Confessions from the Grim Reaper – Is SEO Dead?
Remember the good old days when SEO was the simple solution to everything?
Started a new blog? Choose a bunch of long tail keywords and create a dozen posts optimized for them. Content quality doesn’t matter as long as the bots are greeted by an avalanche of phrases like “best mobile for 20-year olds”, “mobiles 20-year olds are buying” and so on and so forth.
Launching a product? Just throw together a LONG sales page that’s written especially for the bots. Giving them those repetitive awkward keywords they loved (or did they?)
But then Panda came and Penguin and Hummingbird put the last nail in the coffin of more is more SEO.
Since so much has changed on the SEO landscape, people are panicking. Stuff that used to work is no longer working. The question is “Is SEO dead?”
Is SEO Dead? Yes & No:Spammy SEO is dead for good. Click To Tweet
But Search Engines aren’t. And it will take a while before any search engine is intelligent enough to dig up relevant content WITHOUT signals or pointers from the content creators.
This is why SEO can never die.
All that it has done is it has evolved.
It has evolved to respect the growing maturity of internet users, disruptive trends like semantic search and voice search and most importantly new streams of data that the Internet of Things (IoT) is adding to the mix.
The new SEO is more discerning, quicker to spot fakes and black hat techniques and it’s all about the querents.
Let me break it down for you.
Becoming More Organic:
In the not-so-good old days, SEO was the ugly step sister of spam. What I mean by this is that marketers would stuff their content with the relevant keywords with the hopes of being #1 in the SERPS due the how the search algorithm worked back then.
Essentially, search engines would search for content that had high density in terms of keywords and inbound links. Of course there were more to it than this, but marketers realized if they focused on these metrics they would surge in the SERPS almost overnight.
Then, since the Google Panda update these tactics fell into oblivion. The changes to the algorithm forced marketers to scrap their old methods since relevancy and content quality became infinitely more important. You could no longer simply have links pointing to your content, they’re value now was determined by how ‘relevant’ they are to your source content.
Some might even argue that it was around about this time that inbound marketing became the norm within the marketing sphere.
However, in terms of digital time, the Panda Update was centuries ago. The search algorithm is constantly evolving and now with the latest Hummingbird update, the way we go about SEO has changed once more.
Technology has evolved significantly over the past decade.
Just listen to Siri respond when you talk to her. She almost sounds, ‘human’. Now take the clock back to 2012 when Siri was released to the public, she sounded robotic and dumb, unable to handle complex voice commands with ease. Not anymore, she’s on top of her game and only getting better.
Voice search is becoming ever more popular with the integration of technology into every facet of our society. You can talk to your house, your car, your phone and they will all respond to you in a human-like fashion. Cortana, Alexa, Siri and many more AI assistants are becoming staple in the way that we search for content, evolving the ‘way we search’.
In other words, SEO is becoming more conversational.
Talking with Machines:
Despite the fact that the way we search is evolving to a more conversational tone, machines still require keywords to find the relevant content. This means, that you have to create content that speaks both human and machine.
For modern day SEO to be effective you still have to adhere to the classic optimization tactics such as;
- Relevant Keywords
- H1 Tags and correct KW density
- Alt Text Tags
- Relevant inbound and outbound links
- Media Rich (with high relevancy)
- Meta Description
However, seeing that humans are changing their tactics in searching so you too must evolve by including;
- Voice Search Optimized Keywords
- Schema Markup [Creating a hierarchy within your content for optimal search]
- AMP optimized Pages [Optimized for Mobile Search]
Your content has to become the bridge between the two worlds – providing the relevant data for the bots to find the content and optimizing the content to harmonize with the way people ask for things naturally.
This is what SEO means today and tomorrow it might take on a different shape.
The Theory of Micro Deaths:
When asked the question – “Is SEO Dead?” there are typically two schools of thought on the issue. Some believe yes while other believe SEO is still alive and kicking.
I’d like to introduce a third school of thought – The Micro Death.SEO as we knew it is no more. The days of stuffing your content with keywords, using spin bots to generate thousands of low quality content is long gone – and good riddance! Click To Tweet
Every update is the apocalypse to the previous update. And while Hummingbird is currently the update we’re searching with, as more data flows in, as new technology alters the way we search…it too will eventually be replaced.
The point I’m trying to make here is that you cannot be stagnant in your SEO tactics. You must evolve alongside the marketplace. You cannot expect one way to work forever. Life is dynamic and our technology is reflecting our reality – it’s evolving alongside us.
Stay in the now when it comes to SEO. If you cling on to the old ways of doing things you’ll eventually become lost in cyberspace, pushed out by those who have the ability to embrace change and implement it within their organizations.
SEO is not dead…far from it. It’s just growing up.