Is SEO Dead? Yup Again

I attended an internet conference this last week and the question came up Is SEO dead? Now every few year Google comes out with a new penalty named after some zoo animal and everyone starts howling SEO is dead. And not that there have been any new animals added to the Google Zoo lately, but SEO does continue to change and evolve.

So let me say this. SEO is not dead nor will it be for many years to come. But, if you run your website only based on chasing what Google wants without any understand or investment to a long term marketing strategy, it would be easy to see how one could infer that a death had occurred.  And if you run a website without any consideration of your end user SEO is dead to you.  SEO is no longer just one thing, which is the common misconception. The problem is anyone caught sitting on the one-legged stool will fall over.

There are many less experienced marketers that boil the problem down to  SEO vs. SEM or is it simply the days of SEO are over? I don’t believe either of those two statements are true, rather, I would rather say that how through evolution,  SEM supports the Brand and to have organic rankings, you must have a brand. Both are completely integrated into each other and really 2 sides of the same coin on some levels.

The natural inclination is to pit SEO against SEM But all of this now is integrated along with social media. Where is the user in the sales funnel? Most purchases start out as informational search and that is a far different part of the funnel than the actual conversion. It is a whole separate blog topic really but for now, it’s not an either or conversation. The better question is where is  the end user in the sales process vs. how to create brand awareness in the information search with the SEO and the SEM working in tandem.

Now, I will readily admit that SEO has changed since the very first website that I put up in 1998. It was pretty easy back in those days. A sprinkle of keywords here, a dash of title tags there add in an Exact Match Domain and you had a #1 ranking website in about 6 days. Yup that type of SEO is dead for sure. Heck most of the engines from those days are dead also, or like Yahoo on life support.  These practices needed to die honestly and should have been killed off years ago.

Ever since Google entered the search scene, every step along the way has been geared towards this one concept. How do you service the end-user?  Links were the life-blood of Google until they got co-oped forcing Google to raise the bar. Now fast-forward. Engagement, click through rates, social media all starting with really great content that benefits the end-user. And companies need to act like companies. Press Releases, community involvement are all things normal businesses do. And it’s seems to me that SEO has morphed into a labor intensive juggernaut called digital marketing.

Does that mean SEO is dead?  No, not at all.  It’s just means it has evolved. It’s more complicated and there is a real expense attached to it. What it means is you really have to know what you’re doing to get results.  So as I have been saying for about the last 18 months…SEO is dead. Long live SEO!


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