Search engine optimization (SEO) has been giving webmasters headaches ever since it first came to be. Just when you’re ready to celebrate having finally mastered the process, search algorithms are changed, and you have to start all over again. The recent Google algorithm changes are perhaps the most troublesome for webmasters, not only because they came one after another, but also because they affected a significant number of websites. They also required webmasters to implement some major changes in the way they went about the practice of SEO.
These changes, in fact, have made SEO a lot more difficult to master, which may be why many have thrown up their arms and declared SEO no longer worth the effort. Some have even gone as far as to declare, “SEO is dead.” But is it really dead? Even if it isn’t, is it really still worth your effort or should you start focusing on other components of online marketing? Read on to learn the truth about the SEO of today.
SEO Is Dead
This statement is true, but only up to a certain point. Many of the tactics that used to work for SEO practitioners are no longer useful today; they can even be harmful to your brand. These tactics could no longer work, never worked at all, or are already considered in violation of the new guidelines Google has set by way of their algorithmic updates. These are the parts of SEO that can most definitely be declared dead. If you’re still unaware as to what these tactics are, they are the following:
- Keyword stuffing
- Link buying/directory links
- Duplicate websites/duplicate content
- Automated content/spinning
- Optimizing purely for bots
Considering this, it should be easy for you to understand that while SEO has become more difficult as a result of the recent changes, it is far from dead and still offers considerable value to businesses as an online marketing tool. Remember, for as long as people go online to search for products, services, or information, SEO will be of value and will continue to evolve.
SEO Is Alive
Now that we have established that SEO is still very much alive these days, perhaps you’d like to know what value it holds and how you can succeed at it today. You could say that SEO is the glue that holds all your online marketing strategies together.
When you create high-quality content, you’ll need to get it seen via SEO. When you set up an official blog, you’ll have to let your target audience know of its existence. When you set up social media pages, you’ll need to optimize them for maximum benefit.
The good news is, despite all the changes it has gone through, the basics of SEO have remained pretty much the same through the years. In order to succeed at it, you need to keep these things in mind:
1. Content is king.
Yes, it still is. The difference is that it is no longer enough to just string some words together, jam keywords here and there, and then publish the “content” on your site. Today, you need to make sure every single piece of content you put out is of excellent quality. You need to focus on writing for your audience, not for search engines.
Believe it or not, search engines have become a lot smarter, and they now have a way to gauge how relevant your content is in relation to what people are looking for. So when you create content for your site, make sure it is relevant, useful, fresh, and entertaining. That’s what quality content is all about.
2. You need to optimize your website.
Back then it was important to design your website such that it is easy for search engine crawlers to index it. This remains true to this day. You need to set up your website such that it is easy for Google and other search engines to understand what each page is all about.
The biggest difference, perhaps, is that you now have to focus more on key phrases, rather than individual words. It has now become very important for you to carefully study your analytics for this purpose.
3. You need links.
Just like Search Engine Optimization, link-building has been rumored to be dead. The truth is that it has simply gone through a major change. It is no longer about quantity, but quality. Instead of getting links for the sake of having them, you need to make sure that every single link to and from your site tells a story.
Links should be about providing useful and relevant information. An important point to note is that social media is now the ultimate tool for link-building and sharing.
SEO is NOT Dead
In sum, the SEO of today is all about creating high-quality content that search engines will appreciate and people will want to share.