Our industry tends to revisit one topic over and over and over again: SEO is dead. This has been happening for years because someone always wants to drive traffic to a blog post or an article by claiming something similar.
One Bozo once claimed that SEO was b.s. That was six years ago.
It's funny because, six years later, SEOs are still optimizing website content for search engines and there seems to be no shortage of people who want our help. Truth is, SEO will be here for the foreseeable future. Here's why.
1. SEO Makes Money
Google still has the potential to provide an enormous amount of traffic through organic search, and does for all of my clients. An enormous amount of money is at stake. Where there's money, there is competition and a willingness to spend money to win.
2. SEOs Bridge the Gap
Search engine best practices aren't intuitive (try explaining rel=canonical to someone who isn't familiar with SEO). There will always be a need to communicate best practices to people whose primary focus isn't SEO every day. This is especially true as Google (and other search engines like Bing, Baidu, etc.) continues to change the rules.
3. SEO Communicates With Customers & Prospects
Figuring out intelligent ways to scale keywords across an organization's digital landscape will always be important. People forget that keywords aren't an SEO thing. They're a marketing thing.
The first rule of communication: speak in a language that your audience understands. Good keyword research is actually user research into the language that is most often used by your prospective and current customers to describe your products, services and content topics. Ignore at your own peril.
4. SEO Benefits Users
Many of the same activities that benefit SEO, benefit user experience:
- Keyword research and communicating that research to all team members.
- Meaningful, keyword focused page titles.
- Intelligent keyword-focused meta description tags.
- Correct spelling.
- Easy to use, keyword focused global navigation template.
- Social media inclusion of important web pages.
- Elimination of technical errors.
- Elimination of broken internal links.
- Acquiring links from relevant sites that provide value to the end user.
- Ensuring that content links internally to relevant pages when it makes sense to do so for users.
- Click path testing to improve user experience and decrease bounce rate.
- Eliminating 404 pages that shouldn't exist.
- Eliminating duplicate content.
- Using web analytics to improve site performance.
- Otimizing video and image content so that it can be indexed and so that it has meaningful, keyword focused titles.
- Optimizing PDF documents so they have meaningful, keyword focused titles and content.
- Content gap analysis to ensure that your site addresses subject matter important to your users.
- Ensuring that old pages properly redirect to new pages.
- Ensuring that press releases use appropriate keywords.
- Ensuring that content management systems don't cause problems for search engines based on their inherent structure.
- Ensuring that companies are sending the signals necessary for search engines to understand which country a particular piece of content is most relevant to.
- Reducing page load speed as much as possible.
- Ensuring that sites adhere to proper accessibility standards.
- Training internal teams on SEO best practices.
- Ensuring integration between all digital marketing channels.
Why SEO Will Be Around For a Long Time
And by the way, the bigger the company, the harder these things are to do on an ongoing, consistent basis. It takes a focused effort, often requiring a guiding hand to ensure that these activities are executed properly.
Even as search evolves by fragmenting into hyper niche channels (like TV did when cable came around) and as it evolves to voice based searching, there will be still be a need to ensure that the technology that is being used to do the searching, one that can find, process, and understand the data that it is looking for. There will still be a need to communicate that protocol to companies that want their information to be found.
Finally, there will always be a need to better understand the language that is being used by current and potential customers to find you, and to scale that keyword focus across your entire digital landscape.
So if you believe that SEO is dead, dying, or outdated, I really would like to talk to you! I've a great deal on a bridge I'm selling...
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!