evans, the Former Cisco Chief Futurist, pointed out in 2009:

humans generated more data in 2009 than in the previous 5,000 years combined, although a lot of it is useless – comparable to saving all 2,000 photos from your weekend trip to the beach.

It was just before this time, in 2007, when this SEO cat lost it’s first life; predicted by marketers years in advance. With this said, I would like to believe that the ever-growing amount of content to compete with in this era may have been a contributing factor within the misconception that SEO is dead.

How this is moving forward in modern SEO in a positive direction, one which is solving many of the items addressed above, is the involvement of semantic search. This type of algorithm inherently improves search engine results by accurately understanding the intent of a particular search to deliver the most relevant content. Google has implemented this within their services since 2015 and is identified as the AI system RankBrain.

Although there have been several articles recently published which discuss the idea of “SEO is dead”, it has come to my understanding that the misconception is merely just that – a misunderstanding on how to adapt within search engine optimization.

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