SEO’s Death is Greatly Exaggerated

February 18, 2013

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                           return to JayVee Media Link LLC

RIP SEO tombstone“SEO is dead.”  Haven’t you heard?  Search Engine Optimization doesn’t work anymore, so we need to come up with new strategies to boost our websites’ rankings on search engine results pages.

In truth, SEO is very much alive, and as important as it ever was.  But as new website structures and online platforms are introduced, and strategies for good online presences develop and morph, SEO is constantly changing to keep up.  The folks who conclude that SEO must be dead generally cling to the old ways of working it…or worse, try to game the system.  If any death knells are tolling, it is for those outdated or unscrupulous methods.  Any internet business that desires good search rankings today needs to be vigilant with its research as well as flexible enough to adapt to the ever changing online landscape.

Today’s SEO strategies must reflect a difference in the way optimization is assessed.  The “bots” that crawl our sites are much more intelligent than they used to be.  They are now capable of identifying most if not all the system-gaming strategies that used to go unnoticed.  Hence, a drop in search rankings COULD mean whomever is doing a website’s optimization is engaging in “black hat” techniques that no longer work.

Search engine bots have become smarter in other ways as well.  Keywords are still important – both short and long tail.  But the bots are sensitive to their overuse – a black hat strategy known as “keyword stuffing.”  And they now look for relevance between those keywords and the text that contains them.  The search bots also recognize the growing importance of social media for relevance in a merchant’s field.  They now pay attention to businesses’ presence on the various platforms, and more importantly, to what they are doing on those sites.  They evaluate factors such as post frequency; value-relative-to-field of original and shared content; ability to inspire and nurture engagement; and good client relations as evidenced by GENUINE recommendations and testimonials. That means generic, “canned” testimonials composed by paid SEO specialists as well as those written by employees of the businesses being lauded are discounted… and could even lead to a penalty in ranking.

With a new emphasis on quality content, search bots take note of whether or not a website contains or is linked to a blog page. Authorship credentials are becoming more heavily weighted in the rankings game.  Also, while still very important for SEO ranking, inbound links to blog posts are now evaluated for relevance to the business field.  Those that lack pertinence will cost both the business that gives and the one that receives them.

SEO person with thumbs upAs is the case with every facet of social media, SEO is constantly evolving.  The key to maintaining successful optimization is to constantly research and become familiar with all the emerging strategies.  And remember, the only things about SEO that are dead are outdated and unethical practices.

How do you keep up with the constantly changing SEO landscape?  Please share your strategies in the comments section below.

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2 thoughts on “SEO’s Death is Greatly Exaggerated

  1. Good post Jeanine. SEO is a powerful tool, especially when coupled with Social Media and content marketing. I’m constantly reminded of how successful Lee Odden’s Top Rank Marketing is. They have garnered great accounts and an excellent reputation, all without a sales team and any paid advertising. They’ve built their business on SEO/Content and Social. We all may not be as effective as Top Rank, and may require integrating some other traditional channels, but they are a clear example of the need for SEO and the success one can have with it.

  2. Yes indeed, Gordon! Today’s SEO is much more integrated than it was in the past. Meaningful, valuable content – especially original content – is a key driver of rankings today. As are our presence AND our activity on social media platforms, among the other factors I listed above. Because keywords are no longer the lone stars, too many businesses erroneously believe they no longer play a significant role at all. I know several business owners who were actually told by their website SEO “experts” that features like h1 tags are no longer necessary because keywords don’t matter anymore! That thinking follows the misdirected path that says since keywords are not the number one focus, SEO itself must be dead or dying. The same faulty reasoning holds for the less than ethical methods of gaming the ranking system that used to work but don’t any longer. Nothing could be further from the truth!

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

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