Despite the News, SEO is Not Dead

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For years now, search engine marketers have been predicting the death of SEO. I’m not sure why we’re all so quick to denounce our livelihoods, and I’m also not sure I agree with the sentiment.

  • SEO is Dead (2006): Stoney deGeyter predicts that SEO-only providers would be “dead” by 2010.
  • SEO is Dead. Long Live, er, the Other SEO (2007): Mike Grehan addresses the introduction of universal search and the need to redefine SEO to emphasize the importance of improved online marketing.
  • SEO Has No Future (2008): Shoemoney discusses the future of social voting as SEO tactics sometimes overlap with spammy behavior.
  • 2010: The Year SEO Isn’t Important Anymore? (2009): Robert Scoble concludes that search engine marketing should be renamed to “online marketing” to infer a more holistic approach to increasing online visibility.

So… is SEO dead or what? The answer is no, no it is not dead. It is simply evolving. Although the definition varies and may need to be updated, the concept remains the same: improving a website’s online presence in an organic manner.  And while effective “tactics” surrounding SEO are ever changing, the fundamentals remain the same: provide useful content, present it in a functional way and you’ll be rewarded with better search engine visibility.

The practice of search engine optimization is dynamic in its nature so will never stay the same. The effectiveness of more tactical efforts like optimizing your title tags will undoubtedly have less and less of an impact as we’ve seen over the past few years. The landscape is constantly evolving as new technologies emerge and algorithms become more sophisticated. However the end goal is always the same, matching searchers with their interests and needs.

The majority of the focus, as always, should be on providing great content and making that as accessible as possible – whether that be from a search engine, from social media or even directly on the site.

  • Site architecture and authority for better search engine visibility. I’ve talked about this a few times before, as you can’t optimize cardboard. A sound site architecture will lend itself to a structure that will naturally make sense for optimal keyword placement, “good URLs” (i.e. not rife with duplicate content or too many parameters), and content that is easily accessible to both users and search engines. A solid amount of useful, informative and unique information will build trust with users and help to establish your site as an authority. Great content also creates better opportunities for social sharing and natural link acquisition.
  • Social media for new ways of information retrieval. Shoemoney was right on in 2008 with his prediction of a transition to a system more focused on the concept of “social voting”. With the announcement of Facebook Open Graph you can surely expect greater engagement and sharing of information in new ways. Yet more incentive to create valuable content for your website.
  • Using analytics to mold your content strategy and make it more accessible. As analytics platforms are becoming more robust, understanding user behavior to shape your approach for content creation is critical. Whether it is determining what type of content is resonating, or how users are finding it once on your site. Knowing what type of content to create increase search engine traffic and information sharing opportunities.

Again, SEO tactics and approaches may change but the basic tenants remain the same. SEO is not dead, but a constantly developing process in which search engines strive to provide the most useful information to users, wherever they may be online.

Rachel Freeman

Rachel Freeman

Rachel Freeman works for the Jive Software, the pioneer and leading provider of social business solutions. She has expertise in all aspects of search engine... Read Full Bio
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