Every year SEO is pronounced dead by some internet blog author who likely doesn’t exclusively do Search Engine Optimization. Unfortunately people out there with web sites hear this and if you hear it enough start to believe it and neglect their SEO. That neglect just leads to falling behind in search engine positions and by the time the site owner reacts the slippery slop is in full effect.
They’ll likely turn then to the last SEO that they know and within a week of not seeing results claim proof that SEO has in-fact died.
Its important to understand that SEO isn’t simply digital marketing. It used to be that a person with a marketing background could stamp out some content using a key phrase over and over and gain traction but with better AI search had to evolve beyond keyword meta tags and the frequency something is mentioned.
To these folks SEO may have died but its actually just grown and in its greater complexity its shaved off those who focus on the marketing of a phrase and those who learn how search engines work.
July 2018 It was reported that SEO Industry was approaching $80 billion dollar budget, with the US accounting for 72 billion of it. Death seems to sound different.
SEO Is Growing Up
It is evolving. A page in 2005 that reused a phrase over and over is going to find the opposite reaction expected by todays search engines. I like to illustrate with this phrase…
James Cameron does what James Cameron does because James Cameron is James Cameron.
Would you expect a page with the above sentence to come up in James Cameron searches? Search that phrase and your first entry is Southpark on Comedy Central. The second and third, fourth, fifth and sixth … so on all link to Comedy Central’s videos and clips and discussions about Southpark. No where was Southpark mentioned but what was mentioned is no where in the results. The reason of course is that line IS more about Southpark than James Cameron.
For one if James Cameron put that up on his site Google would likely find it akin to keyword stuffing. Repeating something unnaturally doesn’t improve your ranking. Further that phrase isn’t of any use to someone seriously searching for information about James Cameron. Enter three concepts at work here.
Google understands the words on a page more so than just as words but as a topical concept reading the words before and after and considering their overall impact on the content. Its why when you search “Madonna and child” you’ll get a painting of the Virgin Mary and Jesus and not a pop star with her kid.
Over Optimization – Keyword Stuffing
Google penalizes sites that shamelessly over compensate for a lack of content by simply pushing a keyword into every possible place on the page. I had a client once that I asked to stop using their keyword on their homepage. How much is too much, it’s one of those hard to give you a number but you’ll know it when you see it things. They used their name (and still do) 34 times on their homepage! We get it after the first ten, the next 24 times you say the world doesn’t make use believe it any more. The law of diminishing returns is in force here, and Google’s penalties also likely.
User Behavior And Search Engine Position Results
User behavior is the number one indicator of a pages search engine ranking performance. Sure there are 200 factors that come into play but if the search result below yours gets the most clicks in search its only a matter of time before it replaces you. Continuing in that theme if everyone who clicks on your search result quickly clicks back and then clicks the next result what does that say about your content and its relevancy to the search that was just made?
Keywords will get you tested in search results, but user behavior will get you the position your content deserves. Poor layout, slow page loads and over use of one set of words all equal a negative user experience and herald in the fall in ranking.
So SEO of the 2005 era is dead, yes 100%. But the ability to put your best foot forward and to gain recognition from Google on a topic isn’t.