For the past few years, Search Engine Optimization or SEO has been the king of every online marketing strategy. Optimizing websites has been the most effective tactic in order to gain online visibility, high rank in search engines and better ROI. This strategy brought various industries better revenue and it became an edge against their competitors.
However, there are numbers of articles on the Internet that states that SEO is dying. According to an article in Digital Gossips, this is because:
Mobile Usage is a Growing Trend
Because of the increase of mobile usage, the users’ search pattern is getting different. Mobile users are mostly logged in and are socially engaged. With that, Google has come up with new content recommendations for mobile users.
Social Media is Dominating
These days, people are more convinced when a post or a company has a good number of likes, re-tweets, +1 in Google+, users’ ratings and reviews, etc. The more Likes and followers a person or brand has, it has somehow became a valid social reference because of its content and function.
Google is slowly becoming stricter with their requirements for high ranking sites and quality content. Google now discourages old tactics of link building and announced that press release or artificial links will not help in optimization.
Change in Consumer Behavior
The article also stated that SEO is dying because people are going more and more social, thus, forcing Google to go where the trends are moving towards. With the features of smartphones and tablets that give users the ability to easily access social media sites; they will try to stay online for most of the time. In other words, users’ search pattern, needs, queries, privacy and expectations are changing through the influence of social media.
The bottom line is, social media is dominating the online marketing scene with the numbers of users moving to these platforms.
SEO is Just Evolving
Every year there will be new students who will do extensive research for their thesis, new graduates looking for jobs and consumers looking for the latest gadgets or shoes—these people will most likely turn to search engines to find what they are looking for. How else will websites appear in search engines to help them with their questions? Through optimization, of course.
So, contrary to what some people are stating (and believing), SEO is still growing and is still effective. This is because there is no other way for websites to appear in search engines without proper optimization. In fact, according to Search Engine Land, the supposedly “dying industry” raised over $100 Million in 2012.
Moreover, 2010 was the outbreak of the rumors of the death of SEO, and according to ProNews.com, three years later—after having survived Panda and Penguin, plus social media—experts are still forecasting its doom. Why? Because it never happens. This online marketing strategy is, and will always be, the only effort for websites to be visible in search engines. So for as long as there are search engines, there will be the utilization of optimization.
Another statistics conducted in 2012 states that there were approximately 1.17 billion people used Google in conducting a research.
Although social media is prominent as an online marketing strategy, people will still look for websites to double check if the company is legitimate. In fact, the demand for organic search strategies grew in 2012 as people still used search engines to look for websites, according to a Forrester research.
The only thing that’s happening in SEO is that it is evolving – and it should. People perceive it as a scam or that it is not effective because of the slow result that they didn’t expect. However, these people don’t understand that with the stricter rules of Google, it just became harder for SEO experts to push through with their campaigns. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that it is not effective as, obviously, there are still high ranking websites around. Google just want to avoid including irrelevant websites.
These days, SEO experts are more careful with how they structure their websites and contents to avoid being penalized or worse, sandboxed by Google. They have innovated and customized their strategies in order to be more relevant in the eyes of search engines.
With regards to people going mobile, the industry has positively responded by making mobile-friendly versions of websites. Mobile websites are more responsive, meaning; it loads easily on laptops, smartphones and tablets. People who are “on-the-go” utilize their phone for searching as well and not exclusively for social media sites. In fact, according to Norris Rowley (an Internet marketer), 70% of people use their mobile phones to search for websites, as people are constantly seeking information. That said, Rowley stated in his study that it is vital that a site is optimized to be viewed on mobile devices.
Link building has not been eliminated. In fact, according to ProNews.com, the need for high quality inbound links have never been greater. However, spamming of keywords doesn’t work anymore as Google sees content with effective stemming as more relevant.
Also, online marketing efforts with good social media signals have the higher probability to be ranked in search engines. Social signals are the number of likes, shares, +1s, re-tweets and responses. Because of the influence of social media, search engine optimization adapted to the trend and use social signals as search engine “trust factors”. This led to the birth of social SEO.
It is a crossover between optimization and social media. With this, quality contents are produced and shared in social media pages, at the hopes to get reposted, re-tweeted, or even going viral if the concept and context is really good. The act of sharing and talking about a certain piece of content is a good basis that it is worth reading. Marketers also engage with prospects customers to increase trust, authority, and credibility in their respective industries. In other words, SEO just evolved to work hand-in-hand with other online marketing efforts to be more effective and relevant.
Through it all, Google will keep on looking for ways to move toward a search environment that is free from spam, exploitation and excessive commercialization. This effort did not kill SEO, but rather, it just gave way to the elimination of black hat methods. Therefore, optimization is still alive and effective. In fact, thanks to the new criteria of Google and the additional efforts of specialists to have a more relevant content, users can be rest assured that the websites that they will be exposed to are legitimate.