SEO Is Dead – Or Is It?
If you are passionate (or boring) about SEO and read as many blogs as we do, you could easily come to the conclusion that ‘SEO is dead‘. We explore what is meant by this, and if SEO is dead – what is the answer to ranking websites in the ‘natural listings’?
SEO Is Dead – Says Who?
Many, and I mean many, blogs will tell you that ‘search engine optimisation’ (or SEO) has had its day, is no longer valid and is a waste of time and money. A recent article by Jayson DeMers of Forbes.com is typical of those exploring the question.
Long-time SEO Jill Whalen recently announced that she is ending her career in SEO quoting that “Google now works. The tricks to beat and spam Google no longer work as well… This means, my friends, that my work here is done.”
SEO Is Dead – Is It?
Well the answer to is SEO dead – is actually a question. What do you mean by SEO?
For many ‘experts’, SEO is using and utilising practices that try and deceive or ‘con’ search engines, such as Google, into treating a website more favourably than other websites and certainly more favourably than the website actually deserves. Jill Whalen is quoted as suggesting that SEO is about using ‘spam’ to trick Google.
If this is your idea of SEO then I have some very bad news – SEO is dead!
Google is far too ‘big and clever’ to be conned into accepting a website for more than it is.
These ‘black hat’ practices have been frowned upon for years, and have been routinely routed out by search engines – as it is not what search engines want to be the user experience of their ‘searchers’ or customers.
Buying links or link farming are practices that will now get your website penalised. Google is watching (it always has been).
If SEO ‘experts’, who are practising these methods are leaving SEO then I say”good riddance”.
SEO Is Dead – What Is SEO Then?
The ‘Oxford English Dictionary’ gives us the best clues to what search engine optimisation actually is.
The word ‘optimisation’ comes from the early 19th century Latin word ‘optimus’ which translates into modern-day English as ‘best’.
You could take this as meaning that ‘search engine optimisation’ is what is ‘best’ for search engines. If you structure your site and content so it is at it’s best for search engines – you have a greatly optimised site. The dictionary gives a modern-day definition of the noun ‘optimise’ as “make the best or most effective use of (a situation or resource)”. In terms of a website and SEO, you could interject the words like so – “make the best or most effective use of a website for search engines”.
However, the dictionary goes on to give a further definition of the word ‘optimise’ – Computing; rearrange or rewrite (data, software, etc.) to improve the efficiency of retrieval or processing.” and this my friends is the true meaning of search engine optimisation.
Google wants to give the person typing search terms into their computer the best user experience. This means giving the user the best results to match their query. The skill of SEO is in rearranging the website or rewriting the data (the content of a website) to improve the efficiency of its retrieval – in other words, create a website and content that is easy for Google to process, understand the key messages, and allow them to match those messages with the user’s search – resulting in a website that is displayed, for the searches you want it to be found for. Displayed high up in the ‘natural listings’.
SEO Is Dead – No It Isn’t!
The good SEO practices for websites are easy to understand. All Google ‘updates’ since ‘Caffeine’ (introducing other media such as video to the search results) have been about changing the search algorithm to filter out spam. Panda, Penguin, Venice etc. all concentrated on different aspects of cleaning up search engines results, and in the case of ‘Venice’ making ‘local search’ more effective.
In understanding these changes, and what Google is trying to achieve, it is still easy to rank a website in the natural listings – by just following the criteria laid out by Google.
If your SEO practices fall into this category – then there is very good news. SEO is very much alive!
If you are a website owner you may wish to consider using us as an ‘SEO Consultant‘