Written By: Adam Dince
As someone who’s been doing SEO for nearly a decade, it annoys me when I read so called marketing “experts” claim SEO is dead. Whenever I find one of these misinformed articles, the supporting point of view usually reads something along the lines of, “Because Google has killed Sites that utilize keyword stuffing, buy links and employ other shady techniques, SEO is quickly becoming obsolete”.
If the authors only understood that what they write about is not SEO–it’s search engine algorithm manipulations that violate Google’s guidelines. Call it what you want, but it ain’t SEO. And yes, those that violate Google’s quality guidelines do have their days numbered.
Let’s start by defining what optimization means:
An act, process, or methodology of making something (as a design, system, or decision) as fully perfect, functional, or effective as possible – http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/optimization
Gaming search engine algorithms does not make a Web page or Site fully perfect, functional or even effective. Thus algo gaming never been what SEO is about.
When I first started my search marketing career at iCrossing, I was fortunate enough to be trained in the craft the right way. One of my first major assignments was co-crafting a demand and lead gen SEO strategy for a Fortune 10 brand. Without utilizing tactics that violated Google’s guidelines, we not only achieved the forecasted results, we surpassed them beyond expectation. As a result, we won prestigious Forrester Wave awards and increased year-over-year SEO client budget from $150k to nearly $4MM.
The basic strategic foundation of that campaign still works and has not been adversely affected by search engine updates. In fact, I’ve lead clean SEO strategies across a number of top brands that have resulted in incredible performance. And while SEO is evolving in so many different ways, the nuts and bolts remain the same:
- Creating impeccable content (even before it became a digital buzzword)
- Putting the user first
- Building technically sound and accessible Websites and experiences
- Understanding consumer search behavior
- Optimizing content for keywords and intent
- Building respectable link profiles
- Aligning strategies with other marketing channels
And as long as the major search engines return organic results, REAL SEO will always work. The challenge the marketing community has is finding SEO tacticians that can execute a fully integrated SEO strategy. And because good SEO talent is hard to come by, many resort to the quick-win algorithm gaming tactics that are quickly becoming obsolete.
One last note. Keep in mind that SEO doesn’t solely apply to Google and Bing. Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Amazon, Craigslist, ETSY, etc… are all search engines or have search engine functionality and can be optimized for.
So, the next time you read an uninformed article about SEO being on its death bed, remember–it’s not SEO they’re talking about–it’s garbage.