SEO is not DEAD

Don’t Go Planning The Funeral Yet

At least a few times a year someone pronounces SEO dead.  Each and every time, after I take a second to roll my eyes, I quickly set out to explain to all the confused site owners out there that SEO is not in fact dead and they can put their suits and little black dresses away.  It’s not time to bury SEO quite yet.

The latest chatter started when  SEOmoz changed their name to simply Moz.

Let me start by saying that Moz is only one company and they do not represent the industry as a whole.

Secondly, they are getting their fair share of free publicity, links and exposure from this change (this Blog post is exhibit A). Moz is a good company and I’m not in any way accusing them of evil doings, but I am saying it was a strategic decision to broaden their vision and focus and I’m also sure it entered their minds that a lot of buzz would be generated as a result of the change.  I don’t think it was ever their intention for their business decision to signal the death of a whole industry.

Now, back to the death, or should I say life of SEO.

We’ve established that no one company represents the entire industry.  But even if you thought they did, look at what they’ve done in making the change.  They’ve broadened their focus and the scope of their offerings to cover more than just links and on-page SEO.  They want to be free to expand into conversions, and social media and other areas that help businesses grow.

That is smart and that is something all SEO companies should do.  In fact, many have already done that.  Do you see your SEO firm offering social media, copywriting, Blog posts and various other services?  It’s because we all know that things grow and change and evolve and to not respond to that change, is to limit your growth potential.

So does the fact that it takes more than just on-page SEO to get exposure online mean that SEO is dead?  Nope, sorry, it’s still alive and kicking.  It just means in addition to the on-page SEO, you need to focus on other things as well.

The truth is, no one is really killing SEO, we are actually just introducing new friends for it to play with.

Whether you call it SEO or SEM or Social SEO or <gag> inbound marketing, it’s all the same thing.  It’s about creating exposure for your site while also building trust and authority status to help convert that traffic and exposure into sales.  Since that’s a pretty tall order, there are multiple parts to the equation.  And one of those parts was and still is on-page SEO.

As a site owner, you may be confused by all this chatter and I want to clarify a few things for you.  Google is looking for high quality sites that offer high quality information.  As long as that is the case, there is a need to create high quality content and organize it in a way that is easy for Google to spider and index.  That means there is a need for someone to help you with your content and optimization of that content, if you don’t know how to do it yourself.

If you are confused about whether you should be looking for links or not, just think back to what Google is really looking for.  They consider links a vote of popularity for a site, so if you’ve bought the link or participated in some scheme to generate the link, it’s not a true vote of popularly and you can be pretty sure that Google will figure it out and that link will hurt you.  So instead of link schemes, try using social media to spread that high quality content that you created for your site.

SEO has changed and evolved, it’s much more complex, it’s much more insistent that the efforts and work be high quality and it’s never still, it’s always moving and changing.  But it does exist.  🙂  The bottom line folks, is that you can call it what you want but you need some form of content addition and optimization and some social activity to grow your site.

Long live SEO.


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20 Responses

  1. As long as we have search, I think SEO will continue to be well and truly alive.
    You only have to look at the search queries in Google Webmaster Tools to see the impact of including a targeted keyword in your title, for example.
    Thanks for the vote for SEO Jennifer.

  2. The notion was that, because of the prevalence of Web 2.0 community sites, the idea of needing to optimize for any of the engines was going away — and fast. The idea was also put forth by another poster that, because of the huge number of content management systems that are already setup to be “search engine friendly”, the need to have any additional knowledge to rank well was quickly diminishing. Just search for “seo is dead” in Google and you’ll find many people expressing the same ideas.

    1. As long as there is text (syntax) in search engines, there will be a discipline in algorithms. SEO will never die, it simply evolves and becomes more of a focus in relevance.Thanks for your input William!

  3. I think SEO being dead is still far from reality. Maybe, what they actually mean is that because of the constant updates, the black hat or bad tactics kind of SEO is dead.

  4. Twitter. These people that claim that SEO is dead seem to be flocking to social media. Why social media? Because it’s easy and cheap. It’s pretty damned easy to post a Tweet and assume you’re doing some real work. It’s even better if you’ve convinced some clueless business to pay you to do it.

  5. There is internal and external SEO. Internal makes up about 15% of the process (I’m told it may be much higher now) and it means to design your site so it follows the best practices proven to rank high on Google. External SEO used to mean to write articles, press releases, blogs, comments, and content with embedded keyword “backlinks” to your site. Now it is changing fast to include social media strategies.

  6. Phew, SEO isn’t dead. Thanks, Jenn, for giving me every reason to continue learning and gaining experience SEO (and social media)!

    1. Stella, I’m so glad I’ve given you a reason to go on! 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Hey Laura and Gabriella, you guys should meet Stella, she rocks. She’s very accomplished in biz and marketing and has recently decided to move into the SEO world. She’s doing some work with me so I figured I would introduce you guys. 🙂

      Now leave me alone you guys, I’m behind on my next post and I don’t want Gabriella to hunt me down!

  7. The point for news organizations and journalists is that it’s more important than ever to build strong social followings and to optimize content for sharing. Social media is becoming an engine that drives more than just Facebook and Twitter’s own referrals.

  8. I’ve worked with more than a few companies who insist on spending jaw dropping amounts of money every month on retainers for SEO companies. For that money, they generally get “blog posts” that looked like they were written by college freshman, infographics that could better be described as factoids with clip art, and hundreds of “back links” on link farm sites, which they categorize as “social media sharing.” All for the sake of getting back links to increase their Google rankings. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said the words: “This is crazy. Not only is it not going to get you anything, but as soon as Google changes their algorithm, it’s going to bite you in the ass in an epic way.” But without fail, every single place I’ve worked with who went this route responded that the SEO company, who they were paying all this money to, assured them it was the right way to go. But of course, they would. That’s how they make their boatloads of money.

    1. There is no denying there are bad SEO firms out there, just like there are bad doctors and lawyers and hair dressers. But the ethical ones that know what they are doing are getting good results for their clients by evolving and staying current on the strategies that are effective today.

  9. Hello Jenny ,

    Do you know why i love to read your post ??? because you always proved SEO guru wrong and you come -up with really strong reasons. Jeeny this news is really a good one for people like me whom make money by providing SEO services to their clients.

    My All best wishes for SEO & Jenny – Love you both


  10. Love this post, Jennifer! (And laughed out loud at the ” inbound marketing” – think a whole lot of us feel that way). Yes, SEO is not dead again – it’s just evolving. I didn’t realize that the re-branding of SEOmoz to simply Moz was creating such perceptual confusion; thank you for setting things straight.

    1. Laura,

      Thanks! I was happy with getting that little jab in there. 🙂 I don’t know about “the real world” in terms of how many people know or care about the Moz rebranding but I’ve just seen a lot of chatter on G+ and Twitter (in our industry) and I thought it was a good chance to make a point. Thanks as always for your comments and shares and all that. You’re the best. 🙂

  11. Excellent piece, Jennifer. I love the clarity of your descriptions of SEO and what really good SEOing takes. I laughed at your dig of the term “inbound marketing.” I hadn’t heard that one … Wouldn’t it be great if when folks say that SEO is dead, they would be referring to bad SEO tactics? Then we could all agree.

    1. Katherine,

      Thanks for the comments and the kind words. I agree totally – bad SEO is dead (and really should never have been born). High quality, social SEO is alive and well. 🙂

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