The Death of SEO? Not Just Yet

“Reports of the Death of SEO Have Been Greatly Exaggerated.”


Death of SEO

2011 has begun but it seems a good time to stop and take stock of what has been happening during 2010 in the search engine optimisation world. What a busy old year 2010 was with the death of SEO being predicted several times and the downfall of Google being predicted on an equally regular basis. The death of the search engine optimisation industry has been widely predicted on at least 3 occasions in the past 12 months, it is actually more but the major events will suffice to demonstrate. 

The first event was the roll out of Google’s Caffeine update during the early part of the year, the usual doom mongers and whisperers said it was the end of SEO.  Quite why it elicited this reaction is completely illogical, the search engine made it quite clear that this was an update to its index and infrastructure as opposed to an algorithm change.  The fact that they were now placing more emphasis on current and updated information only reinforced what all good optimisers had been saying for years, keep your content relevant and updated for maximum ranking benefit.  It will come as no surprise that SEO was still alive and kicking after the caffeine update.

Next up was the infamous Google Mayday update, initially it seemed as though the doom sayers may have had a little basis for their fears as some quite respected commentators in the SEO space were declaring losses of their long tail traffic. Google also confirmed that the change was algorithmic in nature and would have the effect of changing the way sites were ranked for long tail keywords with the higher quality sites ranking better for these important key phrases leaving those ‘thin content’ sites with lower rankings.  Although this would hopefully provide better more relevant and less Spam results there were large numbers of sites affected on a page level basis, particularly e-commerce sites that don’t carry a lot of content on product pages, and often that which it does carry could be a copy of the manufacturer’s description.  It certainly now makes more sense to provide unique product descriptions wherever possible, something else we seo’s have been advocating for a long time.

Google Instant was rolled out around the Autumn to the fanfare of ‘SEO is Dead’. The seo blogosphere went wild with normally level headed people weeping into their coffee wondering how seo’s could ever recover from this huge blow inflicted by their Google gods.  In fact one blogger was talking about now having to optimise for individual letters, quite how one could optimise for the letter P or any other individual letter is beyond me.  Needless to say Instant came and SEO is happily surviving despite this interloper and the alleged mission to destroy it.

There was also some doom talk around Google Local finally killing SEO, but that was so ridiculous it would be wrong to dignify it by giving it page space. Now please don’t get the impression that SEO is somehow static, Google continually tinkers with the search algorithm it uses making no less than about 500 changes last year,  just as Google tinkers to provide better results it is the job of your SEO (what don’t have one? – you should give us a call!!) to keep up to date and analyse those changes and decide what needs to be done to maintain or improve your rankings.  Reading this would give you the impression that all SEO’s are constantly declaring disaster, that’s not the case – just a particularly vocal minority buzzing from too much caffeine and Haribo sweets, most of us are reasonably sane and just go about the business of increasing our clients visibility and credibility in their market place.

In summary despite the constant tinkering the same thing holds true in the SEO industry as it has done since I first became involved approximately 12 years ago;  Making a website crawlable and easily read by spiders, providing engaging relevant well-structured content and having interaction with the web audience and other sites still provides SEO success in 2010 and beyond and I see  no reason why that would change anytime soon, despite what ‘They’ say.

First page rankings for your key phrases get you noticed, engaging on page content wins sales and conversions and the net buzzing about your business builds credibility.  All those roads to success start with search engine optimisation – seems like it might be alive and kicking after all.

Written by Iain Crosbie, SEO at DSD Marketing.

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